Friday, November 17, 2017 - 14:55 • James Wilt

There’s no telling if the 220 square-kilometres of unlined tailings ponds in the Alberta oilsands are leaking contaminated waste into nearby water sources, according to the government of Canada.

That claim was made in an official response to NAFTA’s Commission for Environmental Cooperation despite strong scientific evidence suggesting a clear linkage between the oilsands’ 1.3 trillion litres of fluid tailings and the contamination of local waterways.

The response comes after a June 2017 submission by two environmental organizations and a Dene man alleging the federal government was failing to enforce a section of the Fisheries Act that prohibits the release of a “deleterious substance” into fish-frequented waters.

Monday, October 23, 2017 - 11:16 • Carol Linnitt
CariboutFacts Forest Products Association of Canada Screenshot DeSmog Canada

A forestry industry lobby group is working to undermine Canada’s plans to protect endangered caribou, according to several experts.

The campaign, ‘Caribou Facts,’ launched by the Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC), is designed to cast doubt on the science of caribou conservation.

Several caribou populations in Canada are listed as threatened or endangered under the Species At Risk Act, which means provincial and federal governments are legally required to protect habitat and develop recovery plans to avoid localized extinction.

Scientists have pinpointed habitat fragmentation, caused by things like oil and gas activity, seismic lines, forestry and hydroelectric development, as the leading cause of caribou declines.

We know more about caribou than almost any other species in Canada,” says Mark Hebblewhite, associate professor of ungulate habitat biology at the University of Montana.

Thursday, October 19, 2017 - 13:40 • Judith Lavoie
Salmon Farm

The federal government is playing a shell game, claiming to have acted on most of the Cohen Commission recommendations, but failing to fully implement many of them, say critics, pointing to lack of action on fundamental issues such as fish farms and removing responsibility for the promotion of salmon farming from Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

They are being very disingenuous by deeming some of the recommendations irrelevant or saying they have addressed them when they have not implemented them,” said Chief Bob Chamberlin of the Kwikwasut’inuxw Haxwas’mis First Nation and chairman of the First Nations Wild Salmon Alliance.

The 2012 Commission of Inquiry into the Decline of Sockeye Salmon in the Fraser River, headed by Justice Bruce Cohen, cost taxpayers more than $37 million and came up with 75 recommendations designed to save wild salmon runs after the disastrous 2009 sockeye run.

Thursday, October 19, 2017 - 09:47 • James Wilt
Geamana village Romania

Canadian mining company Gabriel Resources is suing Romania for $4.4 billion through a secretive tribunal after the country denied permits for the largest open-pit gold and silver mine in Europe — a project Canadian officials advocated for, according to documents obtained by DeSmog Canada.

Since 1997, the Canadian mining company (fun fact: it was founded by a man convicted twice of heroin possession), has pressured Romania to allow the construction of the proposed mine in northwest Romania.

The mine would destroy three villages, level four mountains and displace 2,000 people.

Tens of thousands of people marched against the Roșia Montană project in 2013 — the same year the Romanian parliament rejected permits for the mine’s construction. Since then, Romania has applied for the site to be designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017 - 10:07 • James Wilt
Oceti Sakowin Camp Standing Rock

The battle against the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline could lead to the next Standing Rock and destroy any investment case for the project, according to a newly released report.

The report, commissioned by the Secwepemc nation and prepared by the Indigenous Network on Economies and Trade, is titled “Standing Rock of the North: The Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion Secwepemc Risk Assessment.”

Over the course of 35 pages, it articulates seven ways that Kinder Morgan Canada has failed “to account for the lack of political, legal, and proprietary certainty surrounding the pipeline.”

Tuesday, October 17, 2017 - 13:55 • Andrew Nikiforuk
Progress Energy Lily Dam

This article originally appeared on The Tyee.

At least seven of 51 large dams built by the province’s shale gas industry in northeastern B.C. were not safe and required “enforcement orders” to comply with the law.

Almost six months after an independent report raised serious questions about the legality and safety of earth dams built to hold water for the fracking industry, the province’s energy regulator now reports it is taking action.

The Oil and Gas Commission recently issued a bulletin saying it had inspected 51 dams northwest of Fort St. John last May and found “some issues” at seven different structures.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017 - 12:45 • Judith Lavoie
geothermal National Renewable Energy Lab

Opportunities provided by 21st century renewables, such as geothermal, wind and solar, have either been ignored or the costs over-inflated in BC Hydro documents justifying construction of the Site C dam, the B.C. Utilities Commission Site C Panel was told by presenters during two days of technical briefings.

Speaker after speaker pinpointed holes and inaccuracies in BC Hydro’s math, claiming the bottom line was skewed in favour of building the $8.8-billion dollar dam on the Peace River.

Geothermal power projects are thriving in Oregon and Idaho and the geology does not instantly change at the B.C. border, said Alison Thompson, chair of the Canadian Geothermal Energy Association (CanGEA), pointing to the number of hot springs and drilled natural gas wells in the province, which indicate the presence of geothermal resources.

So, how much has BC Hydro spent in the last 15 years in exploratory drilling for geothermal resources?” she asked.

Monday, October 16, 2017 - 12:25 • Benjamin Israël
Alberta oiilsands Kris Krug

This article originally appeared on the Pembina Institute website.

Over the past 50 years, the development of the oilsands has changed the face of Alberta, driving innovation and technology to make oilsands a reality. The oilsands are the third largest oil reserve on earth, and despite a cycle of boom and busts, contribute to the prosperity of the province. Industry, however, has not addressed many of the largest environmental impacts generated by the oilsands, and much work is still left to be done. This blog is part of a series where we look back at the last 50 years of the oilsands industry and shed light on a number of the remaining challenges.

After 50 years of production, the oilsands remain among the world’s most carbon intensive large-scale crude oil operations. Studies continue to back this up.

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