Features

Thursday, April 26, 2018 - 15:23 • Carol Linnitt
Elk Valley Teck Coal mines Garth Lenz
Elk Valley Teck Coal mines Garth Lenz

The continuous flow of dangerous pollution from B.C.’s Elk Valley coal mines into a Montana watershed is a top discussion item for Canadian and U.S. delegates convening at a bilateral meeting in Washington, D.C., Thursday.

Selenium from five metallurgical coal mines owned and operated by Teck Resources has been leaching into B.C.’s Elk River and flowing southeast into Montana’s Kootenai River watershed for decades. Contamination levels measured in U.S. waters exceeds maximum concentration limits outlined by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Selenium is released from waste rock piled at Teck’s large-scale open-pit coal mines, where rainfall and snowmelt draw it into the Elk and Fording Rivers. Selenium can be harmful to biological organisms at even small amounts and causes deformities in fish and birds.

Thursday, April 26, 2018 - 09:44 • Jimmy Thomson

The effects of climate change can be complex and unpredictable. For one species of Arctic duck, the result is a tense standoff between population growth and decline.

Eiders are a species best known for their light, fluffy down. Each spring the birds return to their coastal tundra colonies and build nests on the ground, protected only by a low profile.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018 - 14:35 • Emma Gilchrist
Justin Trudeau
Justin Trudeau

Amongst all the hooting and hollering over the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline, it’s easy to lose track of how on earth we ended up in this place of dysfunction.

But Canadians didn’t become deeply divided about oil pipelines overnight. Indeed, much of the current tension can be traced back to the federal review of Trans Mountain, which the National Energy Board (NEB) began in early 2014.

The reality is that there are huge gaping flaws in the Canadian environmental review process that have been known about for decades and have never been fixed,” David Boyd, an environmental lawyer and associate professor at UBC, told DeSmog Canada.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018 - 06:49 • Elizabeth May
alberta oilsands
alberta oilsands

In December 2015, the world agreed to the Paris Accord; to slash greenhouse gas emissions to hold global average temperature increase to 1.5 degrees C (over what it was before the Industrial Revolution), and, if we miss that target, to as far below 2 degrees as possible.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) is not an environmental agency. It advises governments about demand and supply of energy. Since 2012, IEA has warned that to avoid going over 2 degrees C, two-thirds of all known reserves of fossil fuels must stay in the ground until 2050.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018 - 11:56 • Sarah Cox
Tailings facility at Imperial Metals' Red Chris mine
Tailings facility at Imperial Metals' Red Chris mine

As pipeline politics dominate headlines, British Columbia is poised to overhaul the process that guides how major resource and development projects proceed.

The review now underway of the environmental assessment process has the potential to restore public confidence in the system that evaluates large developments — from open-pit coal mines to pipelines to hydro dams — by considering the combined effects of multiple projects in a single region and instituting other sweeping changes that critics say are long overdue.

We had this ridiculous situation in northern B.C. where we had 18 LNG projects, five different pipelines and an oil export project all proposed at the same time here,” said Greg Knox, executive director of the SkeenaWild Conservation Trust.

Saturday, April 21, 2018 - 14:15 • Judith Lavoie
Porcupine caribou
Porcupine caribou

Canadians are being urged to fight against a push by U.S. President Donald Trump to fast-track drilling for oil and gas in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, in the calving grounds of Porcupine caribou herd.

The Trump administration, which last fall slipped a provision allowing drilling in the Arctic Refuge into an unrelated tax bill, is forging ahead with plans to prepare for a mandatory environmental review of the decision and the Bureau of Land Management will be accepting comments from Americans and Canadians for the next 60 days to map out the scope of the review.

Friday, April 20, 2018 - 09:07 • Sarah Cox
Ian Anderson Kinder Morgan Elizabeth McSheffrey
Ian Anderson Kinder Morgan Elizabeth McSheffrey

Ian Anderson, president of Kinder Morgan Canada Ltd., must be laughing all the way to check on his stock options since the Trudeau government offered to use public funds to bail out the company’s stalled Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion project.

Anderson earned almost $2.9 million last year in salary, stock awards and other compensation, according to company documents — and that was only from June through December.

Kinder Morgan Canada’s vice-president, David Safari, collected $1.95 million in stock awards and other compensation during the same seven-month period.

But that’s latte money compared to the hundreds of millions of dollars in annual dividend earnings of Texas billionaire Richard Kinder, who was the CEO of parent company Kinder Morgan Inc. until 2015.

Thursday, April 19, 2018 - 11:50 • James Wilt
The Myth of The Asian Market for Alberta’s Oil
The Myth of The Asian Market for Alberta’s Oil

For years, we’ve been told again and again (and again) that Kinder Morgan’s proposed expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline is desperately needed for producers to export oil to Asian countries and get much higher returns.

The way it’s been framed makes it seem like it’s the only thing standing between Alberta and fields of gold.

Small problem: Canadian producers already have the ability to ship their heavy oil to Asia via the existing 300,000 barrel per day Trans Mountain pipeline — but they’re not using it.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018 - 18:59 • Sarah Cox
Site C construction February 2018
Site C construction February 2018

Peace River Valley farmers Ken and Arlene Boon were at a lookout on a neighbour’s property on Sunday when they spotted a fresh landslide at the Site C dam construction site.

Arlene snapped some photos of the latest geotechnical issue to dog the troubled project and posted one on Facebook, with the caption: “just more of the north hill sliding down to the bottom.”

Given that the slide is on the same hill where recent attempts to stabilize the riverbank are encroaching on infrastructure for the $470 million Site C dam workers’ camp, including its water line and parking lot, the couple was not surprised to see the latest slump.

But they are astounded that the NDP government is keeping the public in the dark when it comes to details about geotechnical problems, rising contract costs and other major issues plaguing the largest publicly funded infrastructure project in B.C.’s history.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018 - 14:19 • Judith Lavoie
Selkirk mountain caribou are nearing extirpation
Selkirk mountain caribou are nearing extirpation

The much-studied South Selkirk mountain caribou herd is teetering on the brink of extinction.

That discovery this month has focused international attention on the disaster faced by the only herd that roams between the U.S. and Canada, but biologists are warning that the crisis extends to other herds in the south of the province.

The southern mountain caribou population has dropped to about 3,800 animals this year, down from about 4,500 last year, according to the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative (Y2Y), which is calling for emergency action to protect critical habitat.

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