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June 2010

Legal questions regarding the Oliver Slide

28 June, 2010

West Coast Environmental Law is concerned about the province’s response to the landslide that hit Oliver, BC on June 13th.  The slide was caused by a man-made lake created by Elkink Ranch Ltd.

BC chooses to kill wolves rather than protect caribou herd

23 June, 2010

In March the West Moberly First Nation won a precedent setting victory in the BC Supreme Court for the threatened Burnt Pine caribou herd – putting the brakes on a coal mine being developed in the herd’s critical habitat.  This court challenge was funded in part through West Coast Environmental Law’s Environmental Dispute Resolution Fund and argued by the law

Commissioner Cohen and the DFO Connection

21 June, 2010

As noted in an earlier post, on June 15th the Cohen Commission began its first hearings into the causes of the collapse of the Fraser sockeye, and the Commission is already receiving criticism, for a variety of reasons.  One of the more notable is the suggestion that the scientists he appointed to the Commission’s

Best wishes to Salmon Commission

21 June, 2010

The Cohen Commission – appointed to investigate the collapse of the Fraser River sockeye runs – started its first hearings on Tuesday (June 15th), with submissions from participants on what topics it should be investigating.  There’s been some coverage in the media, from general controversy over how the Commission is handling itself to

A Day in Court with the Halalt First Nation

11 June, 2010

By Justin Basinger and Dyna Tuytel, Legal Interns, West Coast Environmental Law

It was a rainy morning outside the BC Supreme Court in downtown Vancouver, and while commuters outside cursed this abundance of wetness, inside the courthouse a First Nations group was fighting for their right to manage their own water supply to ensure it doesn’t go dry.

The Gathering of Nations in Kitamaat against pipelines and oil tankers

8 June, 2010

KitamaatNo2Enbr.jpgOn May 29th, 2010 the Haisla and Gitga’at First Nations held the Solidarity of Nations Gathering in Kitamaat Village to reaffirm their opposition of the Coastal First Nations to the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline.  West Coast Environmental Law was formally invited to witness and to participate in the event in recognition of our work to support Coastal First Nations in their efforts to stop oil tankers in their wa

It Takes a Whole Community Pulling Together

8 June, 2010

(Community Values Drive Responsible Waste and Resource Management)

BC trails Quebec, Ontario in protecting public from chilling lawsuits

7 June, 2010

Imagine criticizing a development or asking for changes to a law and getting sued by a large corporation with high priced lawyers and deep pockets.  Even if you did absolutely nothing wrong, fighting the lawsuit could bankrupt you.  Sound intimidating?  That’s the point of lawsuits intended to silence public debate – known by the acronym SLAPPs, or Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation. 

Water, Modernity and Trust

4 June, 2010

On Sunday (May 30th), I gave a workshop at the Your Water Your Future conference in Nanaimo, organized by the Vancouver Island Water Watch Coalition.  Congratulations to the organizers for a well run and well attended event, with great speakers from Maude Barlow to Rafe Mair. 

It’s amazing just how important topsoil is

3 June, 2010

Turns out that good top-soil is important not just for gardeners, but for city planners as well.  Topsoil can provide valuable water conservation management services for cities. However, too much urban area is covered with pavement, compacted dirt and other surfaces that, unlike topsoil, do not absorb water well, if at all.  As a result, complex rainwater management systems are required to collect rainwater; in fact, a number of B.C.