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.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017 - 16:58 • Carol Linnitt
George Heyman Environment Minister Mount Polley

B.C.’s new Minister of Environment, George Heyman, says he identifies with the many British Columbians eager for the outcome of the single ongoing investigation into the Mount Polley mine disaster that sent 24 million cubic metres of mining waste into Quesnel Lake on August 4, 2014.

I have spoken with the Parliamentary Secretary to the federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change. We are in agreement that British Columbians deserve a rigorous and independent investigation to determine exactly what went wrong and to ensure any person or company that broke the law is held responsible,” Heyman said in a press statement released Wednesday, two days before the provincial statute of limitations for Mount Polley expires.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017 - 16:40 • Sarah Cox
Ken Boon

David Vardy has a message for British Columbia about continuing work on the Site C dam while the project undergoes a quick independent review by the B.C. Utilities Commission (BCUC).

My comment to British Columbia is a big red sign saying ‘Stop.’ This is crazy. Don’t go ahead with this [project],” Vardy told DeSmog Canada.

While the review is taking place the activity should be suspended.”

Vardy is the former chair and CEO of Newfoundland’s public utilities board, which reviewed the “boondoggle” Muskrat Falls dam after a new provincial government came to power. As in the case of Site C and B.C.’s former Liberal government, the previous Newfoundland government had refused to allow independent scrutiny of Muskrat Falls.

On Wednesday the B.C. cabinet instructed the BCUC to provide two reports on Site C — a preliminary report by September 20 and a final report by November 1.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017 - 13:21 • Kevin Grandia
BC Wildfire 2015

British Columbians have been suffering through some of the worst wildfires in memory. These latest fires are turning out to be even more devastating than the horrible 2003 Kelowna fires that saw more than 27,000 residents displaced and the loss of 239 homes in B.C.’s lake country.

It’s hard to overstate the impacts of this latest wildfire disaster: as of last week, more than 45,000 people had been displaced or evacuated. While some of them have been able to return home, they’ll be returning to the tragic sight of burned down homes and a whopping 4,000-plus square kilometers of burned forest. The wildfires this summer have been so severe that the province declared a state of emergency for the first time since the Kelowna fires.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017 - 20:09 • Sarah Cox
Site C dam construction

Until 11:13 on Monday morning, the B.C. Utilities Commission (BCUC) had a website that was as much of a snoozer as its name. It had tiny lines of text and looked like something that harkened back to the horse and buggy days of the World Wide Web.

Just as all eyes turn to the BCUC — which will begin a review of the Site C hydro dam project any day now — the commission is striving to find a bit more sizzle and pop when it comes to public relations.

It launched a new website on Monday, with big photos and cute little icons representing BCUC areas of oversight: electricity utilities, gas utilities, intra provincial oil pipelines and auto insurance.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017 - 11:56 • James Wilt
Flare stacks

Environmental organizations, labour groups and technology companies are calling on Alberta Premier Rachel Notley to take decisive action on methane emissions from oil and gas activities.

Methane is a particularly potent greenhouse gas, with 25 times the global warming potential as carbon dioxide over a 100-year period. Methane is a huge component of natural gas, so Alberta generates a lot of the stuff because it gets vented in all sorts of ways once you start digging around beneath the earth’s surface.

In an open letter the groups call on Alberta to go above and beyond the draft federal regulations on methane.

Alberta can lead the country’s methane reduction efforts and keep good job opportunities in the oil and gas sector from going to waste,” the letter reads.

Sounds nice, right?

Tuesday, August 1, 2017 - 08:55 • James Wilt
Calgary Green Line LRT Carbon Tax

It’s been a full six months since Alberta introduced its economy-wide carbon levy and the sky has not fallen.

In fact, unlike what many politicians and pundits were predicting ahead of the implementation of the $20/tonne carbon levy, the cost of gasoline at the pumps hasn’t spiked — and has in fact been consistently lower than when politicians like Jason Kenney and Derek Fildebrandt made photo ops by filling jerry cans ahead of January 1, the date the carbon tax took effect.

The question now is less about whether the carbon price is going to be implemented, and more about what the revenue — $3.85 billion over three years — is actually going to pay for.

Here are 10 ways carbon levy revenues are being used to create a better quality of life and lower emissions in Alberta.

Thursday, July 27, 2017 - 15:58 • Judith Lavoie
Clearcutting in B.C.

Despite a legal setback, Martin Watts is vowing to continue his crusade against what he believes are inaccuracies in provincial data used to determine the annual cut allowed each year in B.C. forests.

Watts, owner of FORCOMP Forestry Consulting Ltd., claims he was blacklisted by the provincial government after he went public with concerns that corrupted data and unvalidated computer models were being used in the Timber Supply Review Process, which is used by the Chief Forester to set the Annual Allowable Cut.

Problems became apparent after budget and staff cuts started in 2002, the year the former Liberal government was elected, according to critics.

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