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.

Remember When Harper Ruined Canada’s Environmental Laws? Here’s How the Liberals Want to Revamp Them

Catherine McKenna

Remember that whole fiasco in 2012 when Stephen Harper basically, you know, eviscerated most of Canada’s environmental laws in one ginormous budget bill?

People actually called it the ‘Environmental Destruction Act.’ People took to the streets. People, aka our members of parliament, pulled all-nighters proposing amendments to the bill, but Harper just laughed in their faces while playing the keyboard. Or something like that.

So yeah, things got pretty grim there for a minute (aka six years).

But not to worry, a young fella named Justin Trudeau came along and campaigned hard to restore environmental laws. He promised science. He promised consideration of climate impacts. He promised to restore the public trust in the environmental assessment process. Easy peasy, right?

‘Bloodwater’ Released into B.C.’s Coastal Water Contains Deadly Fish Virus, Government Tests Confirm

Bloodwater farmed fish Tavish Campbell

Laboratory testing by the B.C. government has confirmed tens of thousands of litres of bloody effluent released into the ocean from two fish processing plants contained a dangerous virus prevalent in farmed Atlantic salmon in B.C.

Two fish processing facilities that service the farmed fish industry, the Brown’s Bay Packing plant near Campbell River and the Lions Gate Fisheries plant in Tofino, were inspected by the province in early December and laboratory results confirmed the presence of piscine reovirus (PVR), the B.C. Ministry of Environment told DeSmog Canada.

It’s Official: No Provincial Charges for Mount Polley Mine Spill, One of Largest Environmental Disasters in Canadian History

Mount Polley Mine Spill

When it seemed clear the newly minted B.C. NDP government would not pursue charges against Imperial Metals, owner and operator of the Mount Polley mine, for a 2014 tailings pond collapse, one woman decided to take matters into her own hands.

Bev Sellars, former chief of the Xat’sull (Soda Creek) First Nation — in whose territory the tailings pond released an estimated 25 million cubic metres of mining waste into Quesnel Lake — filed a private prosecution against Mount Polley on August 4, 2017, the final day charges could be laid.

Sellars made the case that Mount Polley has violated 15 rules under B.C.’s environmental and mining laws. She brought the private prosecution into play with the hope the province would take over the charges.

But this week B.C.’s Crown Prosecution Service quashed the case, saying there wasn’t enough evidence to proceed.

B.C. Deals Blow to Kinder Morgan Oilsands Pipeline With Demand for Scientific Inquiry Into Spills

Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Diluted Bitumen

British Columbia won’t allow any increase in shipments of diluted bitumen through the province until the results of a scientific inquiry into the risks of oil spills in marine environments is completed, according to an announcement from the B.C. government on Tuesday.  

We are proposing we restrict the transport of diluted bitumen until we hear back from the B.C. scientific community about the impacts of a spill and what we would need to mitigate that,” B.C. Environment Minister George Heyman told DeSmog Canada.

Diluted bitumen is a mixture of bitumen — the unrefined, thickest form of petroleum extracted from Alberta’s oilsands —  and natural gas condensate — the same substance the Iranian tanker Sanchi was carrying when it collided with another ship in the East China Sea. Condensate is added to allow the viscous substance to flow through pipelines.

Decision on Private Prosecution Against Mount Polley Expected Any Day

 Premier John Horgan BC Mount Polley Mine Disaster DeSmog Canada

Premier John Horgan said this week he's anxiously awaiting a court decision on charges against Mount Polley mining corporation brought in a private prosecution by former Xat’sull chief Bev Sellars for violations of B.C.’s environmental laws — but B.C.'s role in that case is still unclear.

B.C.'s crown prosecution service is responsible for the final decision on whether and how B.C. will proceed with the case regarding the 2014 tailings pond collapse that released 24 million cubic metres of mining waste into Hazeltine Creek and Quesnel Lake, a source of drinking water.*

Sellars filed the case on August 4th, 2017 — the last day a case under provincial law could be brought against the company due to a three-year statute of limitations — as a means of holding open the legal door for government, which had only recently come under NDP power.

The courts are expected to make a decision on the fate of the private prosecution by the end of January.

First Nations File Civil Action Against Site C, Citing Treaty 8 Infringement

Site C Garth Lenz

The West Moberly and Prophet River First Nations filed a civil suit in the Supreme Court of British Columbia Tuesday claiming the Site C dam, along with two other hydroelectric projects on the Peace River, unjustifiably infringe on their constitutionally protected rights under Treaty 8.

The two nations, whose traditional territory will be flooded by the Site C reservoir, have also requested an injunction on Site C construction work be reviewed by the courts this spring.

The cumulative impact of the Bennett, Peace Canyon, and Site C Dams is to turn the Peace River into a series of reservoirs, destroying the unique cultural and ecological character of the Peace, severing the physical, practical, cultural and spiritual connection the Prophet have with the Peace, and infringing [West Moberly and Prophet’s] Treaty Rights,” the civil action states.

10 Questions With B.C. Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver

Andrew Weaver DeSmog Canada

B.C. Green Party leader Andrew Weaver went from being B.C.’s solitary Green MLA in 2013 to holding the balance of power in the province’s current minority government.

While the transition has had its ups and downs for the climate scientist, public scrutiny of Weaver’s position and what he ought to do with his influence in government hit an all-time high recently with government’s decision to forge ahead with the controversial Site C dam.

We caught up with Weaver at his office in the legislature to ask him to reflect on the last seven months of cooperation with the NDP government and what he anticipates 2018 holds for some of B.C.’s most pressing energy and environment concerns.

B.C. Supreme Court Overturns Gas Pipeline Approval Because Regulator ‘Unreasonable’ in Dealings with First Nations

gas pipeline

The B.C. Oil and Gas Commission (OGC) was “unreasonable” and “intransigent” in its dealings with the Fort Nelson First Nation as the regulator considered and eventually approved a 39-kilometre natural gas pipeline in endangered boreal caribou habitat, according to the B.C. Supreme Court.

The natural gas pipeline, proposed by Calgary-based Rockyview Resources, would have run through Fort Nelson First Nation territory, resulting in 78 hectares of disturbance to caribou habitat. Fort Nelson First Nation is located in the Horn River Basin unconventional gas play, which makes it a fracking hot spot.

In a recent ruling, the court found the Oil and Gas Commission refused to discuss issues related to the pipeline and its impacts on the Maxhamish caribou range. Caribou are provincially and federally recognized as a species at risk and 84 per cent of boreal caribou habitat in B.C. falls within Fort Nelson First Nation territory.

B.C. Denies Ajax Mine Permit Citing Adverse Impacts to Indigenous Peoples, Environment

KGHM Ajax Mine

The proposed Ajax mine, a 1,700-hectare open-pit gold and copper mine near Kamloops, B.C., was denied a provincial environmental certificate from the B.C. government Thursday.

Environment Minister George Heyman and Minister of Energy and Mines, Michelle Mungall, found the benefits of the 18-year project, which has received vocal opposition from local communities and First Nations, do not outweigh its significant, adverse effects.

This project was subject to a great deal of scrutiny and discussion over seven years,” Heyman told reporters in a press briefing, noting the federal government has yet to issue its final decision on the project.

No matter what they decision by the federal government, this project would require a provincial certificate to go ahead. Our decision is to not issue one.”

B.C. First Nations Call For Injunction on Site C as They Prepare Civil Suit

Site C Dam First Nations Civil Suit Injunction

The West Moberly and Prophet River First Nations will seek an injunction against the Site C dam, which received a green-light from the B.C. government Monday.

The project, which will now cost an estimated $10.7 billion, has been vigorously fought by both nations, whose traditional territory will be flooded by the Site C reservoir.

In addition to a court-sponsored injunction, the nations also announced they will pursue a civil case against the project for treaty infringement.