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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.

14 June, 2013

On June 5th Organizing for Change, a coalition made up of West Coast Environmental Law and 11 other leading environmental organizations, wrote to Premier Christy Clark to thank her for asking, on behalf of British Columbians, that the National Energy Board Joint Review Panel (JRP) recommend against approving the Enbridge pipelines and tankers project.  However, the pipeline company, the federal government, and others seem to think that they can persuade her to change her mind.  British Columbians will be watching carefully and will insist that Premier Clark continue to show leadership not just on the Enbridge tankers and pipelines project, but on other projects that would bring tar sands oil to BC’s coast.  True “clarity” on these projects would be to say no to all tar sands pipeline and tanker projects and to take concrete legal action to back up this reasoned position.

29 May, 2013

This is a guest post from Carol Linnitt, and was originally published on DeSmog Blog. To see the original post, click here.

Sure they’re bad for the environment, for human health, and for wildlife, but we rarely stop to wonder if the Alberta tar sands are in fact unconstitutional.


27 May, 2013

Like many,  I did not see Premier Christy Clark’s surprise majority win coming.  The environmental community, West Coast Environmental Law included, saw some of the other parties as offering stronger environmental platforms.  So, with the election dust settling, the question is what does the new government mean for environmental law in BC?  We examine some of the specific environmental commitments made by the BC Liberals in their election platform, or during and prior to the election, that we will expect that new BC government to deliver on.

9 May, 2013

On Earth Day (April 22nd) we joined many other environmental organizations in applauding Adrian Dix and the NDP for standing up for our coast, and expressing opposition to the expansion of the KinderMorgan Pipeline. Although the NDP’s position is a bit less precise than the BC Green platform (which pledges to “Reject any expansion of the Kinder-Morgan pipeline from Alberta to Vancouver“), it is a clear indication of where the party stands. It is sometimes said that the federal government has the ultimate say on the proposed Enbridge and Kinder Morgan Pipelines and Tankers Projects.  But the reality is that the province has a strong and legitimate interests in respect of both proposals, and has the legal power to protect many of BC’s resources from such projects. 

9 May, 2013

It was a very long way to travel to be turned away at the door. 

As I noted in an earlier post, a delegation of us journeyed from BC to Enbridge’s Annual General Meeting, on Wednesday, May 8th, to deliver to shareholders and the Board of Directors a message about the financial risk of the Northern Gateway pipelines and tankers project.  The Enbridge Northern Gateway proposal has created unprecedented unity amongst BC communities opposed to the project, and our diverse group represented many of those communities:  First Nations, farmers, fishers, unions, and environmental organizations.  Proxies had been carefully assigned the week before through following the standard online registration process administered by CIBC Mellon.  Everyone had thought long and hard about what they wanted to say on the meeting floor.

7 May, 2013

I’m excited to be heading to the Enbridge AGM in Calgary on May 8 on behalf of West Coast.  I’ll be accompanying a  diverse group of concerned community members from the BC North Coast and from Alberta, including commercial fishers, farmers, youth and representatives of the Wet’suwet’en Tsayu (Beaver) and Laksilyu (Small Frog) Clans, as well as members of environmental NGOs and organized labour. The message we will deliver to the new CEO Al Monaco and the Enbridge Board is that they need an exit strategy: the Northern Gateway project is not going to be built, and hanging on will generate more liability for shareholders and investors.

2 May, 2013

Earlier this year, the BC Legislature declared the Pacific Salmon to be BC’s official fish.  Which is no doubt nice for the salmon.  But even nicer would be real legal protection for the salmon.  With the platforms from all four parties now available, what are candidates proposing to do to protect our salmon? This post examines where each of the four main parties come down, including taking a look at growing controversy about the NDP’s rather vague election promise on salmon.

26 April, 2013

The BC New Democratic Party released its election platform on Wednesday (April 24th), the last of the four main parties to release its platform. What? You don’t have time to read yet another election platform?  Well today is your lucky day, because this environmental law alert summarizes the platforms of the NDP, the Liberals, the Greens and the Conservatives into 4 handy, easy to look at word clouds.

22 April, 2013

We’re asking all political parties to support banning the use, sale and retail display of cosmetic pesticides used on public and private lands – something only the provincial government has the power to do.  How can you help? Spread the word, share this blog post with your friends, email BC’s party leaders and find out what they’re doing to help ban the use and sale of cosmetic pesticides. A Guest Post by Nazanine Parent, cancer survivor and Canadian Cancer Society BC and Yukon volunteer.

19 April, 2013

Well, the writ’s been dropped and this Environmental Law Alert post is brought to you by the West Coast Environmental Law Association, sponsor under the Elections Act.  We do understand the value of regulating advertising that is intended to sway elections, but the BC Elections Act is prohibiting communications on broad public issues based not on whether those communications are intended to impact the election, but on whether the parties and candidates have taken positions on those issues.  In our view, this is having a chilling effect on public discussion at the very time when we most need public discussion.