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.

Scientists Find Methane Pollution from B.C.’s Oil and Gas Sector 2.5 Times What B.C. Government Reports

Methane pollution B.C.

New, groundbreaking research from a group of scientists shows B.C.’s estimates of methane pollution from oil and gas activity in the province’s Peace region are wildly underestimated.

Using infrared cameras and gas detection instruments at over a thousand oil and gas sites during a three-year period, scientists from the David Suzuki Foundation in partnership with St. Francis Xavier University recorded fugitive methane emissions being released from facilities directly into the atmosphere on a perpetual basis.

The study estimates methane pollution from industry in B.C. is at least 2.5 times higher than the B.C. government reports. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas with the warming potential 84 times that of carbon dioxide over a 20 year period.

B.C. Scales Down Energy-Saving Measures to Manufacture Demand for Site C: UBC Report

Christy Clark Site C dam, energy conservation cancelled

Way back in the good ole days of 2010, B.C. released the Clean Energy Act, a plan that required the province to conserve massive amounts of energy.

And, all in all, B.C. has been pretty good at that. But that all changed in 2013 when the B.C. government approved the Site C dam.

According to a new report released this week by the University of British Columbia’s Program on Water Governance, since 2013 B.C. has “moderated” energy conservation measures even though those measures would have reduced B.C.’s power demand, at a significantly cheaper cost than building Site C.

These measures include codes and standards for building efficiency, stepped rate structures to reduce energy consumption, and programs like low interests loans and tax breaks designed to encourage the adoption of more energy efficient technologies and practices.

Five Facepalm-Worthy Facts from UBC’s New Analysis on the Site C Dam

Site C dam

The Site C dam no longer makes economic sense and construction on the project should be halted immediately, according to researchers from the University of British Columbia.

That recommendation comes on the heels of a major new study that examines the business case for Site C given major changes in economic and energy market conditions since the project was first proposed in the 1980s.

We brought together a team of experts in energy and engineering and took a look at the business case for Site C as it stands today,” Karen Bakker, professor at the University of British Columbia and co-author of the report, told DeSmog Canada.

In fact it’s so weak, we’re arguing the project should be paused.”

B.C. Quietly Grants Mount Polley Mine Permit to Pipe Mine Waste Directly Into Quesnel Lake

Mount Polley Tailings Pond Collapse

The B.C. Ministry of Environment has quietly granted the Mount Polley Mining Corporation permission to drain mining waste directly into Quesnel Lake, B.C.’s deepest fjord lake and a source of drinking water for residents of Likely, B.C., as part of a “long-term water management plan.”

The wastewater discharge permit comes nearly three years after the collapse of the Mount Polley mine tailings pond spilled an estimated 25 million cubic metres of mining waste into Quesnel Lake, in what is considered the worst mining disaster in Canadian history. 

No charges and no fines have been laid for the spill that cost B.C. taxpayers an estimated $40 million in cleanup costs and that B.C.’s chief mine inspector, Al Hoffman, found was the result of “poor practices” and “non-compliances.” 

Some critics feel the new wastewater discharge permit simply grants Mount Polley the permission to continue polluting Quesnel Lake.

Former Corporate Lobbyists Running for B.C. Liberals Part of ‘Alarming Trend’: Watchdog

BC Liberals Lobbyists Revolving Door

Five B.C. Liberal candidates running in the current election are also former lobbyists who advocated for corporations including Chevron, Pacific Northwest LNG and ExxonMobil in the offices of Premier Christy Clark and other top ministers, according to records contained in the B.C. Lobbyist Registry.

Tweet: None of these @BCLiberals candidate profiles note prev. work as #fossilfuel corporation lobbyists http://bit.ly/2n9mbbG #bcpoli #bcelxn17None of the candidates’ profiles on the B.C. Liberal’s website note their previous work as lobbyists.

I am alarmed at the number of lobbyists who are running in this election,” Dermod Travis, executive director of IntegrityBC, told DeSmog Canada.

It may in fact point to a worrisome trend.”

Tweet: “It’s not a generally considered a stepping stone in politics to go from being a lobbyist to an elected official.” http://bit.ly/2n9mbbGIt’s not a generally considered a stepping stone in politics to go from being a lobbyist to an elected official. Where B.C. risks not electing a government but electing a boardroom of interests — whether corporate or union, it doesn’t matter,” Travis said. “In this instance it's obviously corporate.”

Modernize the National Energy Board? Here’s How

NEB review

Want to modernize Canada’s National Energy Board (NEB)?

Bring the regulatory agency — first founded way back in 1959 when the realities of climate change weren’t readily known — into alignment with our carbon-constrained present.

That recommendation, coming from the Pembina Institute, comes in a report released Friday to coincide with the end of a federal review of the National Energy Board that brought an expert panel into halls and meeting rooms of 10 cities across the nation.

In the report, “Good Governance in the Era of Low Carbon,” the Pembina Institute states the review is an important opportunity to not only bring the mandate of the NEB into the 21st century, but also to restore public trust in what many see as a broken process.

The National Energy Board has been called a “captured regulator” that has “lost touch with what it means to protect the public interest,” by Marc Eliesen, former head of BC Hydro and former deputy minister of energy in Ontario and Manitoba.

Teck Mining Lobbyist’s Donation to BC Liberals ‘Listed in Error,’ Company Says

BC Liberals Teck Resources Lobbyists Political Donations

Political donations made to the BC Liberals under the name of a prominent Teck Resources lobbyist were actually made by the company and were registered in error, according to the company.

A joint investigation between DeSmog Canada and University of Victoria researcher Nick Graham of the Corporate Mapping Project Tweet: Investigation uncovers 7 Teck Resources registered lobbyists who have also donated to @BCLiberals http://bit.ly/2mkY6tC #bcpoli #bcelxn17uncovered seven Teck Resources registered lobbyists who have also donated to the BC Liberals.

According to the Elections BC database, Carleigh Whitman, Tweet: Gov't relations manager for Teck made personal contributions totaling $4,275 to the @BCLiberals http://bit.ly/2mkY6tC #bcpoli #bcelxn17
manager of government relations for Teck Resources, made personal contributions totaling $4,275 to the BC Liberals.

Political donations by lobbyists are in the spotlight after a Globe and Mail investigation revealed some lobbyists are being reimbursed for their contributions, a practice that is illegal in B.C., a province with some of the weakest political donation laws in the country.

Breaking: BC Liberal Political Donation Scandal Investigated by RCMP

BC Liberal political donation scandal investigated by RCMP

Elections BC will refer its ongoing investigation into potentially illegal political donations made to the BC Liberals to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, British Columbia’s Chief Electoral Officer, Keith Archer announced Friday.

This investigation has been referred to ensure that it will in no way impede Elections BC’s administration of the provincial general election scheduled for May 9,” an Elections BC bulletin states.

This referral will also ensure that there is no perception that Elections BC’s ability to administer the general election in a fair, neutral and impartial manner is in any way compromised. Tweet: “The scope & timing of this matter make RCMP the most appropriate to continue this investigation.” http://bit.ly/2ngOkx1 #bcpoli #BCelxn17The potential scope and timing of this matter make the RCMP the most appropriate agency to continue this investigation.”

Political Donations By Top Kinder Morgan Staff Draw Call for Elections BC Investigation

BC Liberals Kinder Morgan Political Donations Scandal

Elections B.C. has been asked to investigate political contributions made to the BC Liberals by high-ranking Kinder Morgan staff, including president Ian Anderson.

The democracy advocacy group Dogwood submitted a formal complaint to Elections B.C. this week after discovering a series of political donations from individuals connected to Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline and tanker project that received provincial approval in January 2017.

The complaint comes on the heels of a bombshell investigation by the Globe and Mail that revealed corporate lobbyists were illegally reimbursed for contributions made to the B.C. Liberals.

Fossil Fuel Industry Has Lobbied B.C. Government 22,000 Times Since 2010

BC Liberals Political Donations Fossil Fuel Industry Lobbying

The fossil fuel industry lobbied the B.C. government more than 22,000 times between April 2010 and October 2016, according to a report released Wednesday by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives as part of the Corporate Mapping Project.

The report also found that 48 fossil fuel companies and associated industry groups have donated $5.2 million to B.C. political parties between 2008 and 2015 — 92 per cent of which has gone to the BC Liberals.

Tweet: 7 of the top 10 political donors from the fossil fuel industry are also BC’s most active lobbyists http://bit.ly/2mMRoAd #bcpoli #bcelxn17The analysis found seven of the top 10 political donors from the fossil fuel industry are also B.C.’s most active lobbyists.

The Corporate Mapping Project is a six-year research and public engagement initiative jointly led by the University of Victoria, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and the Alberta-based Parkland Institute.

Tweet: Researchers can demonstrate the extensive political influence of the fossil fuel industry in B.C. http://bit.ly/2mMRoAd #bcpoli #bcelxn17Researchers have painstakingly analyzed lobbying and political donation records to demonstrate the extensive political influence of the fossil fuel industry in B.C.

I was definitely surprised at the sheer volume of lobbying contacts that we found,” Nick Graham, lead author of the report and PhD candidate at the University of Victoria, told DeSmog Canada.

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