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, July 26, 2017 - 08:30 • Damien Gillis
Mountain caribou

Forestry giant Canfor is logging critical habitat for mountain caribou, recent video footage reveals.

The company, which donated just shy of $1 million to the BC Liberal Party, has proceeded with clearcuts in the Upper Clearwater Valley, near Wells Gray Provincial Park, despite a legal application for an emergency stop-work order currently under review by federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna and a commitment by the company not to log critical habitat for species at risk.

The video, which includes drone footage of a large-scale clearcut on the western slopes of the Clearwater Valley, was made public by the Wilderness Committee.

We were shocked to see this huge logging operation smack-dab in the critical habitat zone of this threatened species,” said Joe Foy, the organization’s national campaign director.

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.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017 - 10:15 • Judith Lavoie
Scientist

Politically inconvenient findings can be revealed by scientific research and, as concerns grow in the U.S about a clampdown on the ability of scientists to speak freely, it is up to the international scientific community, media and the public to fight for scientific integrity, says a new study.

Monday, July 24, 2017 - 15:32 • Sarah Cox
Site C dam construction

Are you curious to know the results of our Freedom of Information request for an updated budget and timeline for the $8.8 billion Site C dam project on B.C.’s Peace River?

So are we.

We were told by former energy minister Bill Bennett’s office that we would have the information on May 30, three weeks after the provincial election and nine months after we filed our request.

But then we received an e-mail from the ministry on May 24, advising us that the deadline had been extended by 45 business days. It had become apparent upon reviewing 880 pages of relevant records, said the e-mail from a government FOI specialist, “that an external consultation is required with BC Hydro.”

Sunday, July 23, 2017 - 08:00 • Carol Linnitt
Mount Polley mine disaster

As the three-year anniversary of the Mount Polley mine disaster approaches, so too does the deadline for the province to lay any charges against mine owner Imperial Metals.

Considered one of the worst environmental disasters in Canadian history, the failure of the Mount Polley tailings pond sent an estimated 25 million cubic metres of contaminated mine waste flooding into Quesnel Lake, a source of drinking water for local residents of Likely, B.C., on August 4, 2014.

I would have expected something to have happened by now,” fisheries biologist and Likely resident Richard Holmes told DeSmog Canada. “I know they had a lot of information to sift through but it has been three years. I’m hopeful there will be some charges forthcoming.”

Saturday, July 22, 2017 - 09:00 • James Wilt
North Atlantic right whales

If an ocean valley becomes federally protected but seismic work and offshore drilling is allowed in more than 80 per cent of the territory, is it really federally protected?

That’s the question facing Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans, which is currently working on the final regulations for the 11,619 square kilometre Laurentian Channel Marine Protected Area off the southwest coast of Newfoundland.

The proposed regulations published on June 24 in the Canada Gazette included significant allowances for offshore oil and gas exploration and drilling, as well a reduction by more than one-third in the actual size of the Marine Protected Area (MPA) from the original area plotted out in 2007.

The government admitted the regulations came about after fossil fuel lobbyists “raised concerns with respect to limitations on potential future activities.”

Friday, July 21, 2017 - 13:02 • Carol Linnitt
 Site C Construction Peace River Comparison July 2017

Although former B.C. premier Christy Clark vowed to push the $9-billion Site C dam past the “point of no return” before the May 2017 provincial election, the fate of the most expensive public project in B.C.’s history is still far from certain.

B.C.'s new NDP government has vowed to send the dam for an expedited review of costs and demand by the B.C. Utilities Commission within a speedy six-week timeframe. 

New aerial photos of Site C construction show a small stretch of the Peace River valley significantly altered by excavation crews. The building of the actual dam and associated infrastructure has yet to take place. Unless the project is stopped, construction is expected to continue until 2024 when the filling of the reservoir will flood 107 kilometres of river valley, flooding valuable agricultural land and First Nations historic sites.

An analysis by the Program on Water Governance at the University of British Columbia found that, if completed, Site C would operate at a 100 per cent surplus incurring an estimated $800 million to $2 billion loss to B.C. ratepayers. That same analysis calculated cancellation of Site C by the end of June 2017 would save B.C. between $500 million and $1.65 billion.

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