Monday, January 22, 2018 - 13:29 • Guest
David Seibold Sockeye Salmon Contamination Illustration

Amid continued controversy, Kinder Morgan is poised to break ground on its $7.4 billion Trans Mountain Expansion Project. When the pipeline is complete, it will triple the volume of diluted bitumen, or Dilbit, that reaches Canada’s Pacific shoreline to 890,000 barrels per day.

Monday, January 15, 2018 - 13:49 • James Wilt
BP Wants to Drill Underwater Wells Twice the Depth of Deepwater Horizon in Canada

BP Canada plans to drill up to seven exploratory wells off the southeast coast of Nova Scotia that are at least 3.5 times the distance from land and up to twice the depth of the well beneath the Deepwater Horizon offshore drilling rig.

The Deepwater Horizon exploded and sank in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 after the Macondo well, located 5.6 kilometres below surface, blew out — resulting in the deaths of 11 men and the largest marine oil spill in history.

The company’s proposed solution if a catastrophic blowout happens in Canadian waters relies on shipping a capping device from Norway, a process that is estimated to take between 12 to 19 days — but it could take between 13 and 25 days total to actually cap the well with the device.

Friday, January 12, 2018 - 13:08 • Judith Lavoie
Premier John Horgan BC Emissions Inventory

Figures in a B.C. greenhouse gas inventory released quietly before Christmas show emissions have risen for four of the last five years.

Previously the province released a full public report on emissions, including inventory methodology, every two years but in December the government released a excel spreadsheet simply listing emissions figures for the second year in a row. The spreadsheet was published without any formal announcement or news release.

By law the province is required to reduce emissions 80 per cent from 2007 levels by 2050. In 2008 the province created a benchmark within that reduction, committing to get to 33 per cent reductions by 2020.

But the new figures show B.C. is not on course to meet that 2020 target. Instead emissions are only 2.1 per cent lower than the baseline year of 2007 and are on the rise.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018 - 11:50 • James Wilt
Dams for Dilbit: How Canada’s New Hydro Dams Will Power Oil Pipelines

The cancellation of TransCanada’s Energy East pipeline in early October had major consequences for a rather unexpected player: Manitoba Hydro.

The company had been counting on the energy demand from the pipeline, and now the cancellation is putting extra strain on a company already plagued by debt and in the middle of building an $8.7 billion dam.

Back in 2014, the provincial utility company anticipated that almost 40 per cent of electricity generated by its proposed 695-megawatt Keeyask dam in northern Manitoba would be allocated to “pipeline load” for the Alberta Clipper, Line 3 and Energy East pipelines.

Specifically, the electricity would be used to run pumping stations, which force crude oil through pipelines via a series of pumps and motors. Among those pumping stations were those that would move bitumen from the oilsands to New Brunswick through the Energy East pipeline.

But Energy East is now officially dead.

Monday, January 8, 2018 - 16:21 • James Wilt
Beaver Lake Cree First Nation Solar Project

In 2015, seven young people died in Beaver Lake Cree Nation — a tiny community in northeast Alberta with an on-reserve population of only 345 people.

We started to lose young people,” recalled Crystal Lameman, treaty coordinator and member of the First Nation, in an interview with DeSmog Canada. “People my age, in my generation.”

A rise of drug use, alcohol consumption and violence in 2015 coincided with a downturn in the price of oil and job losses, creating a “time of crisis in the community,” she said.

Thursday, January 4, 2018 - 08:48 • Andrew Gage

From West Coast Environmental Law

When Randy Saugstad realized that clearcut logging by forestry giant Tolko was probably going to affect the water he uses to raise cattle on his ranch, he went to the B.C. Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.

We know,” they told him. “But we don’t have the power to stop them logging.”

They explained that B.C.’s forestry laws turned over the final decision about whether to log upstream from his ranch to Tolko’s foresters. Randy’s fears were later realized and his stream wrecked, so he sued Tolko, ultimately forcing the company to settle for an undisclosed amount (although the company continues to deny responsibility).

Sunday, December 31, 2017 - 09:00 • Carol Linnitt
Andrew Weaver DeSmog Canada

B.C. Green Party leader Andrew Weaver went from being B.C.’s solitary Green MLA in 2013 to holding the balance of power in the province’s current minority government.

While the transition has had its ups and downs for the climate scientist, public scrutiny of Weaver’s position and what he ought to do with his influence in government hit an all-time high recently with government’s decision to forge ahead with the controversial Site C dam.

We caught up with Weaver at his office in the legislature to ask him to reflect on the last seven months of cooperation with the NDP government and what he anticipates 2018 holds for some of B.C.’s most pressing energy and environment concerns.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017 - 15:22 • DeSmog Canada E...
 Sandvik DD422iE for underground all electric mine

Being an environmental journalist at this point in history can be a bit, well, depressing. It often means bringing negative stories to light: stories about government failing to balance development with environmental protection, or about companies getting away with harmful practices, or about Indigenous peoples’ rights being set aside in the name of progress.

But it’s not all bad news out there.

And DeSmog Canada wants to celebrate those people and organizations that go out of their way to do development right — those that build their plans around meaningful consultation with Indigenous peoples, minimize environmental harms even at a cost to their business and raise the bar for their industries.

We’ve gathered a list of some of the projects we want to fist-bump this year. We’re not suggesting they’re perfect; any large extractive project comes with an environmental cost. But these are projects that rise above the rest in their efforts to minimize that cost.