Carol Linnitt

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Carol Linnitt is Managing Editor and Director of Research for DeSmog Canada. Carol is a writer and researcher focusing on energy development, environmental policy and wildlife. She joined DeSmog in June 2010 as a researcher, focusing much of her time on the natural gas industry and hydraulic fracturing.

Carol is the lead author of DeSmog's original report Fracking the Future: How Unconventional Gas Threatens Our Water, Health & Climate. Her work also led to the DeSmog micro-documentary CRY WOLF: An Unethical Oil Story and the Cry Wolf investigative series.

Carol began her environmental career writing and performing interviews for The Canada Expedition, a non-governmental sustainability initiative, and while working in dispute resolution with communities affected by resource scarcity.

Carol has a Master's in English Literature from York University where she studied political theory, natural resource conflicts and Aboriginal rights. She also has a Master's in Philosophy in the field of phenomenology and environmental ethics and is currently a doctoral candidate at the University of Victoria in the English and Cultural, Social and Political Thought programs.

B.C. Using Kitimat Smelter Workers as ‘Guinea Pigs’ for Air Pollution Monitoring, Union Says

Premier John Horgan Rio Tinto Alcan Smelter

In October, B.C. Premier John Horgan made a visit to the Rio Tinto Alcan smelter on the banks of the Douglas Channel in Kitimat.

He praised the facility for being “a great example of how companies can improve conditions for workers and reduce pollution all while improving their bottom line.”

What he didn’t mention was the ongoing battle at Rio Tinto Alcan over a provincial permit that allowed the company to increase sulphur dioxide pollution by more than 50 per cent, or the union representing 800 workers at the smelter that appealed that permit, saying the increase in pollution was a direct threat to their health.

Exposure to sulphur dioxide aggravates the respiratory systems of asthmatics and is known to negatively affect the respiratory systems of children and the elderly.

Kinder Morgan At Risk of Violating NEB Condition With Premature 300,000-Tonne Pipeline Order

Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline

Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain may be in violation of a condition laid out by the National Energy Board, Canada’s federal pipeline regulator, after ordering nearly 300,000 tonnes of pipeline for the expansion project without submitting a quality management plan.

According to regulatory documents filed by the National Energy Board in September, Trans Mountain was required to file a quality management plan “at least four months prior to manufacturing any pipe and major components for the project.”

The quality management plan requires Trans Mountain to supply documentation regarding the qualifications of pipeline contractors, vendors and suppliers, quality auditing of manufactured pipe and the preservation of pipe during shipping and storage.

Yet in documents submitted to the NEB, Trans Mountain confirmed pipeline manufacturing contracts were awarded between May and July of 2017 and manufacturing of the pipeline began in October with no plan in place.

‘Disingenuous’ Forest Industry Campaign Tries to Undermine Protection of Endangered Caribou

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.

Five Reasons Canada’s Environment Commissioner Gave Ottawa a Failing Grade on Climate

BC wildfire

Reading Environment Commissioner Julie Gelfand’s report on Canada’s climate action, we’d have to say that the woman sounds … ticked.

Here are five reasons Gelfand is wagging a disappointed finger at Canada’s environment officials.

B.C. Coal Mine Company Teck Fined $1.4 Million for Polluting B.C. River

Elk Valley coal mine

Teck Resources pled guilty Thursday to three violations of the federal Fisheries Act for polluting a tributary of the Elk River and was sentenced to pay a $1,425,000 penalty into the federal Environmental Damages Fund, which will help restore fish habitat in British Columbia’s Elk Valley.

On October 16, 2014, 45 dead fish were found in Line Creek near one of Teck’s five coal mines in the region. The following day, Environment Canada investigators found waste water from a Teck water treatment plant, put in place to deal with selenium pollution, was entering Line Creek, a tributary of Elk River.

Selenium is a naturally occurring chemical element, but it can be harmful in even very tiny amounts. Selenium pollution is produced by coal, uranium and bitumen extraction and is of growing concern in Canada.

The dead fish found by Environment Canada investigators included bull trout, a species of special concern in the region. The Fisheries Act  prohibits the deposit of deleterious substances into water frequented by fish.

Federal Freedom of Information in Canada Worse Now Than Under Harper: New Report

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Freedom of Information Canada

The federal government received a failing grade in a new national audit of freedom of information regimes across Canada.

The vast majority of federal departments under the Liberal government, which campaigned on a promise to increase information disclosure and transparency in Canada, failed to fulfill requests within the legal timeframe, the audit found.

I was surprised at the depth of the how poor the federal performance in the audit was,” Fred Vallance-Jones, audit lead author and associate professor at University of King’s College, told DeSmog Canada. “That wasn’t expected.”

Christy Clark’s Secret Consultations with Oil and Gas Donors Revealed As B.C. Introduces Bill to Ban Big Money in Politics

 Christy Clark Oil and Gas Climate Consultations

Documents released on Monday reveal that B.C.’s climate plan under the previous Liberal government was drafted by the oil and gas industry in a Calgary boardroom, just as the province’s new NDP government moves to ban corporate and union donations to B.C. political parties.

The documents speak to long-standing concerns over the influence of political donations in B.C.’s political process. B.C. has long been considered the ‘wild west’ of political cash for placing no limits on corporate, union or foreign donations.

I think this is deeply corrosive to our democracy and it encourages cynicism about politics,” Max Cameron, political science professor and director of the Study of Democratic Institutions at the University of British Columbia, told DeSmog Canada.

Is Trudeau Quietly Turning His Back On Fixing Canada’s Environmental Laws?

Justin Trudeau Environmental Reform DeSmog Canada

Scientists and environmental groups breathed a sigh of relief when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau quickly followed through on a campaign promise to modernize Canada’s environmental laws.

Within a year of being elected, the Liberals initiated four parallel reviews of key environmental legislation weakened or eliminated under former prime minister Stephen Harper.

But now, as that review process is coming to a close, experts are back to holding their breath.

Invisible Horseman: An Interview with Photographer Troy Moth

Invisible Horseman. Troy Moth

Troy Moth is an artist and photographer living on Vancouver Island. Moth’s iconic images are featured on art gallery walls and trendy t-shirts alike, famed for their stark, smoky portrayals of landscapes and creatures, of both the human and non-human variety.

Moth recently published a provocative photo of a wild bear slouched in the smouldering landfill of a remote Canadian community. We asked him if he’d speak to us about the image, why it elicits such strong reaction in its viewers and what the apocalypse has got to do with it.

Letter from Former B.C. Premier Calls for Halt to Site C Dam

Former B.C. Premier Mike Harcourt

The Site C dam is an “economic, fiscal, environmental and aboriginal treaty rights disaster,” according to former B.C. Premier Mike Harcourt.

In a letter submitted to the B.C. Utilities Commission, which is currently reviewing the $8.8 billion project, Harcourt said Site C will “severely damage BC Hydro and B.C. credit ratings” and lead to increases for ratepayers across the province.

Harcourt, who first voiced opposition against Site C in late 2016, said a recent study from Oxford University that found worldwide hydro projects see average cost overruns of 90 per cent should be a warning to B.C.

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