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.

Outgoing B.C. Liberals Issue Mining Permits in Tsilhqot’in Territory During Wildfire Evacuation

Tsilhqot'in First Nation Garth Lenz

The Tsilhqot’in First Nation — currently under an evacuation order due to B.C.’s wildfires — learned Monday that permits have been issued for mining company Taseko to conduct exploration for the New Prosperity mine, an open pit gold and copper mine twice rejected at the federal level.

Monday was the outgoing B.C. Liberal government’s final day in power. 

Copies of the documentation obtained by DeSmog Canada show the permit was granted to Taseko on Friday July 14th, as members of the Tsilhqot’in were under evacuation orders due to rampant wildfires in central B.C.

I appreciate this may come at a difficult time for you given the wildfire situation affecting some of your communities, however I made the permit decision Friday, ” Rick Adams, senior inspector with the B.C. Ministry of Energy and Mines told Tsilhqot’in representatives in an e-mail.

Feds Never Considered Cumulative Climate Impacts Of Pacific Northwest LNG, Court Docs Reveal

Pacific Northwest LNG approval

The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) never considered the cumulative greenhouse gas emissions of the Pacific NorthWest LNG export terminal, according to documents revealed in a federal court this week.

The documents were submitted to a federal court in Vancouver during a hearing to determine whether the information should be considered as part of a forthcoming judicial review of the federal government’s decision to approve the LNG project.  

SkeenaWild Conservation Trust filed for the judicial review of the project’s approval and received 17,000 pages of federal documents under disclosure — the release of information required by law during legal proceedings. SkeenaWild hired two experts to give expert testimony on those documents.

What B.C.’s New NDP Minority Government Means for the Environment

Horgan Weaver NDP Green Agreement

Nearly two months have passed since the polls closed in B.C. and at last British Columbians know who will get to form government.

On Thursday, upon the conclusion of a no-confidence vote that ousted former Premier Christy Clark, NDP Leader John Horgan has been offered the opportunity to lead a new B.C. government under a historic partnership between his party and the Greens.

While B.C. awaits the swearing in of a new premier, we thought we’d take the time to tally up some critical promises the NDP and their Green collaborators have made on the environment file.

First Nations Case Against Site C Won't Be Heard by Supreme Court of Canada

Site C Dam First Nations Legal Challenge

The Supreme Court of Canada has refused to hear an appeal brought by the West Moberly and Prophet River First Nations that argues the federal government failed to consider their constitutionally protected treaty rights when approving the $9 billion Site C dam in northeast B.C.

The rejection by Canada’s highest court has members of Treaty 8 First Nations wondering who bears the responsibility for determining whether or not a major project like Site C infringes on their rights as a treaty nation.

This is very sad news,” Roland Willson, Chief of the West Moberly, told Desmog Canada.

We have a treaty that is a part of the Constitution of Canada and there is no legal mechanism to protect the constitution, that piece of the constitution,” he said.

Every other part of the Constitution they won’t tread on except the part that’s got to do with Indians — they’ll walk all over that.”

If Saskatchewan Can Build a Geothermal Power Plant, Why Can’t B.C.?

Geothermal Energy

While news of Saskatchewan’s plan for a small geothermal power plant was met with excitement by renewable energy advocates,  experts say British Columbia is far better situated to capitalize on the technology yet has failed to do so.

It should be a little bit of a shock that a less good resource is being developed in Saskatchewan over a world-class resource in B.C.,” said Alison Thompson, chair and co-founder of the Canadian Geothermal Energy Association (CanGEA).

B.C. is located on the Pacific Ring of Fire, a geothermal hot zone. Maps produced by CanGEA found B.C. has enough geothermal potential to power the entire province.

There are geothermal projects all up the coast but they stop at the border. There’s nothing in B.C.,” Thompson said.

This is clearly not technical, not economic. This is policy driven.”

Special Committee Says Canadians Should Have Legal Right to Healthy Environment...Like the Rest of the Developed World

Canada right to a healthy environment

When it comes to developed nations Canada is a laggard on the environmental rights front. Legally speaking, Canadians don’t enjoy the right to a healthy environment like the citizens of 93 per cent of UN member countries do.

But that could all change in light of a new set of recommendations delivered to Ottawa by a standing committee tasked with reviewing the federal Canadian Environmental Protection Act.

Among those recommendations were instituting legal minimums for air and water quality standards, annual reporting on the state of Canada’s environment, new rules around disclosure of toxic substances in consumer goods and the creation of special protections for Canada’s vulnerable populations including children, the elderly, First Nations and poor communities most likely to be affected by poor environmental health.

We’re celebrating this as a first step,” Kaitlyn Mitchell, Ecojustice lawyer, told DeSmog Canada.

No, Asian Markets Will Not Fetch Better Prices for Canadian Oil: New Report

CCPA Trans Mountain pipeline tidewater access myth

One of Ottawa and Alberta’s main arguments in defence of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline — that Alberta oil sold to Asian markets will command a higher price — is a myth, according to a new report released Wednesday by scientist and energy resources expert David Hughes.

Contrary to the common claim, Hughes’ research, conducted on behalf of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and the Parkland Institute, found “a ‘tidewater premium’ does not exist.”

My research shows that Canada’s oil is not being unfairly discounted by the U.S.,” Hughes said.

Oil prices internationally and in North America are now nearly identical. That means Canadian crude producers are likely to receive lower prices overseas than in the U.S. because of the higher transportation costs involved in transporting bitumen by pipeline to B.C.’s coast and then exporting it by tanker.”

Site C Dam Set to Finally Undergo Review of Costs and Demand

Horgan Weaver NDP-Green Agreement Site C

The controversial $9 billion Site C dam project will be sent for immediate review with the B.C. Utilities Commission if NDP Leader John Horgan becomes B.C.’s premier, according to a landmark agreement between the NDP and Greens.

The agreement outlines the terms of a power-sharing agreement as well as a path forward on key election issues, including the future of the Site C dam.

The agreement sets out a requirement to “immediately refer the Site C construction project to the B.C. Utilities Commission” to investigate the economic viability and consequences of the project for British Columbians.

During the election campaign the Greens vowed to stop the Site C project outright while the NDP committed to send the project for independent review by the B.C. Utilities Commission, a body designed to regulate BC Hydro and electricity rates. The B.C. Liberals exempted Site C from utilities commission scrutiny.

Kinder Morgan ‘Misleading’ With Claim Trans Mountain ‘Approvals Are in Hand,' Says Chilliwack Resident

Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline

Kinder Morgan Canada’s president Ian Anderson may have misled potential investors in a statement released Thursday that claimed “execution planning is complete, our approvals are in hand” for the Trans Mountain pipeline, according to Ian Stephen, resident of Chilliwack B.C. and campaign director at the Waterwealth Project.

We are now ready to commence construction activities this fall,” Anderson told the public this week during Kinder Morgan Canada’s $1.75 billion initial public offering — one of the largest offerings in Canada’s history — expect to close May 31.

But according to Stephen, Kinder Morgan is “misleading potential investors,” because the company has yet to receive National Energy Board approval for the Trans Mountain pipeline route through Chilliwack.

The company’s current plan routes the pipeline directly over the city’s aquifer, a source of drinking water for over 90,000 residents in Chilliwack and Yarrow.

The key thing for me, and for most people in Chilliwack, is the aquifer. It’s our sole source of drinking water for one of the fastest growing communities in B.C.,” Stephen told DeSmog Canada.

Five Handy Facts About the Northern B.C. Oil Tanker Ban

Nathan E Stewart Heiltsuk Nation April Bencze

A bill to restrict the movement of oil off the north coast of British Columbia has been formally tabled by the federal government in the House of Commons, according to a statement released by Transport Canada Friday.

The proposed legislation, which would restrict tankers carrying more than 12,500 metric tons of crude oil from entering or exiting north coast ports, must now make its way through Parliament.

Today is a positive day for us,” Gavin Smith, staff counsel at West Coast Environmental Law, told DeSmog Canada.

We’re very happy to see the federal government follow through on its promise to introduce a tanker ban.”

Smith said the legislation will prevent megaprojects like the Northern Gateway pipeline from being built in northern B.C. but added he has yet to review the text of the bill in detail.

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