August 17, 2010
Looking for a tasty morsel of environmental law news? Some of the stories that caught our eye over the past week or so include:
- The US Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Energy have jointly made an important point: you can’t expect Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) to accomplish much if it’s cheaper to release the carbon into the atmosphere. Here in Canada the Alberta and Canadian governments have put much stock in CCS without being willing to put a serious price on carbon.
- Ontario environmental lawyer Dianne Saxe points out that 2 Canadian government reports on the impacts of climate change seem to have been remarkably accurate so far, even being proved right on some claims that might have sounded unlikely.
- We’re always interested in SLAPPs (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation), and I have a personal interest in Indian environmental law, having volunteered several years back with M.C. Mehta, so I was interested to read that the Supreme Court of India has sided with pesticide activists in India who were being sued by the companies making the pesticides. Our friends at the Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide have a copy of the Supreme Court’s order available on-line.
- Salmon Guy raises some important questions on whether the Cohen Inquiry has time to complete its investigation of the collapse of the Fraser sockeye runs by its May 2011 deadline, as well as querying why so much of the science that the Inquiry has commissioned seems not to have been done by Fisheries and Oceans Canada. We’ve covered the Cohen Inquiry in a number of past posts.
- In the US, a federal appeals court has ruled that run-off from logging and logging roads in the state of Oregon amounts to pollution, and must be regulated under the Clean Water Act. Here in BC there are long-standing concerns that the federal government does not generally enforce the Fisheries Act against logging companies. Fisheries and Oceans staff have in the past expressed the view that even BC’s Forest Practices Code, now replaced by the much weaker Forest and Range Practices Act, did not adequately protect fish habitat. In 2000 a number of environmental groups complained about non-enforcement of the Fisheries Act in relation to logging to the Commission on Environmental Cooperation, culminating in a final factual record from the Commission in 2003. This problem is definitely unresolved, and, in fact, is more urgent given the weakened environmental requirements of the Forest and Range Practices Act. Any suggestions on how to get the federal government to do its job and protect fish from logging?
Those are our environmental law morsels for now. Hope you enjoyed them with your coffee.