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.

28 July, 2016

BC’s Climate Leadership Plan is missing in action.  Originally planned for release in December 2015, at the Paris Climate Talks, its release has been repeatedly delayed, with recent speculation pointing towards a dead-of-summer, don’t look now, release.

28 July, 2016

Earlier this year the BC government approved the Great Bear Rainforest Land Use Order, grounding the region’s land and forest protection into law. Now it’s time to anchor the Great Bear Sea solution – comprehensive ecosystem-based marine spatial plans – into law as well. It’s time to achieve lasting protection for this precious area.

We’re taking this message to IMCC4 in St. John’s, Newfoundland this week, with a presentation on “Getting legal traction for BC’s science-based marine spatial plans.”

14 July, 2016

It might seem a bit odd for Environmental Law Alert (based in BC, Canada) to be reporting on developments in Kenyan environmental law, but Kenya’s new Climate Change Act, 2014, brought into force in May 2016, contains a provision that is worth talking about around the world – one which provides for lawsuits against greenhouse gas polluters.

14 July, 2016

This June, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change announced that she will establish an independent expert panel to review Canada’s environmental assessment processes under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 (CEAA 2012), and opened up a 30-day public comment period on the Panel’s draft Terms of Reference. ather than tweak at the edges of a fundamentally broken and outdated system, Canada needs a next-generation environmental assessment law that works for nature and communities, and upholds Canada’s international commitments, including the Paris Agreement and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.



12 July, 2016

The warmth and relative freedom of summer creates an atmosphere of spontaneity and often last-minute plans come together: “Let’s drive to that pow-wow this weekend!” “Who wants to go to the beach for a picnic this afternoon?” “Come to the Vancouver Folk Festival and visit our WCEL table!”

Summer 2016 is no different. For those following the fate of the Kinder Morgan pipeline, there are some spontaneous and brief, summer-camp-inspired public meetings coming up. But the season really started when the Federal Court of Appeal (FCA) released its much anticipated Enbridge Decision on June 30.  Learn more about the process and pledge to attend the Kinder Morgan tar sands pipelines and tankers summer meetings.

8 July, 2016

Recently we witnessed a major legal victory for First Nations opposing the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipelines and tankers proposal, as well as all the communities, groups and individuals supporting them. After nearly two years of litigation, the Federal Court of Appeal overturned the federal Cabinet’s approval of Northern Gateway. In this blog post, Staff Counsel Gavin Smith, who acted as legal counsel for two of the First Nations in court, considers a new question: what happens now?

5 July, 2016

The Canadian government has announced that the House Standing Committee on Transportation will soon be starting its review of the Navigation Protection Act.

Unfortunately, Transport Minister Marc Garneau, in announcing the review, downplayed expectations that the government would restore lost environmental protections to a wide range of rivers and endorsed the previous government’s views that the purpose of the act is to protect navigation, and not navigable waters. That’s contrary to what the Liberal Party of Canada promised in the last election.

Canadians who were expecting better protection for the 99% of lakes and rivers that lost their legal protection in 2012 will want to let the government know their views.

21 June, 2016

On June 20, the federal government unveiled a wide-ranging review of the dramatic weakening of Canada's environmental laws made in 2012 by our previous administration and affirmed its intention to build stronger, modern environmental safeguards for nature and democracy.

While at first blush, "process to review environmental laws" may not sound like the most exciting news to make environmental headlines, the announcement marks a rare opportunity for Canadians to help shape the laws governing the things they value.

20 June, 2016

The Revitalizing Indigenous Law for Land, Air, and Water (RELAW) Project is a new initiative that aims to deepen First Nations’ capacity to engage in the process of revitalizing, applying and enforcing their own laws to contemporary environmental problems and proactive land and resource decision-making. In this post, Articled Student Lindsay Borrows recounts her powerful learning experiences at the recent 5-day RELAW retreat at the Cheakamus Centre in Squamish Nation Territory.

17 June, 2016

West Coast is excited to launch the Revitalizing Indigenous Law for Land, Air, and Water (RELAW) project in partnership with the Indigenous Law Research Unit (ILRU) at the University of Victoria. RELAW is a pilot project with the aim of supporting First Nations in their process of revitalizing, applying and enforcing Indigenous laws in relation to a contemporary aspect of environmental governance. In this post, Staff Counsel Georgia Lloyd-Smith reflects on her experience researching Secwepemc law with ILRU and the Shuswap Nation Tribal Council, to provide insight into the work we will be doing in the RELAW project.