We are very pleased to see the government turn down the Northern Gateway Pipeline. It comes at a cost: Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Expansion and Line 3. There is still more work to be done.
Please see the new Press Release from the Council of the Haida Nation on Trudeau’s announcement. According to CHN President Peter Lantin:
“There has to be a better government-to-government consultation process to deal with these projects before they get rolling,” said Lantin. “Avoiding this type of confrontation through frank dialogue will result in more common ground. Protecting the coast and the waters surrounding Haida Gwaii is paramount for our Nation. But within this framework there is room to develop practical solutions and resolve issues nation-to-nation and to do that we have to talk.”
[Originally published on mondaq, February 23, 2016]
Recently the British Columbia Supreme Court (“Court”) released its reasons for judgment in Coastal First Nations v. British Columbia (Environment), 2016 BCSC 34. The BC Environmental Assessment Office (the “EAO”) had entered into an equivalency agreement (the “Agreement”) with the National Energy Board (“NEB”). The Agreement allowed for the EAO to rely on an environmental assessment from the NEB related to Enbridge’s Northern Gateway project (the “Project”). The Court found that the Province of British Columbia had abdicated its statutory duties and breached its duty to consult with the Coastal First Nations when it signed and failed to terminate the Agreement that provided the NEB with sole jurisdiction over the environmental assessment decision-making regarding the Project. Continue reading →
Have you heard the radio call from the Exxon Valdez? The audio of the tanker captain’s call for help over the radio is the opening soundtrack for a 2 minute awareness ad for the campaign against the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline, and the expansion of tanker traffic on the coast of BC. The ad gives us statistics on the potential impact of a spill like the Exxon Valdez in Canada, for example, costing 4,379 jobs, and $21.4 Billion dollars to clean up (biologists monitoring the ecosystems in Alaska point out that the Valdez spill was never fully cleaned up and that oil can still be found by digging a few feet into the sand of some beaches. See Lingering Oil). Set to the Sounds of Silence by Paul Simon, the video is a reminder to us of what is at stake in pursuing a resource-based industry in Canada.
1. Changes to the Fisheries Act mean that the law may no longer protect all fish and the waters where they live.
The new protection framework could exclude many fish and watercourses. Generally,
habitat protection will only include permanent alteration or destruction of “commercial,
recreational or aboriginal fisher(ies)” habitat and some activities will be exempt from the
law regardless of how much damage they cause. The federal government will also be
able to hand over the power to authorize destruction of fish habitat to provincial
governments or other entities, which is worrisome.
2. No maximum time limits on permits allowing impacts on species at risk.
This means that there will no longer be any guaranteed review to evaluate ongoing
impacts to endangered species. These potential ‘perpetual’ permits could continue even
where there is a drastic decline in the population of a species affected by the permitted
3. The National Energy Board (NEB) will be exempted from species at risk protections.
The NEB will no longer have to ensure that measures have been taken to minimize
impacts on the critical habitat of at-risk species before the NEB approves a pipeline or
other major infrastructure. For example, Continue reading →