1 Environmental Law Alert Blog | West Coast Environmental Law

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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.

21 September, 2015

When a government makes changes to a regulatory framework, it takes time – sometimes years – before its actual impacts can be known. Now, almost two years since the last of the amendments came into force (the last of the Bill C-38 changes to the Fisheries Act came into effect in November, 2013), results have started to come in, and a new paper by a law professor from the University of Calgary tells us that things are not looking good for fish or the environment.

9 September, 2015

Dear FactsCan.ca - We write in regard to your recent “fact check” of a 2014 petition by the New Democratic Party of Canada (NDP) related to the removal of environmental protection from 2.5 million of Canada’s lakes and rivers. The NDP states that “Canada went from 2.5 million protected lakes and rivers, down to just 159 under the Conservatives.” You conclude that this statement is “misleading” (indeed, on Twitter, “VERY misleading.”) We have ourselves made similar statements to the one made in the NDP Petition. Indeed, on 31 August 2015 we tweeted a graphic asserting that “Since 2011, 99% of Canada’s Lakes and Rivers lost their legal protection.” We stand by that statement, even after reviewing your analysis. Here is why we believe that your finding that the NDP’s petition is “misleading” is itself misleading...

20 August, 2015

The governments of both British Columbia and Alberta are currently consulting the public as they develop “climate leadership plans.” But what does it really take to be a climate leader? Let’s take a moment to reflect on what climate leadership means and to acknowledge some recent examples, and to consider what that means for BC's promise of climate leadership.

19 August, 2015

Summer law student Justine Desmond reviews a recently-published article by Peter Frumhoff, Richard Heede and Naomi Oreskes suggesting that major carbon-producing companies should take greater responsibility for the impacts of climate change. 


18 August, 2015

Summer law student volunteer Rachel Gutman travelled to Vancouver Island with Staff Counsel Anna Johnston to hear from people who have been affected by rollbacks to Canada’s environmental laws.  Along the way, they met with Canadians from all walks of life and backgrounds. Rachel reflects on some of the most meaningful conversations to her: oyster farmers on the east coast of the island.  

13 August, 2015

The summer is quickly coming to a close, and the West Coast Environmental Law (WCEL) summer law student volunteers want to take this opportunity to thank our friends and mentors at WCEL for their support and guidance during the course of this amazing experience. As we say our final farewell, we would like to share the highlights of our summer at West Coast.

6 August, 2015

Beneath the earth lies groundwater, buried treasure in the form of aquifers. Manage it well, and the treasure will continue to nourish us for generations to come. That’s why it’s important for you to speak up and contribute your feedback to the Government of BC’s consultation on new groundwater licensing regulations

24 July, 2015

In May I spent time with colleagues from the Northwest Institute for Bioregional Research in Treaty 8 territory in northeastern BC listening to Indigenous and non-Indigenous residents talk about the cumulative effects of development projects on the health of their land and communities.  Over the past few decades the region has experienced an unprecedented level of industrial activity, including mining, clear cutting, roadbuilding, dam construction, oil and gas development, and waste disposal.  In order to help us better understand the impacts of all these projects on the ground, our friend Bud Napoleon, who is a member of Saulteau First Nation, took us out in his truck into the mountains for a few days.

23 July, 2015

This week West Coast Environmental Law held a meeting “Go With the Flow: Meeting on Regulations for the BC Water Sustainability Act” with allies in the conservation world to discuss our Expectations for the next critical phase of the BC Water Sustainability Act –the development of the regulations that will make the Act effective.

22 July, 2015

A group of law student volunteers created a website that features summaries of the evidence submitted by intervenors in the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion proposal. Their goal: to increase information accessibility and to help open up the process.