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Environmental Law Alert Blog

Through our Environmental Law Alert blog, West Coast alerts you to environmental law problems and developments affecting British Columbians. It is the public voice of our Environmental Law Alert unit which is a legal “watchdog” for BC’s environment.

If you have an environmental story that we should hear about, please e-mail Andrew Gage. Also, please feel free to comment on any of the posts to this blog – but please keep in mind our policies on comments.

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.

1 April, 2015

Media Release: Green groups across Canada celebrate the new federal omnibus budget bill, which makes sweeping improvements to environmental laws in Canada and rectifies all the harm done by the last two omnibus bills, Bill C-38 and Bill C-45.  

25 March, 2015

Today Bill 24, a new Societies Act, was introduced in the BC Legislature. We are very happy to be able to confirm that the controversial “Section 99”, which had been proposed in a government discussion paper, has been dropped.  We’re inviting British Columbians to thank Finance Minister de Jong for listening to British Columbians. 

18 March, 2015

Blueberry River First Nations has launched a landmark claim against the province of BC for failing to manage the cumulative impacts of industrial development on their territory, resulting in interference with their constitutionally-protected treaty right to hunt and fish.

17 March, 2015

Despite a number of new proposals for LNG development in Northern BC, there has not yet been a provincial review of the cumulative impacts of these projects. West Coast is co-facilitating a series of community dialogues that brings project-affected communities together to talk about the things they value and how these values may be impacted - positively or negatively - by proposed development, as well as to talk about how we can make informed decisions about the right nature, pace and scale of development for our communities.


16 March, 2015

An RCMP memo blasting Canadian environmentalists, including West Coast, as part of a harmful “anti-Canadian petroleum movement,” does not make Canadians safer. The blatant bias of the memo undermines “the principle of legitimacy” – the idea that fair, credible law enforcement agencies can increase compliance with the law.  

4 March, 2015

In this era of heightened concerns about national security, we invite you to read the following open letter to Prime Minister Harper that makes a simple point: Our global atmosphere is “critical infrastructure” and disruption of it “undermines the security of Canada.” If you agree, join us in calling on the Prime Minister to declare the global atmosphere to be critical infrastructure, necessary for Canada’s security.

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. 

18 February, 2015

The pile of lawsuits sitting on top of the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipelines and Tankers Project keeps getting bigger, and this time the Province of British Columbia has been dragged into the mix.

In January 2015 a new legal challenge was launched by Gitga’at First Nation and Coastal First Nations, arguing that the Province of BC has a legal duty to make its own decision about the Enbridge project, and to consult impacted First Nations before doing so.

This legal challenge adds to the ever-growing array of obstacles that have stopped Enbridge’s Northern Gateway from making any significant progress despite obtaining conditional federal approval last summer.

17 February, 2015

It has been said that the measure of a society is how it treats its most vulnerable members.  So when I recently testified the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health about Canada’s Pest Control Products Act (PCPA), I chose to focus my submissions on what we’ve learned from our past work with farm workers about how the PCPA does and does not protect farm workers.  I told the Committee that if the PCPA were appropriately implemented, it would go a long way to protecting farm workers, and the environment.  However, to date, it has not lived up to this potential – with the result that farm workers – as those most exposed to pesticides – continue to be subject to significant health risks.