british columbia

Fri, 2014-02-07 12:14Jess Housty
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Nothing to Hide: Pipelines, Spies and Animal Print Underpants

jess housty

More and more often, we are reading in the news about the federal government and various intelligence and law enforcement agencies allegedly “spying” on aboriginals and pipeline opponents.

I am both of those things. I have no idea whether strangers are picking up shards of information from my emails and text messages. I have no idea what kind of beautiful stained-glass mosaics their imaginations might create. But in the spirit of wild and optimistic honesty, I would like to make a declaration to them, just in case:

I have nothing to hide from you.

Sometimes I can be arrogant. I’m very bad at playing guitar, but you know, I think I can sing pretty nicely. I like an embarrassing amount of honey in my tea. When I hike in the forest, I like to run. I write poems on napkins and receipts and scraps of paper and most of the time, I lose them; maybe you’ve found some. I don’t make my bed. Even though I think they’re silly, sometimes when it’s laundry day I resort to wearing animal print underpants.

Wed, 2014-02-05 09:49Indra Das
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Poll Finds Most B.C. Residents Still Strongly Oppose Enbridge Oil Tanker and Pipeline Proposal

Vancouver Enbridge Noise demonstration

According to a recent poll commissioned by four environmental groups, nearly two-thirds (64 per cent) of residents in British Columbia oppose Enbridge's plan to transport crude oil through B.C. using the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline and oil tankers.

The hybrid telephone-online poll, conducted by Justason Market Intelligence, found that 50 per cent of B.C. residents strongly oppose the Enbridge proposal, compared to 12 per cent who strongly support it.

The poll was commissioned by Dogwood Initiative, ForestEthics Advocacy, Northwest Institute for Bioregional Research and West Coast Environmental Law. Six hundred adult British Columbians were surveyed from January 13 to January 19, 2014 through random telephone sampling and Justason's online panel.

Mon, 2014-02-03 11:36Heather Libby
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209 Ways to Fail: Northern Gateway Conditions Demystified

Douglas Channel, near Kitimat B.C.

After Northern Gateway’s lengthy, contentious joint review process, putting any faith in the ability of the National Energy Board to hold Enbridge accountable may feel foolish. And yet, the National Energy Board (NEB) may be the closest thing to an ally in government this project provides.

Right now, the Northern Gateway oil tanker and pipeline project is in a holding pattern while the federal cabinet reviews the recommendations from the NEB's Joint Review Panel. Barring delays or injunctions from any of the pending legal challenges, cabinet will announce its decision sometime in the next five months.

While there are, of course, all number of other legitimate hurdles, including ongoing First Nations legal challenges and the possibility the province could deny necessary permits, as of right now, cabinet approval and the 209 conditions recommended by the NEB are the only federal government-mandated steps standing in the way of bitumen-loaded tankers and Douglas Channel. Isn't it time they deserved a closer look?

Fri, 2014-01-17 14:49Indra Das
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Environmental Groups Respond to Northern Gateway Report, File Lawsuit to Block Pipeline Approval

Northern Gateway Pipeline

Environmental groups, including ForestEthics Advocacy, Living Oceans Society and Raincoast Conservation Foundation, filed a lawsuit today to block cabinet approval of the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline.  

Ecojustice lawyers representing the three groups filed the lawsuit at the federal court level, saying that the Joint Review Panel's (JRP) final report on the pipeline is based on insufficient evidence and does not satisfy the legislated requirements of the environmental assessment process.

“The JRP did not have enough evidence to support its conclusion that the Northern Gateway pipeline would not have significant adverse effects on certain aspects of the environment,” said Karen Campbell, Ecojustice staff lawyer.

Fri, 2013-10-18 10:47Erin Flegg
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New Spill Response Study Finds Tanker Owners Not Financially Responsible for Damage Caused By Spills

Kinder Morgan terminal Burrard Inlet

A new independent report has revealed that there's nothing on the books in Canada to ensure the owners of tankers that spill oil on the west coast will be held financially accountable for damage to communities and individuals.

The West Coast Spill Response Study, released late last week by the Province of British Columbia, outlines the major gaps in both federal and provincial oil spill response plans, most notably the hole where legislation requiring polluters to pay should be.

The Ministry of Environment says the report “lays the foundation for building a world-class marine spill response and preparedness system.” But if this is what the foundation looks like, there’s a long way to go before the house is complete. The report reveals that tanker companies are not legally responsible for compensating individuals or communities affected by long-term environmental damage, such as that caused by oil spills off the BC coast. The report further states that there are no regulations in place to establish environmental impact or determine how compensation should be given, and while the BC government has the authority to restore damaged coastline habitats, there’s currently no funding mechanism in place to do so.

Tue, 2013-10-01 13:28Carol Linnitt
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LEAKED: Enbridge’s New Northern Gateway Pipeline Ad Campaign “Open to Better”

Northern Gateway Pipeline Enbridge Advertising Campaign Leaked

DeSmog Canada has obtained leaked copies of Enbridge’s new Northern Gateway Pipeline advertising campaign notes, including a ‘mood board’ that sets the tone for images surrounding the project, outlines and scripts for television commercials, and creative platforms for other advertising materials. The theme of the campaign is “Open to Better.”

The documents also reveal Enbridge’s attempt to convince British Columbian’s that Premier Christy Clark’s 5 conditions, which were set as terms for the project’s approval, have been met. Two characters, Janet Holder, Enbridge's VP, and ‘The Orca,’ are used to express how the Northern Gateway Pipeline will offer British Columbian’s what they want: what is better.

DeSmog Canada will provide more analysis of the new campaign in posts to come, but for now, feast your eyes and ask yourself, is building a pipeline for the export of Alberta’s tar sands oil really being ‘open to better?’ Or is it a refusal to actually be better – at managing our resources, addressing the social and environmental pollution associated with our fossil fuel dependence, and beginning the transition to clean energy solutions?

Fri, 2013-09-27 13:58Guest
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Take Me to Your Compost!: Hipsters are Cool with the End of Economic Growth

Celine Trojand No Growth Economy on DeSmog Canada

By Kai Nagata

Vancouver! Gateway to the fabled markets of the Orient. Headquarters to the world's more discerning mining barons. Soon to be North America's largest exporter of coal - fuel of the future! Vancouver, my hometown, where you can dream of owning a million-dollar stucco bungalow while you intern as a busboy.

That's not a joke. Earlier this month, the Fairmont Waterfront hotel actually put up an ad for an unpaid internship as a “Busperson.” Perhaps we should applaud the Fairmont for offering young candidates an honest lesson in modern economics: if you're just putting on the apron now, chances are, you'll never catch up to the people you're serving. Now smile while you clear away those oysters.

If I sound sarcastic, that's because I'm 26. My generation is on the wrong side of some grim mathematics. Consider this: the largest segments of the B.C. economy are those relying on real estate and retail. At the same time, British Columbians have the largest, fastest-growing consumer debt in the country. For the economy to grow as it is currently structured, people have to buy new houses and shop more. But how do you pay off a mortgage if you're interning as a busboy? Most of my peers couldn't put together a down payment in the first place.

Sat, 2013-09-14 09:00Indra Das
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Harper Cabinet Prepares for Major BC Pipelines Push Targeting First Nations

Prime Minister Stephen Harper

The Harper government is sending several of its cabinet ministers and bureaucrats to BC starting next week to try and appease opponents of its plans to build oil pipelines to the West Coast.

Chris Hall writes for CBC News, that “Prime Minister Stephen Harper is signalling he intends to make progress on proposals to connect Alberta's oilsands with ports in British Columbia and the lucrative Asian markets beyond.”

According to Hall, this initiative is in response to a report last month from Douglas Eyford, Harper's special pipelines representative in British Columbia, who indicated that negotiations with First Nations on pipelines weren't going well.

Thu, 2013-05-09 11:11Stephen Leahy
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BC LNG Exports Blow Climate Targets Way, Way Out of the Water

Rendering of BC LNG export facility in BC.

This post is the second of a two part series. Read the first installment, Unreported Emissions From Natural Gas Blow Up BC's Climate Action Plan.

Methane leaks from British Columbia's natural gas industry are likely at least 7 times greater than official numbers increasing the entire provinces' carbon footprint by nearly 25%. That's like putting 3 million more vehicles on BC's roads.

As Part One revealed official government figures state only 0.3% to 0.4% of BC's natural gas production leaks into the atmosphere. No believes that is accurate. Independent studies in the US show these methane leaks range between 2% and 9%.

All aspects of natural gas operations including drilling gathering, processing and pipelines can leak methane into the atmosphere. The industry doesn't like to call them leaks, preferring the term “fugitive emissions.”

Seals, valves, joints, compressor pumps all can leak. There are literally hundreds of thousands of points where this can occur said Bill Tubbs Manager, Environmental Permitting & Regulation at Spectra Energy Transmission. Headquartered in Houston, Texas Spectra is the biggest gas pipeline and processing companies operating in western Canada.

We don't measure fugitive emissions, we estimate how much for reporting purposes,” Tubbs told DeSmog.

Thu, 2013-04-11 16:58Erika Thorkelson
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Build a Better Future for BC with Carbon Tax

A new video from five of British Columbia’s leading environmental groups challenges candidates in the provincial election to do better on climate change initiatives.

British Columbians already have a policy that is fighting climate change and helping to create secure and well-paying jobs: the carbon tax,” says a video from the group entitled Better Future BC. “With a few upgrades, it can be made even more effective, and it can also drive a potent investment engine that we’re calling the Better Future Fund.”

It’s clear that BC is at a crossroads,” says David Suzuki Foundation science and policy manager Ian Bruce. “In the past, BC has shown leadership on climate change although that has waned over the last few years. There’s certainly a threat that the next government could prioritize boom and bust industries like the oil and gas industry.”

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