1 energy | West Coast Environmental Law



Trans Mountain Pipeline proposal leaves taxpayers liable for 90 percent of marine-based spill response cost

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Kinder Morgan proposal increases risk of major oil spill without adequate insurance, report warns

For Immediate Release 

Wresting authority from the regulators: The proper role of the National Energy Board in environmental assessments

31 March, 2017

It is not every day that we have an opportunity to effect transformative legal change. It is natural, then, that when last summer a number of cabinet ministers announced the review of four key federal environmental laws, West Coast Environmental Law – along with other lawyers, academics, environmental groups, Indigenous peoples and the general public – took a keen interest. Through these reviews we have an opportunity to not only strengthen environmental processes and substantive legal protections, but to also transform the governance of environmental planning and decision-making.

This opportunity is perhaps most pronounced in the reviews of federal environmental assessment processes and the National Energy Board (NEB). Currently, two out of the three federal bodies who are responsible authorities for environmental assessments under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 – the NEB and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) – are regulators.

This column was originally published on Slaw – Canada's online legal magazine.

A Kinder Morgan snapshot

14 March, 2017

It’s been a while since we’ve updated you about Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline and tanker expansion project (KMX). A lot has happened in the past few months, so here’s a snapshot of where we’re at.

It’s been a while since we’ve updated you about Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline and tanker expansion project (KMX). A lot has happened in the past few months, so here’s a snapshot of where we’re at:

Political approvals

Will the Pacific north coast oil tanker ban hold water? A review of Canada’s proposed new legislation

31 January, 2017

On November 29, 2016, the federal government announced that it will introduce legislation in spring 2017 to entrench an oil tanker ban on the north coast of British Columbia, and it provided preliminary details on the content of the legislation. In our new publication, West Coast addresses the federal government’s proposal for oil tanker ban legislation in more detail and evaluates its strengths and weaknesses.


In January 2016, West Coast Environmental Law Association released Keeping Our Coast Clean: Frequently asked questions about

WCEL reacts to BC’s approval of Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Expansion

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

VANCOUVER, BC, Coast Salish Territories – Today’s announcement to approve the risky Kinder Mountain Trans Mountain Expansion is a disappointing, but unsurprising betrayal for generations of British Columbians. The BC Government’s 37 conditions do nothing to mitigate the risks of the project.

2017: A Look Ahead to Protect Nature, Climate and Communities

5 January, 2017

Check out our short video to meet some of our talented lawyers and see what we're most excited about for 2017!

From providing legal aid for communities to defend their environment, to revitalizing Indigenous laws, and holding fossil fuel companies accountable for their role in climate change – this year the West Coast team will continue working toward a better future for people and the environment in Canada.

Check out our short video to meet some of our talented lawyers and program staff, and see what we're most excited about in our work for 2017.

Are politicians really standing up for our climate with the Pan-Canadian Framework?

16 December, 2016

The new Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change – and the games played by BC’s Premier Christy Clark during the process leading up to it – demonstrate clearly that Canada needs scientists, and not politicians, to be front and centre in developing its climate policy.

Canada's Prime Minister and Premiers during a press conference on the Climate Framework following the First Ministers' Meeting on December 9, 2016.

Climate framework a good first step, fails to plot path to sustainable future

Friday, December 9, 2016


VANCOUVER, BC, Coast Salish Territories – Lawyers with West Coast Environmental Law Association are celebrating the many positive elements in today’s national climate framework to address the country’s greenhouse gas pollution – including requiring provinces to place a price on greenhouse gas emissions.

Carrying forward lessons from Northern Gateway

8 December, 2016

Understandably, those opposed to the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain project have not been in a mood to celebrate this past week. At the same time as the Prime Minister announced the federal government’s approval of Kinder Morgan (and the Enbridge Line 3 project), he confirmed something that most people already knew to be true: the Enbridge Northern Gateway project is dead. In addition to rejecting Northern Gateway, last week the federal government also provided preliminary details on oil tanker ban legislation that it will introduce in spring 2017.

The fact that First Nations, communities and individual citizens who opposed Northern Gateway were successful in stopping the project, even in the face of a previous federal approval and a determined pipeline company with deep pockets, deserves a moment of reflection.

Staff Counsel Gavin Smith with Geraldine Thomas-Flurer of the Yinka Dene Alliance during Northern Gateway court hearings in October 2015

How my view of the world changed over the course of a fight against a megaproject

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