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environmental assessment

Getting to yes: A process for building Canada’s visionary new environmental assessment act

22 March, 2016

Last November, in a federally-unprecedented move, Prime Minister Trudeau made public his mandate letters to Canada’s new Cabinet. Among the important directives contained in those letters, there was one that created a particular stir among many environmental groups, academics and communities.


An independent, public review is needed to build trustworthy environmental review processes. Photo by Kerri Coles.

West Coast signs an open letter about the NEB process

Monday, November 16, 2015

West Coast, along with dozens of environmental organizations across the country, releases an open letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change about the NEB process. Read the letter here.

Time travel with the National Energy Board – Where 15 months can feel like years

29 September, 2015

On September 24, 2015 the National Energy Board (NEB) did something remarkable. They stopped time. More precisely, they traveled back in time, to September 18, 2015, stopped time, then traveled back to the future, to January 8, 2016 to start it again. In the words of the Time Lord, Dr. Who, time is indeed “wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff?”

On September 24, 2015 the National Energy Board (NEB) did something remarkable. They stopped time. More precisely, they traveled back in time, to September 18, 2015, stopped time, then traveled back to the future, to January 8, 2016 to start it again. In the words of the Time Lord, Dr. Who, time is indeed “wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff?”

Want to help protect our environment? Have your say on how you can have a say

21 May, 2015

Meaningful public participation is a backbone of environmental assessment. But the BC environmental assessment backbone is broken. Now is your chance to help fix it.

Until May 26th at 9:00 am PDT, you can provide feedback to the BC Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) on its public participation processes by posting comments to the EAO’s consultation webpages. Read on to learn how to submit comments and some of the ways public participation in BC can be strengthened.

 

Meaningful public participation is a backbone of environmental assessment. Without it, project reviews can become a closed-door rubber stamp, vulnerable to manipulation by proponents, governments, or any stakeholder with an agenda and a seat at the table.

The BC environmental assessment backbone is broken. And yet we rely on environmental assessment to ensure that large projects don’t harm our lands, our waters and our communities. 

A Green Budget for a Prosperous Canada

1 April, 2015

Were you excited to read our take on the supposed visionary green budget proposed by the federal government earlier today? Or did you catch on right away that anything received on April 1st should likely be taken with a grain of salt? It would certainly be a major about-face if the Canadian Government passed a bill restoring our environmental safety net. But there is no reason why it shouldn’t. Join us in urging the federal government to restore strong environmental legal protection for Canadians, democracy and the environment.

Were you excited to read our take on the supposed visionary green budget proposed by the federal government earlier today?

Reporting on the Mount Polley spill: To err is human; to err and not ask why is a failure by government regulators

18 February, 2015

On January 30, the expert panel appointed to investigate the August 4 breach of the Mount Polley Mine tailings storage facility (TSF) released its report on the causes of the dam failure. The report, which blamed the dam’s failure on poor design, made headlines across BC.

However, the expert panel, and an investigation by two levels of government and our national police force, have largely failed to ask key questions about whether a stronger regulatory framework could have prevented this breach. 

 

Social licence: mob rule or democracy in action?

21 January, 2015

The term “social licence to operate” is used frequently by project proponents and in the media, but has recently attracted some controversy. However, In a context where Canada’s environmental laws are being aggressively weakened in favour of big resource companies, and where many Canadians are feeling alienated and excluded from formal environmental decision-making, the concept is rapidly gaining in importance. 

The term “social licence to operate” (SLO) is used frequently by project proponents and in the media.  What does it mean and why is it important?  The phrase was originally coined by the mining industry about 15 years ago to describe the business case for company engagement with the local community and other stakeholders.  Today the term is routinely used by a variety of natural resource industries. 

Federal Court: Canada Acted Unconstitutionally in Ramming Through 2012 Environmental Law Changes

Monday, December 22, 2014

VANCOUVER, COAST SALISH TERRITORIES– The Federal Court of Canada has ruled that Canada failed to uphold its constitutional duties to the Mikisew Cree First Nation when it rammed through sweeping changes to federal environmental laws in 2012. West Coast Environmental Law congratulates the Mikisew Cree on their successful legal challenge to the federal government’s 2012 changes to environmental protection and assessment laws.

West Coast and NWI Launch North Coast Community Dialogue Session Series on LNG and Cumulative Impacts Management

18 December, 2014

On December 11, West Coast Environmental Law, along with the Northwest Institute for Bioregional Research (NWI), co-hosted the first of a series of community dialogue sessions on LNG and cumulative impacts management.  We held the opening session in Prince Rupert last week and were moved by the depth of knowledge, thoughtfulness and concern that participants brought to the session.  The objective of the event was to bring together First Nations, concerned citizens, business owners, health workers, local governments and non-profit organizations to begin to talk about the overall picture of LNG development in the region. 

On December 11, West Coast Environmental Law, along with the Northwest Institute for Bioregional Research (NWI), co-hosted the first of a series of community dialogue sessions on LNG and cumulative impacts management.  We held the opening session in Prince Rupert last week and were moved by the depth of knowledge, thoughtfulness and concern that participants brought to the session.  The objective of the event was to br

Canada's Enbridge decision: An annotated guide

19 June, 2014

If you've read the federal government's June 17 press release about Enbridge's Northern Gateway proposal, you might be wondering what it all means.  Here's our quick (multi-media) take on it. 

If you've read the federal government's June 17 press release about Enbridge's pipelines and tankers proposal (AKA Northern Gateway), you might be wondering what it all means.  Here's our quick take on it.  The presentation below takes about 7 minutes and you can start by pressing the play button in the bottom left corner of the frame.

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