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environmental assessment

Back to the drawing board for the Raven Coal Mine

17 June, 2013

Congratulations to the people of the east coast of Vancouver Island who have been fighting the controversial Raven Coal Project, proposed by Compliance Coal Corporation.  On May 16th the BC Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) sent a letter to Compliance Coal refusing to conduct a detailed review of the project and outlining a whole host of problems with the Coal company’s application for an environmental assessment.  But promises of a revised application for a detailed assessment, and new applications for coal mining rights, emphasize yet again that some areas are simply not appropriate for mine development.  Until BC modernizes its mining laws to balance mineral rights with other rights and values it looks like the residents of the east coast of Vancouver Island are going to have to say “no” to coal mining companies over and over. 

Congratulations to the people of the east coast of Vancouver Island who have been fighting the controversial Raven Coal Project, proposed by Compliance Coal Corporation.  Coalwatch Comox Valley, which has played a lead role in opposing the project, has received a series of grants from our Environmental Dispute Resolution Fund (EDRF).  On May 16th the BC Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) sent a letter to Compliance Coal refusing to conduct a detailed review of the project and outlin

NEB should abandon undemocratic limits on public comment

10 April, 2013

Last Thursday, April 4th the National Energy Board (NEB) announced that anyone who wished to comment on Enbridge’s Line 9 pipeline proposal in Central Canada even by simply writing a letter would need to fill out a 10 page application form within 2 weeks.  This is, of course, absurd, since it will take the NEB far longer to review these 10 page applications and decide who will be allowed to write a letter, then it would have taken to read the letters. While the NEB says this new form is in response to Bill C-38 and the new CEAA 2012, in our view, it is still open to the NEB to adopt a more open process in relation to its decisions under the NEB Act – both in relation to Line 9 and generally.  Public participation is a good thing!

[Updated 7 August 2013]

On Greenwashing Canada’s Enviro-Assessment Laws

8 April, 2013

A press release issued last Tuesday (April 2nd), by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (the Agency) concerning a proposed Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) Export Terminal at Kitimat, BC referred to the "strengthened and modernized Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 (CEAA 2012)."  This term appears literally tens of thousands of times on web pages, press releases and other documents generated by the Agency.  “Strengthened”?  “Modernized”?  In what way is CEAA 2012 strengthened, compared to the old CEAA? The reality is that CEAA 2012 was a major step back for environmental assessment in Canada. 

Last Tuesday (April 2nd), the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (the Agency) invited the public to give input on whether an environmental assessment should be conducted for a proposed Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) Export Terminal at Kitimat, BC.

Jessica Clogg explains Bill C-45, First Nations Rights, FIPA

4 March, 2013

This interview was originally published by Digital Journal and was written by Grace C. Visconti. Click here to go to the article as it was originally published.

Vancouver - West Coast Environmental Law Executive Director and Senior Counsel Jessica Clogg explains ramifications of Bill C-45, First Nations Rights, and FIPA. Jessica provides legal and strategic support to First Nations to help protect land and resources of their territories.

This interview was originally published by Digital Journal and was written by Grace C. Visconti. Click here to go to the article as it was originally published.

From Oolichan to Enbridge: Getting to the Heart of Cumulative Impacts Management in the Northwest

14 January, 2013

In November 2012, 170 resource management practitioners, scientists, academics, and community members came together at a conference in Smithers, BC  entitled “Adding it All Up: Balancing Benefits and Effects of Resource Development”. The conference, organized by the Bulkley Valley Research Centre, focused on the issue of cumulative impacts management in the northwest region of BC. Gerald Amos from the Headwaters Initiative and a member of the Haisla Nation captures the challenges and opportunities facing the region in his remarks at the conference, excerpts of which we reprint as a guest post. 

A guest blog post from Gerald Amos, Headwaters Initiative

The Smoking Gun: Who was the real author of the 2012 omnibus bills?

11 January, 2013

Kudos to Greenpeace Canada for finding something of a smoking gun exposing  the role of the oil and gas industry in the gutting of Canada’s environmental laws.  Greenpeace has released a letter from the Energy Framework Initiative (EFI), representing every major oil and gas industry association, asking that the government undertake a major overhaul of six critical environmental statutes that inconvenienced the industry.  Five of the statutes have since been replaced or seen major amendments through the dismantling of our country’s environmental safety net s in omnibus bills C-38 and C-45, and further amendments are expected in the near future.  As we’ve said before, passing laws to placate one industry is going to mean bad laws that don’t protect Canadians.  In the short and long run chopping up Canada’s environmental safety net to placate industry harms our environment and the economy,and in the long run it undercuts the social licence of the industry. In the long run, everybody loses.

Kudos to Greenpeace Canada for finding something of a smoking gun exposing  the role of the oil and gas industry in the gutting of Canada’s environmental laws.  Greenpeace has released a letter from the Energy Framework Initiative (EFI), representing every major oil and gas industry association, asking that the government undertake a major overhaul of six critical environmental statutes that inconvenienced the industry.  Five

Raising your voice for the Enbridge JRP (in Victoria, Vancouver and Kelowna)

3 January, 2013

Well, tomorrow (January 4th) the Enbridge Joint Review Panel arrives in Victoria.  It’s in Vancouver on January 14th, and in Kelowna on the 28th.  So this is a big month in the southern part of our province for those concerned about the Enbridge Pipeline and Tanker Project. As you may have heard, the general public will not be invited to attend these meetings to watch the presentations from concerned citizens, but we're now learning that even those who are registered to speak can't attend in person to watch their fellow presenters.  But, whether you’re registered to speak or not, there will be plenty going on.

Well, tomorrow (January 4th) the Enbridge Joint Review Panel arrives in Victoria.  It’s in Vancouver on January 14th, and in Kelowna on the 28th.  So this is a big month in the southern part of our province for those concerned about the Enbridge Pipeline and Tanker Project. 

Federal government balking at first small step to rebuild Environmental Assessment

18 December, 2012

Together with our allies, we are continuing to hold the federal government's feet to the fire to minimize the fall out from "budget" bill C-38 in relation to the new Canadian Environmental Assessment Act 2012. The so-called consultation process for CEAA 2012's critical Project LIst continues - currently a document virtually copied and pasted from the previous Act - and we're asking the Minister to make good on the government's consultation and amendment promises

Nerd alert: Discussion of tedious yet vital regulatory procedure ahead.

Living Democracy from the Ground Up: Why Local Voices Matter

6 December, 2012

Living Democracy from the Ground Up is a mini-documentary series produced by West Coast Environmental Law that takes an up close and personal look and the impacts that individuals could feel on the ground from rollbacks to our environmental laws. The stories in the series demonstrate how robust and participatory environmental assessment is important to real people and communities and how consulting local people in the process leads to better projects. As Justice Thomas Berger says in Part 3 of the series, “that’s a lesson in democracy.”

“This is your future, you tell me what you want me to know about all this.” – Justice Tom Berger

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