Ecojustice recaps the week in Canadian environmental news: August 24, 2012
This week's recap features a new pipeline-related proposal, personal stories from Canadians concerned about Enbridge's proposed pipeline, environmental assessments, news about British Columbia's orcas and endangered species.
- British Columbia newspaper magnate David Black wants to refine the crude sent through the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline in Kitimat, B.C. “Environmentalists should be overjoyed,” Gordon Gibson wrote in a Globe and Mail article. We’re not. Instead of shipping the harder-to-clean-up crude, the refinery would turn the oilsands bitumen into diesel, gasoline or jet fuel, which would reduce the harm to oceans if a tanker did spill. Apparently, those refined products evaporate faster than the unrefined oilsands crude. Our position is that not building the pipeline is the best way to reduce the harm to our oceans.
- Canadians learned on Thursday that almost 3,000 environmental reviews on development projects were axed by the federal government. Mike De Souza of Postmedia News wrote that of those 3,000 reviews, “678 involved fossil fuel energy and 248 involved a pipeline, including proposals from Alberta-based energy companies, Enbridge and TransCanada.” That’s Bill C-38 in action, folks. To make way for oilsands expansion, pipelines and resource development the federal government dismantled and weakened the laws that protect us from environmental harm.
- More than 500 of these assessments were supposed to happen in B.C., where 10 linked power plants built near McBride, B.C., could threaten salmon and the endangered Haller’s Apple Moss. We’re helping the David Suzuki Foundation and Watershed Watch Salmon Society. These power plants need a proper environmental review. The issue was covered in this Victoria Times Colonist story.
- Alberta released version No. 3 of its Lower Athabasca Regional Plan, which aims to balance oilsands expansion and the environment. What we know is that the plan protects habitat for endangered woodland caribou and creates six new conservation areas. That’s a good thing. But it’s not all good and that’s why our team is taking a closer look. While we’re doing that, you can read the article at CBC News.
- Nigel Fox of Prince George, B.C., says that “no one in BC wants this proposed pipeline. Nigel is the one of the Canadians Paul Fletcher and Daniel Sikorskyi have photographed for Ride The Pipe, a website where they’re telling stories about people who live along the path of the proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline. You can also see the photos and follow the ride here.
- Filmmaker Dave Shortt’s video gets real about the risks of the proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline. Dave spent 10 days filming in northern B.C. and emerged with some stunning images of the lakes, rivers, waterfalls, wilderness and wildlife. When he read about the missing islands in Enbridge’s video animation, he decided to show people what was at stake. You can find out more in The Man Behind The Viral Video ‘This Is Not An Enbridge Animation,’ which was written by Emma Gilchrist at the Dogwood Initiative.
- CBC News is reporting that some of B.C.’s orcas have less food this year because their favourite meal, chinook salmon, is scarce. This news is disturbing, especially when you consider our victory from earlier this year: the federal government is required by law to protect the habitat and food supply of B.C’s killer whales. That victory will also help more than 90 other endangered and threatened marine species, which just like you and I, require a healthy habitat to survive. You know we’ll be monitoring this situation.
- Did you know that bees “pollinate crops that produce one-third of the human food supply?” That’s why it’s disturbing to learn that they may go extinct. Margaret Munro of the Vancouver Sun investigates why in To bee or not to bee: endangered species vanishing without explanation. Climate change, pesticides, habitat loss and pathogens may be to blame, but there’s no smoking gun.
- Turtle lover Jode Roberts, who works for the David Suzuki Foundation, wants to protect endangered species. To do that DSF is vying for a share of $100,000 in the Call of the Wild contest. Jamieson, a vitamin and natural products company, is donating $100,000 to wildlife and wilderness organizations. Visitors to the contest site can read about five organizations vying for the cash and then cast their vote. Each group will earn their share of the funds based on those votes. I know Jode so I cast my vote for DSF. Feel free to go your own way.