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.

Federal Government Hit With Multiple Legal Challenges Against Pacific Northwest LNG Project

The federal government’s approval of the $36-billion Pacific Northwest liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal proposed for Flora Bank near Prince Rupert, B.C. violates First Nations rights and was based on flawed information, according to three separate legal challenges filed Thursday at the Federal Court of Canada in Vancouver.

Representatives from the Gitwilgyoots and Gitanyow First Nations as well as SkeenaWild Conservation Trust filed court actions requesting judicial reviews of the project’s approval which granted majority Malaysian-owned Petronas permission to build an industrial export facility atop sensitive eelgrass beds at the mouth of the Skeena River in a region scientists have identified as a ‘salmon superhighway.’

It’s important to bring this forward in a court of law so that a spotlight can be shone on not only the deficiencies in the law, but deficiencies in the way the law was applied here,” Chris Tollefson, legal counsel for SkeenaWild, told DeSmog Canada.

In Photos: Bella Bella Diesel Fuel Spill Two Weeks In

It has been two weeks since the Nathan E. Stewart, a U.S.-based fuel barge tug, struck ground and sank near Bella Bella, B.C., contaminating the harvest waters of the Heiltsuk First Nation with an estimated 60,000 gallons of diesel fuel.  

During that time coastal residents have watched with dismay as spill response efforts have been hampered repeatedly by unfavourable weather, failed spill containment and even one incident where a spill response ship took on water and itself began to sink.

But the ongoing failure to contain and clean up the spill has been witnessed most closely by members of the Heiltsuk First Nation, who have been on the frontlines of the spill response effort since day one.

New Video: Cutting Through the Spin on the Site C Dam with Harry Swain

Emma Gilchrist

There are a number of arguments against the controversial Site C dam, planned for the Peace River Valley: it floods First Nations land against their consent; it will destroy prized agricultural land; it requires expropriating land from B.C. families and farmers; it will increase the cost of electricity for power B.C. doesn’t even need.

A variety of experts have also come forward to say the project wasn’t properly reviewed and that the B.C. government failed to explore alternatives to the $9 billion project — the most expensive public infrastructure project in the province’s history.

But what are the arguments for the Site C dam? And do they have any merit?

DeSmog Canada’s Emma Gilchrist met with Harry Swain, the man appointed by the B.C. government to chair the joint review panel for Site C, to discuss some of the most commonly used arguments to justify the project.

Why is Trudeau Backtracking On B.C.'s Oil Tanker Ban? These 86 Meetings with Enbridge Might Help Explain

Justin Trudeau

Since the Liberals formed government last November, Enbridge and Northern Gateway Pipeline have lobbied Ottawa an astounding 86 times, federal lobbying reports reveal.

Fifty-one of those meetings have taken place since August — which, funnily enough, is around the same time Prime Minister Justin Trudeau started backtracking on his commitment to ban oil tankers on B.C.’s north coast, a policy that would leave Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline proposal dead in the water.  

Since October last year, representatives from Enbridge and Northern Gateway Pipeline met with representatives from the Prime Minister’s Office eight times, Transport Canada 10 times, Fisheries and Oceans Canada 10 times, Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada 12 times, Natural Resources Canada 31 times, and mostly Liberal Members of Parliament 39 times to name just a few.

I’m Still Waiting for an Interview With a Government Scientist About the Diesel Spill Near Bella Bella

Oil spill near Bella Bella

I’m irritated today. Maybe it’s a case of the Mondays. Maybe it’s because B.C.’s pipeline incident webpage has been down for over a month. Or maybe it’s because the amount of oil spilled from a pipeline into an Alberta wetland, first reported on October 6, remains undetermined.

But I think the real reason is that a media request I placed with the B.C. government on Thursday last week — to speak with a scientist about the barge that ran aground on the central coast last week and its tug that’s leaking diesel into Heiltsuk territory— has yet to be fulfilled.

Not that I’ve been ignored. No, on the contrary, I’ve received helpful messages along the lines of ‘don’t lose hope, Carol! We’re going to connect you with a real, live scientist soon. Very soon!’

Yeah, um, not holding my breath.

Why We Still Don’t Know How Much Oil Was Spilled in an Alberta Wetland

The volume of a crude oil pipeline spill that occurred in an Alberta wetland remains undetermined although both the pipeline’s operator, Trilogy Energy Corp, and representatives from the Alberta Energy Regulator have been on scene since the spill was first reported October 6.

The cause of a leak in the underground pipeline, located at Trilogy’s Kaybob Montney oil project near Fox Creek, also remains undetermined, according to John Williams, Trilogy president and chief operating officer.

In a telephone interview Friday Williams said he believes the leak to be small in size and therefore “very difficult to detect.”

Williams said he preferred not to speculate on the cause of the spill.

Diesel Spill Near Bella Bella Exposes B.C.'s Deficient Oil Spill Response Regime

The grounding of a fuel barge near Bella Bella is raising fresh concerns about B.C.’s ability to respond to marine oil spills as a tug releases diesel fuel into the traditional waters of the Heiltsuk First Nation — and oil spill response crews have still not arrived on scene more than 15 hours after the accident.

The Nathan E. Stewart, a 10,000-ton tanker barge owned by Texas-based Kirby Corporation, ran aground around 1 a.m. Thursday in Seaforth Channel near Gale Pass on Athlone Island.

Although the barge itself was empty, three fuel tanks for the 100-foot tug powering the vessel were damaged and hold an estimated 60,000 gallons of diesel fuel, according to a statement from the Heiltsuk First Nation.

A spill in this area is problematic because it’s an area where our clam harvesters do a lot of commercial digging,” Jess Housty, councillor for the Heiltsuk First Nation, told DeSmog Canada.

B.C.’s Pipeline Incident Map Has Been Quietly Offline for Over a Month

The B.C. Oil and Gas Commission describes its vision as providing “oil and gas regulatory excellence for British Columbia’s changing energy future” and lists its values as “respectful, accountable, effective, efficient, responsive and transparent.”

Carrying out those lofty goals is difficult, however, when the commission’s main public accountability portal for its more than 43,000 kilometres of pipelines — an online ‘incident map’ — has been offline for more than a month.

DeSmog Canada notified the Oil and Gas Commission that the incident map had been down for over one week via e-mail on September 7. A message posted online in lieu of the interactive map — which is meant to provide up-to-date and historical data related to pipeline incidents including accidents, ruptures and releases — said the site was down for maintenance.

Cause and Volume of Pipeline Spill in Alberta Wetland Still Unknown Six Days In

A crude oil pipeline operated by Trilogy Energy Corp has released an unknown volume of oil emulsion, a mixture of oil and produced water, into surrounding marshland, according to the Alberta Energy Regulator.

Trilogy employees conducting a right-of-way inspection on the pipeline, located at the company’s Kaybob Montney oil project near Fox Creek, Alberta, discovered the spill on October 6.

Both the cause and volume of the spill remain undetermined.

Robyn Allan Q&A: Trudeau Government ‘Dangerously Misled’ on Kinder Morgan Pipeline

Economist Robyn Allan has a penchant for details. The former president and CEO of the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia also sees the benefits of informed decision-making, which is why Allan recently wrote a myth-busting letter to federal minister of natural resources, Jim Carr, on the issue of oil pipelines.

The minister, Allan said, had been “dangerously misled” by senior ministerial staff about the economic benefits of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline project. Tweet: FOI: internal #KinderMorgan docs ‘riddled w factual & analytical mistakes' & 'lack of attention to detail’ http://bit.ly/2dz97Zn #cdnpoliAn internal document provided to Minister Carr, and subsequently released through Freedom of Information legislation, was “riddled with factual and analytical mistakes and displays a lack of attention to detail” Allan wrote in her letter.

Among her findings, Allan stated the minister had been misinformed about the need for increased oil pipeline capacity in Canada especially when considering Canada’s pipelines — despite claims to the contrary — are not operating at full capacity and market conditions have substantially altered the oil production landscape in recent years (see Allan's evidence in the full letter below).

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