Environmental Law Alert Blog

Through our Environmental Law Alert blog, West Coast keeps you up to date on the latest developments and issues in environmental law. This includes:

  • proposed changes to the law that will weaken, or strengthen, environmental protection;
  • stories and situations where existing environmental laws are failing to protect the environment; and
  • emerging legal strategies that could be used to protect our environment.

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

2020 Canadian Law Blog Awards Winner

Coal’s harms are no secret. Thermal coal (burned to generate power) is the world’s largest source of anthropogenic greenhouse gases, and metallurgic (steelmaking) coal’s impacts on fisheries are well documented.

From protests to scientific analysis, old growth forests have been much in the news in British Columbia in recent months.

This month, as communities across BC and Canada have faced deadly extreme heat and devastating wildfires, West Coast Environmental Law and a number of other Canadian environmental organizations have been forced to redirect our staff time and energy to deal with another challenge – the Alberta Inquiry.  

On June 29, 2021, Blueberry River First Nations (“Blueberry”) won a ground-breaking case that provides urgent legal direction to the Province to stop the “death by a thousand cuts” resulting from its disconnected, piecemeal approvals for activities like logging, oil and gas development, dams and mining, in order to respect the constitutionally-protected rights of Indigenous peoples.

In recent years, oil and gas companies have tried desperately to “clean up” their images in relation to the environment by referencing policies like carbon taxes or the shift to natural gas as part of the effort to fight climate change.

We feel, in the wake of this year’s heat wave and the loss of the Village of Lytton to wildfire, that the BC government needs to do much more – much more urgently – to protect our communities from climate change.

With BC coming out of the worst heat wave in … well, probably ever, with the Village of Lytton burnt to the ground and the prospect of more wildfires over the summer, let’s ask the question: what should our government be doing to keep us safe from climate change?

**TRIGGER WARNING** - This post discusses colonial violence, residential schools

With renewed calls to #CancelCanadaDay resounding across the country, some of West Coast’s team members shared their reflections this July 1st.

 

**TRIGGER WARNING**

I am a staff lawyer at West Coast and I work with our Access to Justice and RELAW (Revitalizing Indigenous Law for Land, Air and Water) Programs. I am a mother, I am a daughter, and I am the granddaughter of Lottie and Isaac Lindley, who both attended the Kamloops Indian Residential School in Secwépemc Territory. I also work in the building and my office is #215.

Old-growth logging in British Columbia is just as controversial today as when the “War of the Woods” hit international headlines in the 1990s. The way the RCMP is continuing to use legally-questionable “exclusion zones” to restrict access in the Fairy Creek area protests is fueling the public’s confusion about these important issues.