Saturday, September 23, 2017 - 11:41 • Gillian Steward
Trans-Alaskan pipeline. Photo by etherlore

As the leadership contest for Alberta’s newly formed United Conservative Party heats up, it’s no surprise pipeline politics are front and centre.

As four major oilsands pipeline projects from Alberta sit abandoned, stalled or awaiting review, one contender is proposing to beat the pipeline gridlock through an entirely new route.

It wouldn’t be through the west or east coast but through the Arctic — namely Churchill, Manitoba, the polar bear capital of the world, nestled in Hudson Bay.

Friday, August 11, 2017 - 09:56 • Sarah Cox
Ken and Arlene Boon

BC Hydro spent more than $20 million quietly buying up Peace Valley property for the Site C hydro dam in the four years before the project was approved, according to documents obtained by DeSmog Canada.

The cost of the land purchases has never been publicly disclosed by BC Hydro, and only came to light as a result of a Freedom of Information (FOI) request.

Even then, it took more than four months after the request was filed for BC Hydro to release the figures, and the information was only provided following an appeal to the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner (OIPC) after BC Hydro said it was extending the legal deadline for response. The OIPC found that BC Hydro “did not provide sufficient evidence” to justify a time extension.

Thursday, August 10, 2017 - 17:39 • James Wilt
Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain protest

The new B.C. NDP government has officially taken its first major step in attempting to stop the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline.

On Thursday morning, it announced it will seek intervener status in upcoming legal challenges to the federal approval of the pipeline.

The announcement helps to fulfill what was pledged in the now-famous NDP-Green “confidence and supply agreement” to “immediately employ every tool available to the new government to stop the expansion of the Kinder Morgan pipeline.”

Perhaps the most significant part of the announcement was who the B.C. government hired as external legal counsel for the process: Thomas Berger, one of the most renowned lawyers in Canadian history, especially in the realm of Indigenous and environmental rights.

Here’s a quick explainer about who Berger is, and what message this hiring sends.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017 - 13:42 • Matt Jacques
Faro Mine

The Yukon's giant Faro Mine was once the world’s largest open-pit lead and zinc mine.

In operation from 1969 to 1998, when its last owner declared bankruptcy, the mine once generated more than 30 per cent of the Yukon's economic activity.

Now, Faro Mine is considered the second-worst contaminated site in Canada.

Friday, August 4, 2017 - 17:16 • Carol Linnitt

In a surprise eleventh-hour move, indigenous activist and former Chief of the Xat’sull First Nation, Bev Sellars, has filed charges against the Mount Polley Mining Corporation, owned by Imperial Metals, for the mine disaster that saw 24 million cubic metres of mine waste released into Quesnel Lake on this day, three years ago.

The 15 charges, 10 under the B.C. Environmental Management Act and five under the B.C. Mines Act, were brought as part of a private prosecution against Mount Polley that can potentially be taken over by the new provincial government.

We just couldn’t let it go,” Sellars said in a press release. “In my culture, we have a sacred responsibility not only to care for the land, waters, animals, and people living today, but also for the next seven generations to come.”

I could not bear to witness B.C. simply stepping aside and giving up on its own responsibility to protect our shared environment and waters,” she stated.

Friday, August 4, 2017 - 12:30 • Judith Lavoie
Tulsequah Chief Mine Acid Leak, photo Chris Miller

The Tulsequah Chief mine, a zinc and copper mine close to the Alaska border, has been leaking acid mine drainage into the Tulsequah River since it was first shut down in 1957 and attempts to re-open the mine have failed, along with a multitude of promises to clean up the site.

Two companies have gone bankrupt during their ownership of the Tulsequah Chief, with the current owner, Chieftain Metals, declaring bankruptcy last September and there are now reports that Black Loon Metals has backed away from a potential deal to take over the site.

Black Loon chairman, Gordon Bogden, would not say whether the company remains interested in buying the Tulsequah Chief.

Thursday, August 3, 2017 - 16:18 • Carol Linnitt
Mount Polley mine disaster

This week marks the three-year anniversary of the Mount Polley mine disaster, which sent 24 million cubic metres of mining waste into Quesnel Lake, making it one of the worst environmental disasters in Canadian history.

It’ll be a stinging reminder of the tailings pond collapse for local residents, especially considering no charges have been laid against Imperial Metals, owner and operator of Mount Polley.

Come August 5 it will be too late for B.C. to lay charges, given a three-year statute of limitations — however federal charges can be laid for another two years.

But here’s the thing: under the federal Fisheries Act, Mount Polley can receive a maximum of $12 million in fines: $6 million for causing harm to fish and fish habitat and $6 million for dumping deleterious substances without a permit into fish bearing waters.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017 - 17:25 • Judith Lavoie
Tsilhqot'in Fish Lake. Photo by Garth Lenz

Representatives from the Tsilhqot’in National Government were in the B.C. Supreme Court this week asking for an immediate injunction to stop Taseko’s exploratory drilling for the controversial open-pit New Prosperity Mine from beginning August 7.

To the dismay of the Tsilhqot’in, B.C. issued Taseko exploratory permits in the dying days of the former BC Liberal government while the Tsilhqot’in were under a wildfire evacuation order — even though the $1.5 billion gold and copper mine project itself has been twice rejected by the federal government in 2010 and again in 2014.

A court decision on the injunction is expected this week.

But the fight both for and against the permits doesn’t stop there.

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