Saturday, January 20, 2018 - 08:25 • James Wilt
Moose Lake

Nobody could ever accuse Chief Jim Boucher of being anti-oilsands.

First elected to lead Fort McKay First Nation in northeast Alberta more than three decades ago, Boucher has made a name for his cooperative relationship with industry, which includes launching a sizable oilsands service conglomerate, denouncing environmentalists and purchasing a 34 per cent stake in a $1 billion Suncor bitumen storage terminal.

But now, a proposed 10,000 barrel per day oilsands project is threatening to infringe on a nearby sacred region called Moose Lake that serves as the First Nation’s “key cultural heartland” and is shared with the local Métis community for traditional activities. And Boucher is speaking out against the project — specifically targeting the provincial NDP for failing to finalize a management plan that would restrict development in the area prior to the regulatory hearings.

This government does not want to do an agreement with Fort McKay,” said Boucher in an interview with DeSmog Canada, during a break in the Alberta Energy Regulator hearings. “We’ve had discussions with them. As a result of these discussions, we have gone nowhere in terms of trying to resolve our issues with respect to the integrity of Moose Lake.”

Monday, December 18, 2017 - 15:12 • Judith Lavoie
Grizzly Hunt, Trophy Hunt Ban, DeSmog Canada, Garth Lenz

As Valerie Murray realized she was witnessing the end of grizzly bear hunting in B.C. she burst into tears.

After years of tirelessly campaigning to stop the trophy hunt, Murray, a founder of Justice for B.C. Grizzlies, could hardly believe that the provincial government was not only banning grizzly bear trophy hunting, but closing the loophole that would have allowed hunting for meat, provided perceived trophies such as the paws, head, hide and penis bone were not taken.

I just had to weep. People are almost afraid to believe it. Way-to-go for listening NDP. They knew they couldn’t monitor it, so they did the right thing,” Murray said.

Monday, December 18, 2017 - 09:45 • Ben Parfitt
Progress Energy Unauthorized Fracking Dam

Originally published by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

More than half of nearly 50 dams that fossil fuel companies built in recent years without first obtaining the proper permits had serious structural problems that could have caused many of them to fail.

And now, B.C.’s Oil and Gas Commission (OGC), which appeared to be asleep at the switch in allowing the unlicensed dams to be built in the first place, is frantically trying to figure out what to do about them after the fact.

Information about the unprecedented, unregulated dam-building spree is contained in a raft of documents that the OGC released in response to Freedom of Information requests filed by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

Sunday, December 17, 2017 - 15:47 • Judith Lavoie
Taseko Mines Wilderness Committee SLAPP suit

The Wilderness Committee has won a landmark defamation case brought against it by Taseko Mines Ltd. but, despite the win, the non-profit environmental group will suffer financially after fighting the company in court for five years.

The case is being held up as a textbook example of why anti-SLAPP legislation is needed in B.C.

We are very proud to have stood our ground, but B.C. very much needs anti-SLAPP legislation. We were completely innocent and yet this company was able to keep us in the courts for five years — and their pockets are much deeper than ours,” said Wilderness Committee national campaigner Joe Foy.

Friday, December 15, 2017 - 16:16 • Judith Lavoie
Fracking BC

Hundreds of gas wells could be leaking methane and potentially contaminating groundwater, according to a B.C. Oil and Gas Commission (OGC) report that has been kept secret from the public and politicians for four years.

That suppression of information is giving ammunition to calls for a full public inquiry into fracking operations in the province.

It is deeply troubling that B.C.’s energy regulator kept this report secret. Why did it not tell the public? Why, as the OGC now alleges, did it also not share the report with cabinet ministers who have responsibility for the energy industry?” Ben Parfitt, a resource policy analyst with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, told DeSmog Canada.

Friday, December 15, 2017 - 12:01 • Sarah Cox
Site C dam John Horgan Bad Math

The NDP government’s arithmetic on Site C cancellation costs is “deeply flawed,” has “no logic at all,” and is “appalling,” according to three project financing experts.  

Eoin Finn, a retired partner of KPMG, one of the world’s largest auditing firms, said Premier John Horgan’s claim that terminating Site C would result in an almost immediate 12 per cent hydro rate hike is the “worst rationale I’ve heard since ‘the dog ate my homework’” excuse.  

I expected better when the new government came in,” said Finn. “They’ve just continued what [former premier] Christy Clark did to hide the true costs of Site C and hope that they get re-elected before the next generation finds out.”

This is the stupidest capital decision ever made by a B.C. premier. I don’t know who is giving them accounting advice.”

Thursday, December 14, 2017 - 15:56 • Carol Linnitt
KGHM Ajax Mine

The proposed Ajax mine, a 1,700-hectare open-pit gold and copper mine near Kamloops, B.C., was denied a provincial environmental certificate from the B.C. government Thursday.

Environment Minister George Heyman and Minister of Energy and Mines, Michelle Mungall, found the benefits of the 18-year project, which has received vocal opposition from local communities and First Nations, do not outweigh its significant, adverse effects.

This project was subject to a great deal of scrutiny and discussion over seven years,” Heyman told reporters in a press briefing, noting the federal government has yet to issue its final decision on the project.

No matter what they decision by the federal government, this project would require a provincial certificate to go ahead. Our decision is to not issue one.”

Thursday, December 14, 2017 - 13:14 • Judith Lavoie
Farm Salmon Tavish Campbell

Wild salmon swimming past B.C. fish farms are at high risk of picking up a virus that causes weakness and affects their ability to reach spawning grounds according to new groundbreaking research published this week in the scientific journal PLOS One (Public Library of Science One).

The study found the percentage of wild salmon infected with piscine reovirus (PRV) was much higher in wild salmon exposed to a large cluster of salmon farms along the B.C. coast than in those that were not.

In my view allowing piscine reovirus to flow from salmon farms into the marine environment will be viewed as an environmental crime of the highest order,” independent biologist and study author, Alexandra Morton, told DeSmog Canada.