1 June 2016 | West Coast Environmental Law

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June 2016

Federal government reviews of environmental laws: Processes where people matter

21 June, 2016

On June 20, the federal government unveiled a wide-ranging review of the dramatic weakening of Canada's environmental laws made in 2012 by our previous administration and affirmed its intention to build stronger, modern environmental safeguards for nature and democracy.

While at first blush, "process to review environmental laws" may not sound like the most exciting news to make environmental headlines, the announcement marks a rare opportunity for Canadians to help shape the laws governing the things they value.

Vancouver shoreline

Photo: Gord McKenna via Flickr

Revitalizing Indigenous Law for Land, Air and Water: The Cheakamus Retreat

20 June, 2016

The Revitalizing Indigenous Law for Land, Air, and Water (RELAW) Project is a new initiative that aims to deepen First Nations’ capacity to engage in the process of revitalizing, applying and enforcing their own laws to contemporary environmental problems and proactive land and resource decision-making. In this post, Articled Student Lindsay Borrows recounts her powerful learning experiences at the recent 5-day RELAW retreat at the Cheakamus Centre in Squamish Nation Territory.

A meandering stream at the Cheakamus Centre (Photo: Alice William)

Reflections on RELAW: The role of stories in law

17 June, 2016

West Coast is excited to launch the Revitalizing Indigenous Law for Land, Air, and Water (RELAW) project in partnership with the Indigenous Law Research Unit (ILRU) at the University of Victoria. RELAW is a pilot project with the aim of supporting First Nations in their process of revitalizing, applying and enforcing Indigenous laws in relation to a contemporary aspect of environmental governance. In this post, Staff Counsel Georgia Lloyd-Smith reflects on her experience researching Secwepemc law with ILRU and the Shuswap Nation Tribal Council, to provide insight into the work we will be doing in the RELAW project.

West Coast is excited to launch the Revitalizing Indigenous Law for Land, Air, and Water (RELAW) project in partnership with the Indigenous Law Research Unit (ILRU) at the University of Victoria.

Enbridge asks for another shot: Public comment period open on Northern Gateway’s request to extend its expiring federal approval

3 June, 2016

The Enbridge Northern Gateway project's conditional approval is on track to expire at the end of 2016. To keep its project alive, Northern Gateway has requested a three-year extension from the National Energy Board (NEB) and federal CabinetNow is the time to have your say on whether Enbridge should get another shot.

Imagine for a moment that the Canucks made the playoffs (I know this is confusing and potentially painful for you, but bear with me). Imagine that they’re about to win their series when, with only a couple minutes left before the horn goes, the captain of the other team skates to centre ice and starts making a plea – to the media, to the audience, to the ref, to anyone who will listen:

Poor mines enforcement undermines social licence

1 June, 2016

BC’s government accuses political opponents of being too keen to say “no” to development, but a recent report by BC’s Auditor General, Carol Bellringer, blasted the Ministry of Energy and Mines and the Ministry of Environment for the carte blanche they have provided to mining companies with little monitoring or compliance required after mines have been approved. While poor enforcement hurts the environment and the communities that depend on it, it also hurts industry. As we noted recently, it places responsible businesses at a competitive disadvantage, but at a broader level it also undermines public confidence in the industry as a whole – destroying the social licence of the mining industry and other regulated industries. If we want BC communities to say “yes” to resource development, we need strong environmental laws and we need confidence that our government will stand up and ensure those laws will be followed.

BC’s government accuses political opponents of being too keen to say “no” to development, but a recent report by BC’s Auditor General, Carol Bellringer, blasted the Ministry of Energy and Mines and the Ministry of Environment for the carte blanche they have provided to mining companies with little monitoring or compliance required after mines have been approved.

Spills in BC: Will we be ready? Have your say

15 June, 2016

Would BC be ready for a major spill? Now is your chance to have your say.

The Government of BC is changing how we plan for and respond to spills in the province, and is holding a public comment period until June 30, 2016, on its proposed spill planning and response framework. West Coast has collaborated with our friends at Georgia Strait Alliance and Living Oceans Society to publish a backgrounder that can help you make your voice heard on the BC Government’s proposed spill response framework – and you can take action using our online spill response comment tool.

Would BC be ready for a major spill? Now is your chance to have your say.