Tuesday, July 25, 2017 - 13:53 • Emma Gilchrist
LNG Tanker

Malaysia’s Petronas has cancelled plans to build the Pacific NorthWest LNG plant on Lelu Island near Prince Rupert, B.C., in a move seen as a major setback for B.C.'s LNG dreams and as a major win for those concerned about climate change and salmon habitat.

The project would have involved increased natural gas production in B.C.’s Montney Basin, a new 900-kilometre pipeline and the export terminal itself.

Here’s what you need to know about Tuesday’s announcement.

Thursday, July 13, 2017 - 17:05 • Sarah Cox
Site C dam construction

B.C. Premier Christy Clark made headlines last month when she claimed that even a few months delay in evicting two Peace Valley families from their homes could add $600 million to the Site C dam project tab.

When Premier designate John Horgan asked BC Hydro to hold off forcing families from their homes this coming week as scheduled, Clark wrote to Horgan that “…with a project of this size and scale, keeping to a tight schedule is critical to delivering a completed project on time and on budget.”

But now BC Hydro’s latest Site C report reveals that — well before May’s provincial election and Clark’s headline-grabbing claims — the hydro project was already late meeting three out of eight “key milestones” for 2017 and was at risk of being late for three more.

It begs the question: was Clark trying to deflect blame for Site C construction delays and potential cost overruns onto the soon-to-be NDP government?

Wednesday, July 12, 2017 - 12:02 • James Wilt
The Banker Sculpture. Photo: University of Sydney

It’s not often that an article about climate change becomes one of the most hotly debated issues on the internet — especially in the midst of a controversial G20 summit.

But that exact thing happened following the publication of a lengthy essay in New York Magazine titled “The Uninhabitable Earth: Famine, Economic Collapse, a Sun that Cooks Us: What Climate Change Could Wreak — Sooner Than You Think.”

In the course of 7,200 words, author David Wallace-Wells chronicled the possible impacts of catastrophic climate change if current emissions trends are maintained, including, but certainly not limited to: mass permafrost melt and methane leaks, mass extinctions, fatal heat waves, drought and food insecurity, diseases and viruses, “rolling death smog,” global conflict and war, economic collapse and ocean acidification.

Slate political writer Jamelle Bouie described the essay on Twitter as “something that will haunt your nightmares.”

It’s a fair assessment. Reading it feels like a series of punches in the gut, triggering emotions like despair, hopelessness and resignation.

But here’s the thing: many climate psychologists and communicators consider those feelings to be the very opposite of what will compel people to action.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017 - 12:21 • James Wilt
Canadian Energy Pipeline Association integrity dig

Canada’s National Energy Board (NEB) has quietly stopped requiring pipeline companies to post the geographic coordinates of repairs, DeSmog Canada has learned.

The federal pipeline regulator cites “public safety” as the reason for deciding to limit information on the specific location of “integrity digs” to examine cracks, corrosion or dents — but critics argue the decision compromises the ability of Canadians to access information about the safety of pipelines.

Often times, hundreds of integrity digs will take place in certain areas of pipeline, raising questions about the quality of that section of line, said Emily Ferguson, an environmental consultant and founder of Line 9 Communities.

When you see integrity data on a map, you can see these clusters of where there might be issues,” Ferguson said. “I think that’s something that is obviously in the best interest of the pipeline companies not to have that publicly released.”

Tuesday, July 11, 2017 - 10:43 • Judith Lavoie
KSM mine location. Mike Fay. Rivers Without Borders

Two fish-bearing creeks will be used for 2.3 billion tonnes of toxic tailings from the proposed Kerr-Sulphurets-Mitchell (KSM) mine in northwest B.C., wiping out habitat for several populations of small Dolly Varden fish.

Seabridge Gold Inc. has been given federal government approval to use upper tributaries of the North Treaty and South Teigen Creeks, which flow into the Nass and Bell-Irving rivers, for tailings from the planned gold, copper and molybdenum mine 65 kilometres northwest of Stewart and 30 kilometres from the Alaska border.

Once in operation, KSM is set to become the largest open pit mine in North America. Construction is set to begin in 2017.

Thursday, July 6, 2017 - 15:45 • James Wilt
Caleb Behn Canada 150

The massive “Canada 150” celebrations of July 1 are finally over, leaving little in their wake but hangovers, a multi-million dollar price tag and mountains of trash.

But for some Indigenous peoples in Canada, the festivities remain a visceral reminder of their continued dispossession from ancestral lands and waters. That’s especially true for those on the frontlines of megaprojects — pipelines, hydro dams, oil and gas wells, liquefied natural gas terminals and mines — that infringe on Indigenous land rights.

DeSmog Canada caught up with three Indigenous people directly involved in local struggles to resist such projects.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017 - 13:11 • Judith Lavoie
 Taku River Salmon Beyond Borders Chris Miller

Generations of John Morris Sr.’s family have fished the Taku River in Southeast Alaska and for decades they have watched acid mine drainage from the abandoned Tulsequah Chief mine in B.C. flow into a tributary of the Taku.

Now, with a new NDP government, running on support from the Green Party and a shared promise of reconciliation with First Nations and a commitment to the principles of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Morris is hoping there will finally be some action on the Tulsequah Chief clean-up.

Indigenous and conservation groups in Alaska, who are ready to put pressure on B.C.’s new government, are pointing to a previous statement in the Legislature by Green Leader Andrew Weaver who said the Tulsequah Chief gives B.C. “an environmental black eye.”

We have worked on this for so many years now, one day it’s going to fall on the right ears,” said Morris, spokesman for the Douglas Indian Association.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017 - 10:41 • James Wilt
Emosson Reservoir in Switzerland. Photo: Martin Funk

After weeks of delay, the B.C. NDP has finally been asked to form government, thanks to a co-operation agreement with the Green Party.

A key component of that now-famous NDP-Green “confidence and supply agreement” signed in late May is its commitment to “immediately refer the Site C dam construction project to the B.C. Utilities Commission.”

While premier-delegate John Horgan hasn’t confirmed whether he will cancel the $9-billion project — it will take around six weeks for the utility commission to actually provide a preliminary report — previous statements suggest he’s certainly sympathetic to the idea.

Conflicts over hydroelectric dams aren’t confined to British Columbia: think of Labrador’s Muskrat Falls or Manitoba’s Keeyask dam. In fact, alongside oil and gas extraction projects, hydroelectric dams arguably serve as some of the most contentious projects in Canada, largely due to detrimental impacts on Indigenous lands, territories and resources and skyrocketing costs.

But hydroelectric projects are also projected to serve as fundamental components in Canada’s transition away from fossil fuels. It’s a tension that only grows by the day.

DeSmog Canada took a deep dive into some of the politics of hydro.

Pages