Read this update from CBC.ca, reporting that Suncor neglected to alert the City of Port Moody or local First Nations about a biodiesel spill at their facility for five days. (April 11, 2013)
Five days after a spill at its facility in Port Moody, B.C., Suncor is talking publicly about the leak which reached Metro Vancouver's Burrard Inlet.
Company spokesperson Sneh Seetal says about 225 barrels of a soybean-based biodegradable biodiesel blending agent leaked from a storage tank on Saturday.
The company immediately activated its response plan, blocking storm sewers, setting up booms and reporting the spill to the federal and provincial environment ministries.
Most the spill was captured in a trench, but about two litres spilled into the Burrard Inlet.
The public was not notified, and the incident only came to light after local media reported it.
Seetal says she understands the lack of public notification may have raised concerns.
"When the public is worried and concerned, we are as well, and that's why we'll do a thorough investigation, we'll look at the processes we have in place and we'll make any changes if appropriate."
Seetal said the company did everything required of it after the spill, including reporting to the federal and provincial governments.
"We're absolutely taking this situation seriously," she said.
The company is working with the Western Canada Marine Response Corporation to complete the clean-up, Seetal said.
Seetal said the company is also conducting its own internal investigation to make sure such a spill doesn't happen again.
Inlet users concerned about process
News of the spill concerned the Burrard Inlet's Tsleil-Waututh First Nation, which used the accident to call for a moratorium on new pipelines.
"This incident reveals that the government's response plans are inadequate if they cannot, or will not, communicate with First Nations or local government's after the spill," said Carleen Thomas, the ambassador of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation Sacred Trust Initiative.
The spill happened Saturday night, but the First Nation wasn't told of the spill until Tuesday, and the media wasn't alerted until Thursday.
Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/story/2013/04/11/bc-suncor-spill-port-moody.html
Read this story from MacLean's on the Supreme Court of Canada's refusal to hear a case brought by the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation to halt Shell's planned Jackpine Tar Sands project. (April 12, 2013)
OTTAWA – The Supreme Court of Canada has refused to hear the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation’s bid to block a ruling on Shell’s Jackpine oilsands mine expansion in northern Alberta.
Legal advisers for the band said Thursday its options to force the company to take its concerns into account aren’t over.
The First Nation wanted a regulatory board to rule on whether the band had been adequately consulted before the board decided if the Shell (NYSE:RDS) project could go ahead.
The board said governments should determine how much consultation is adequate. The Alberta Court of Appeal agreed and the high court has refused to hear an appeal of that decision.
“We are truly disappointed with this decision as we have diligently proceeded through legal avenues to have our rights upheld,” Athabasca Chipewyan Chief Allan Adam said in a statement.
“We understand that this joint review panel was supposed to uphold everyone’s constitutional rights. Why has there been an exception with regards to First Nations’ consultation rights? Government must be held accountable to their treaty obligations.”
The First Nation also says the decision means the board will make a Jackpine decision without anyone considering whether the band’s right to adequate consultation has been fulfilled.
It hinted it may mount another bid to block the ruling.
“We do not know the reasons why the Supreme Court did not grant (Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation) a hearing. It is clear that we will not find access to justice within Alberta,” Adam said.
“We will have to decide if we move ahead with different legal strategies to uphold our rights.”
Band lawyer Eamon Murphy said from Vancouver that the First Nation still has legal options.
Once the review panel issues its recommendation, permits for specific aspects of the project must still be issued by federal and provincial authorities. Murphy said the band is considering legal challenges at those levels.
“On those approvals, we would have to look at them and see if there’s any possibility of reviewing those in court,” he said. “It becomes more difficult, frankly.”
The issue of aboriginal consultation is heating up in Alberta.
Read more: http://www2.macleans.ca/2013/04/11/supreme-court-refuses-to-hear-appeal-over-jackpine-oilsands-expansion-in-alberta/#.UWdZBtJh8i4.email
Read this story from The Vancouver Sun on the recent announcement by NDP leader Adrian Dix that his party will raise taxes, including expanding the carbon tax and removing its "revenue-neutral" status - opening up the ability to divert proceeds to green initiatives. (April 12, 2013)
VICTORIA — The New Democratic Party will fund its spending promises for the May 14 election with measures including higher taxes on businesses and the wealthy, reintroducing a tax on banks and credit unions, and expanding the province’s carbon tax.
The proposals will go toward generating an extra $2 billion over three years, said Bruce Ralston, the party’s long-standing finance critic and co-chair of its platform committee.
Most of the proposed tax increases announced Thursday come as no surprise, as they have long been telegraphed by party leader Adrian Dix.
Those include: increasing the corporate income tax rate to 12 per cent from 11 per cent; reinstating a corporation capital tax on financial institutions; and increasing personal income taxes to 19 per cent for those making more than $150,000 a year.
Under the plan, someone making $350,000 annually would pay an extra $4,400 in personal income taxes each year, the New Democrats said Thursday.
Banks would pay a three-per-cent tax each year on net paid-up capital under the plan, while credit unions would pay one per cent.
B.C.’s rates would be the lowest of the seven provinces with such financial-institution taxes, the NDP said. But Central 1 Credit Union chief economist Helmut Pastrick said the move would make B.C. the only province charging such a tax on credit unions.
Ralston said Thursday’s plan is achievable. “It’s realistic and it doesn’t set false expectations about expenditure reduction that couldn’t be achieved without dramatic cuts in public services.”
An NDP government would not expect to table a balanced budget until 2016, he said.
The party will begin unveiling its platform spending promises next week, once the campaign has officially begun.
Thursday’s announcement included a new promise to broaden the carbon tax, which would be expanded to cover so-called venting emissions in the oil and gas sector, or those coming from the controlled release of waste gas during the production process.
Those emissions — along with chemical-process emissions and agriculture emissions — were not captured by the original carbon tax, but instead were supposed to be covered by a cap-and-trade system that never came to fruition.
Ralston said the new NDP plan would be phased in starting April 1, 2014.
He also said an NDP government will abandon the B.C. Liberal commitment to make the carbon tax revenue-neutral.
“We are leaving open the possibility that in future negotiations with the regions or municipalities — but particularly regional governments — there might be an opportunity to use revenue for other initiatives such as transportation or other green initiatives that would reduce emissions,” he said.
Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/news/bc-election/announces+expansion+carbon+lays+fiscal+plan/8227487/story.html
Read this story from The New York Times on the latest mishap at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant, which has remained in precarious condition, continuing to emit radioactive waste, ever since it was destroyed by an earthquake and tsunami over 2 years ago. (April 10, 2013)
TOKYO — More than two years after multiple meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, a series of recent mishaps — including a blackout set off by a dead rat and the discovery of leaks of thousands of gallons of radioactive water — have underscored just how vulnerable the plant remains.
Increasingly, experts are arguing that the plant’s operator, the Tokyo Electric Power Company, or Tepco, cannot be trusted to lead what is expected to be decades of cleanup and the decommissioning of the plant’s reactors without putting the public, and the environment, at risk.
At the same time, the country’s new nuclear regulator remains woefully understaffed. It announced Wednesday that it would send a ninth official to the site — to monitor the work of about 3,000 laborers.
“The Fukushima Daiichi plant remains in an unstable condition, and there is concern that we cannot prevent another accident,” Shunichi Tanaka, chairman of the Nuclear Regulation Authority, said at a news conference. “We have instructed Tepco to work on reducing some of the biggest risks, and we as regulators will step up monitoring.”
The biggest scare at the plant in recent days has been the discovery that at least three of seven underground storage pools are seeping thousands of gallons of radioactive water into the soil. On Wednesday, Tepco acknowledged that the lack of adequate storage space for contaminated water had become a “crisis,” and said it would begin emptying the pools. But the company said that the leaks will continue over the several weeks that it will likely take to transfer the water to other containers.
Plant workers dug these underground ponds about six months ago to store the ever-growing amount of contaminated water at the plant. There is about 400 tons daily from two sources: runoff from a makeshift cooling system rigged together after the site’s regular cooling equipment was knocked out by the earthquake and tsunami in March 2011, and a steady stream of groundwater seeping into damaged reactors.
Tepco stores more than a quarter-million tons of radioactive water at the site and says the amount could double within three years.
But as outside experts have discovered with horror, the company had lined the pits for the underground pools with only two layers of plastic each 1.5 millimeters thick, and a third, clay-based layer just 6.5 millimeters thick. And because the pools require many sheets hemmed together, leaks could be springing at the seams, Tepco has said.
“No wonder the water is leaking,” said Hideo Komine, a professor in civil engineering at Ibaraki University, just south of Fukushima. He said that the outer protective lining should have been hundreds of times thicker.
Tepco’s president, Naomi Hirose, traveled to Fukushima on Wednesday to apologize for the leaks, which he said had caused further distress to local residents. About 160,000 fled their homes in the wake of the disaster, and large areas around the plant remain off-limits.
Mr. Hirose said that Tepco would stop using the underground pits, and would pump the water out into more aboveground tanks. But Tepco says it is likely to take until at least the end of May to empty the pools. Mr. Hirose said that he did not think any water would reach the Pacific Ocean, because the pools lie at least half a mile inland.
“We’re going to get the water out of these underground pits and into tanks as soon as we can,” he said. “We’re aware that this is a crisis that we must attend to with urgency.”
But Muneo Morokuzu, a nuclear safety expert at the Tokyo University Graduate School of Public Policy, said that the plant required a more permanent solution that would reduce the flood of contaminated water into the plant in the first place, and that Tepco was simply unable to manage the situation. “It’s become obvious that Tepco is not at all capable of leading the cleanup,” he said. “It just doesn’t have the expertise, and because Fukushima Daiichi is never going to generate electricity again, every yen it spends on the decommissioning is thrown away.”
“That creates an incentive to cut corners, which is very dangerous,” he said. “The government needs to step in, take charge and assemble experts and technology from around the world to handle the decommissioning instead.”
Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/11/world/asia/fukushima-nuclear-plant-is-still-unstable-japanese-official-says.html?pagewanted=all&_r=3&%20http://vancouver.mediacoop.ca/newsrelease/17034&
Check out this blog from Greenpeace, providing some post-speech analysis from Alberta Premier Alison Redford's recent lobbying in Washington for the controversial Keystone XL pipeline proposal. (April 10, 2013)
Yesterday Alberta Premier Alison Redford was in Washington to lobby for the controversial Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. While in Washington, she gave a speech at the Brookings Institute. We decided to fact check some of her comments. Here’s the Premier's top 10 lies, mistruths and deceptions.
“The truth is that Alberta is home to some of the most environmentally friendly, progressive legislation in the world.”
Alberta has been widely criticized for their wide lack of environmental protection. Corporate Knights, ranked Alberta dead last in it’s recent provincial environmental stewardship report card.
The David Suzuki Foundation also ranked Alberta last when it comes to climate policy.
Finally having legislation is good but if you don’t enforce it, it doesn’t matter much (like with respect to toxic tailings ponds). Adding insult to injury, the guy the Alberta government just put in charge of environmental enforcement is Gerry Protti, founding President of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (conflict of interest much?).
“Since 1990, Alberta’s energy industry has reduced greenhouse gas emissions per barrel of oil produced by an average of 29 percent. Some facilities have achieved reductions as high as 50 percent.”
While the above statement is almost true (latest figure is 26% between 1990 and 2010) what the Premier knows and didn’t tell her U.S. audience is that overall emissions in Alberta have sky rocketed and will increase by over 500% from 1990 – 2020. Furthermore, while the tar sands industry did reduce its overall greenhouse gas intensity by 29 per cent from 1990 to 2009, more recently the trend for intensity reductions plateaued and then reversed. Between 2009 and 2010, the emissions intensity of the tar sands rose two per cent and this trend is likely to continue (See page 5 & Figure 3 of this report).
“We are bringing all our emissions down as far as possible.”
The Alberta government admits that it isn’t even meeting it’s own emission reduction target, a target which is well below scientifically based international standards. In fact Alberta is not even close to meeting it.
The target is 50 MT reduction per year below business as usual (BAU) by 2020.
Over the past 6-years Alberta has reduced emissions by an average of 5 megatonnes (MT) per year below BAU. By 2020, annual reductions are expected to be 14 MT per year below BAU.
Right now Alberta has a 45 MT gap per year below BAU, by 2020 they will still have a 36 MT gap from THEIR OWN TARGET.
In addition to not meeting their own target overall emissions in Alberta are expected just to go up. The tar sands are the largest and fastest growing source of emissions in Canada. As Alberta adds more and more projects, overall emissions from the tar sands are projected to double between 2010 and 2020.
If Alberta were a country, its per capita greenhouse gas emissions would be higher than any other country in the world.
“We are also pushing ahead with plans to capture and store as much of our carbon as possible.”
Alberta’s carbon capture and storage (CCS) plans have been a major boondoggle as project after project has been cancelled.
Three companies (TransAlta Corp., Enbridge Inc. and Capital Power Corp.) cancelled their $1.4-billion CCS efforts in April 2012.
The Alberta government also cancelled its $285-million funding of the CCS project associated with the proposed Swan Hills Synfuels LP synthetic gas plant north of Edmonton in February of this year.
CCS is more of a pipe dream then a reality and the fact that the Alberta still trumpets it shows just how weak the Province is on the climate front.
“We’ve put a price on carbon. Who else in North America has done that?”
BC has put a price on carbon (a much larger one that Alberta). Quebec has put a price on carbon. California and the U.S. Northeast have done it as well.
Yes Alberta put a price on carbon, and they were the first in North America, but Alberta’s carbon tax has so many holes you can build a tar sands industry through it.
First, the true test of a carbon tax is does it actually help to reduce emissions. In Alberta emissions have gone only up and are expected to more than double over the next decade.
Second, Alberta’s tax isn’t on all emissions (in contrast, BC’s carbon tax covers all emissions from fuel combustion) but instead is only on emissions intensity above a certain level. The average cost (per tonne) to companies to meet emissions targets in Alberta equates not to $15 but a paltry $1.80. That’s a long way from BC’s $30 per tonne on all emissions.
Even Alberta’s new 40/40 proposal would only net an average cost (per tonne) to companies to meet emissions targets of $16, still well below BC and far less than countries like Norway.
Read more: http://www.greenpeace.org/canada/en/Blog/fact-checking-premier-redfords-speech-in-wash/blog/44695/
Read this editorial from The Globe and Mail on the Harper Government's recent changes to the public commenting process for proposed pipeline projects, making it much more difficult for concerned citizens to register their comments with the National Energy Board. (April 10, 2013)
Environmental hearings for new or altered pipelines have always been messy affairs – until now. The Conservative government has created a new rule requiring those who simply wish to write letters to the National Energy Board to obtain the board’s approval in advance. Letter-writers have the right to write their letter if they can establish that they are directly affected by the pipeline in question. If they don’t have a direct interest, but have specialized knowledge, the board may agree to hear from them.
We understand the need to streamline environmental hearings, but it’s hard to accept that members of the general public who feel they have something to say need to prove their bona fides before sending in a letter. The board is being asked to use its time to read 10-page application forms full of detailed information, which may include curriculum vitae and references. This seems less like streamlining than a form of silencing.
And why the rush? Enbridge has applied to the National Energy Board to make changes to a 639-kilometre segment of its Line 9 pipeline through the most populous part of Canada, from southwestern Ontario through Toronto to Montreal. The application form for letter-writers and potential intervenors (who were, quite properly, screened in the past) became available on April 5, and the deadline for getting the applications in is April 19. Given the stakes, and the 15 months being allotted to the hearings, two weeks isn’t much time.
Several municipalities along the route have indicated they have environmental concerns about Enbridge’s proposed expansion of capacity, addition of heavy crude, and reversal of the pipe’s flow. Individual members of the general public may not have the technical knowledge that the experts have. They may repeat one another. But the purpose of the NEB, an independent federal agency, is to regulate pipelines and energy development in the public interest. A public-interest body that hears only from experts and the directly affected may lack some of the context for assessing the public interest. The CRTC, for one, is happy to receive letters from all Canadians.
Read more: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/commentary/editorials/oil-pipelines-and-the-messy-democratic-process/article10959307/?cmpid=rss1
Listen to this informative program from CBC's The Current on pipeline politics and Alberta Premier Alison Redford's fourth trip to Washington, DC to lobby for the Keystone XL pipeline, which would run from Alberta to refineries on the US Gulf Coast. (April 8, 2013)
Featuring Nathan Vanderklippe of The Globe and Mail, Clare Demerse of the Pembina Institute and Michal Moore of the University of Calgary's School of Public Policy.
Read this story from Metro News on the Harper Government's much ballyhooed witch hunt for environmental charities, allegedly "laundering" foreign money for their "radical" campaigns in Canada. One year and $5 million later, the team investigating charities has come up with just one bad egg. (March 30, 2013)
An $8-million pot of money included in last year’s federal budget to crack down on charities suspected of engaging in “excessive” political activities has so far resulted in only one having its charitable status revoked, out of nearly 900 that were audited.
Under the Canadian tax code, registered charities are permitted to devote a maximum of 10 per cent of their total resources to non-partisan political activities, defined as any type of call to political action.
The agency has already spent $5 million to educate charities and increase transparency and compliance around those limitations, and expects to spend the remaining $3 million in the coming year.
Environmental charities were widely reported to be the primary target of ramped up compliance measures after Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver said environmental and other “radical groups” were trying to undermine the national economy by blocking pipeline and other fossil fuel projects.
But Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) spokesman Philippe Brideau said after roughly 880 audits in the last year, the only charity whose status was revoked for exceeding limits on political activity was Physicians for Global Survival, a group dedicated to the promotion of nuclear disarmament.
A CRA audit found the organization was using 26 per cent of its resources for political activities, including a letter-writing campaign urging Prime Minister Stephen Harper, party leaders and MPs to support an international treaty banning nuclear weapons.
Several high-profile B.C.-based charities, including the David Suzuki Foundation and ForestEthics, told Metro the CRA’s attention actually inspired them to become more politically active, because they realized they were not spending anywhere near the 10 per cent threshold.
ForestEthics split into two organizations after the March 2012 budget announcement, with a non-charitable branch dedicated solely to advocacy, while David Suzuki stepped down from the board of his own foundation so that he could publically denounce Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s policies.
“It wasn’t because there was any feeling like we were over that 10 per cent, I think it was actually that we wanted to do more than 10 per cent,” said Ben West, tar sands campaign director for the now one-year-old non-profit, ForestEthics Advocacy.
Read more: http://metronews.ca/news/vancouver/613999/one-year-and-5-million-later-harpers-charity-crackdown-nets-just-one-bad-egg/
Read this column from TheTyee.ca on the effects of neoliberal ideology on public policy in BC. (April 3, 2013)
British Columbia's New Democrats will form government this spring if recent polling sticks. The May election is arriving amidst a crisis of the philosophy and policy-paradigm that has guided governance worldwide for the past 40 years: neoliberalism. Understanding neoliberalism's legacy, appeal, and current transformation -- both globally and in British Columbia -- can facilitate successful social democratic governance starting in May. Renewed social democracy in B.C. can yield ecological and social benefit in this region, but also serve as a model for other jurisdictions seeking alternatives to neoliberal orthodoxy. Political openings for progressives are afoot.
Neoliberalism in BC
Neoliberalism names ongoing efforts to reduce the state's social and environmental welfare role while expanding its function as a facilitator of profit accumulation. Classic neoliberal policies include deregulation, privatization, generalized tax cuts, the reduction of social spending, and trade liberalization. These policies unevenly benefit the economic elite, and have facilitated growing concentrations of wealth since becoming widespread in the 1980s.
One of Gordon Campbell's first acts of government in 2001 was a 25 per cent income tax cut for all British Columbians. Someone earning $20,000 per year saved a mere $236, while someone earning $80,000 pocketed a generous $1,947. Generalized tax cuts unevenly benefit upper-bracket earners. Moreover the $1.5 billion in lost yearly revenue has been primarily borne by middle and low-income earners who relied more on the government services that Campbell's Liberals cut to make up the shortfall (See Will McMartin's contributions to the book the Tyee published in 2005, Liberalized, and his various Tyee columns like this one.)
According to TD Economics, B.C. is now marked by the highest levels of income inequality in Canada and ranks first in terms of individuals living on low income. The BC Liberals are tops at base superlatives: Eleven years of (Neo)Liberal rule has made British Columbia "The Best Place on Earth" for the already prosperous.
Read more: http://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2013/04/03/BC-Neoliberalism/?utm_source=daily&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=030413
Read this story from the Climate Desk on gases escaping from fracking operations, costing the US gas industry an estimated $1.5 billion a year, while adding to climate change. (April 5, 2013)
Of all the many and varied consequences of fracking (water contamination, injured workers, earthquakes, the list goes on) one of the least understood is so-called “fugitive” methane emissions. Methane is the primary ingredient of natural gas, and it escapes into the atmosphere at every stage of production: at wells, in processing plants, and in pipes on its way to your house. According to a new study, it could become one of the worst climate impacts of the fracking boom—and yet, it’s one of the easiest to tackle right away. Best of all, fixing the leaks is good for the bottom line.
According to the World Resources Institute, natural gas producers allow $1.5 billion worth of methane to escape from their operations every year. That might sound like small change to an industry that drilled up some $66.5 billion worth of natural gas in 2012 alone, but it’s a big deal for the climate: While methane only makes up 10 percent of greenhouse gas emissions (20 percent of which comes from cow farts), it packs a global warming punch 20 times stronger than carbon dioxide.
“Those leaks are everywhere,” said WRI analyst James Bradbury, so fixing them would be “super low-hanging fruit.”
The problem, he says, is that right now those emissions aren’t directly regulated by the EPA. In President Obama’s first term, the EPA set new requirements for capturing other types of pollutants that escape from fracked wells, using technology that also, incidentally, limits methane. But without a cap on methane itself, WRI finds, the potent gas is free to escape at incredible rates, principally from leaky pipelines. The scale of the problem is hard to overstate: The Energy Department found that leaking methane could ultimately make natural gas—which purports to be a “clean” fossil fuel—even more damaging than coal, and an earlier WRI study found that fixing methane leaks would be the single biggest step the US could take toward meeting its long-term greenhouse gas reduction goals.
What’s more, the solution to the problem doesn’t rely on some kind futuristic, expensive technology: It’s literally a matter of patching up leaky pipes.
Read more: http://climatedesk.org/2013/04/frackers-are-losing-1-5-billion-yearly-to-leaks/
Eco-Footprint Founder Dr. Bill Rees on Resources, the 7 Billion and You
With human population exploding and demand for resources fast outstripping supply, Dr. Bill Rees, founder of the "eco-footprint" concept, calls for "a new cultural narrative that shifts the values of society from growth (getting bigger) to development (getting better) - from competitive individualism, greed and narrow self-interest toward community, cooperation and our collective interests in repairing the earth for survival."
Five Oil Spills in One Week: 'Accidents' or Business as Usual?
What do ExxonMobil, Enbridge, Suncor, CP Rail and a Michigan Utility have in common? They've all spilled oil within the past week. This latest round of disasters should give Canadian and US lawmakers pause as they contemplate new pipelines.
All Candidates Dialogue Wednesday Promises "Real Talk on Climate Change"
An all candidates dialogue on April 3 at the Rio Theatre in Vancouver - featuring representatives from four different political parties and one independent candidate vying for office in the May 14 provincial election - will focus on solutions to climate change.
Anyone who has been following the sorry saga of inexplicable diseases and unusual mortality in BC's wild salmon will not be surprised that the information in Twyla Roscovich's documentary, Salmon Confidential, links the source of this trouble to the salmon farming industry. The surprise, however, is the impact of such information when its complexity is condensed to an intense 70 minutes.
Mother Nature, US Govt Chase Shell Out of Arctic
Shell Oil, the first energy company granted coveted Arctic drilling permits by the US Government, is shutting down operations for all of 2013, nearly as quickly as they began. Shell's hand is being forced by the Interior Department, following a scathing report which castigated the company for a series of misadventures in 2012 and early 2013.
Paul Simon Lends Song to Coastal First Nations' Anti-Tanker Video
A 2-minute video produced by Coastal First Nations - a group representing nine different aboriginal communities on BC's north and central coast - is underscored by the famous Simon and Garfunkel song, "The Sound of Silence." The video, which harkens back to the Exxon Valdez oil spill in nearby Alaskan waters, was released around the 24th anniversary of that disaster, in order to voice opposition to the new threat from proposed tanker traffic on BC's coast.
'Heartwood' Explores Clash Between Different Visions for Future of Forestry
"Cortes is not just a bunch of crazy tree-huggers...We want to log our lands. We want a community forest," one of the subjects of the forthcoming documentary film Heartwood tells Vancouver-based director Daniel Pierce. The film explores the conflict over logging practices on a remote island on BC's south coast, which encapsulates a larger debate currently shaping the future of forestry in the province.
Why the NDP Can and Should Say No to Site C Dam
The BC NDP may finally coming to their senses on Site C Dam. On the heels of the release of new documents from BC Hydro in recent weeks, the Official Opposition is calling into question the crown corporation's proposed 1,100 Megawatt hydropower project. And so it should...With BC Hydro in virtual bankruptcy, skyrocketing hydro bills for consumers and businesses, a massive and escalating provincial debt and $80 Billion in additional contractual obligations for which taxpayers are on the hook, pushing ahead with Site C would be the height of fiscal recklessness for BC.
Working Together Through Idle No More - Ben West, Mandy Nahanee, Damien Gillis Web Chat
Damien Gillis hosts a google web video chat discussing how indigenous and non-indigenous peoples can work together through the growing Idle No More movement to address historical injustices and build a sustainable energy future. Featuring Squamish and Nisga'a First Nations member and protocol specialist Amanda Nahanee and Ben West, Tar Sands campaigner for ForestEthics.
The Different Faces of Idle No More - Web Chat
Watch this 10 min web chat, in which two young, indigenous men discuss their different experiences across the country with the growing Idle No More Movement.
Idle No More - Scenes from a Vancouver Train Station
On January 2, 2013, hundreds of First Nations and non-indigenous people converged on Vancouver's Waterfront Station for the latest Idle No More rally. The beating of drums and singing of traditional songs signaled this crowd's solidarity with the movement that is building across the country and beyond its borders.
Travelling Canada's Carbon Corridor - the Making of Fractured Land
Watch this presentation by Damien Gillis, co-director of Fractured Land - a documentary in production which examines the industrialization of northern Canada through the eyes of a young indigenous man named Caleb Behn - at the Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival.
Kinder Morgan Vancouver Pipeline, Tanker Debate
On Oct 30, the Board of Change hosted a debate in Vancouver on American energy pipeline giant Kinder Morgan's plans to turn Vancouver into a shipping port to access new foreign markets with Alberta Tar Sands bitumen. Hear both sides of the story as representatives of Kinder Morgan and the shipping industry square off against an environmental activist, lawyer and filmmaker over the future of the world's "Greenest City", the province of BC and the planet.
Justice Cohen Gets Tough on Fish Farms - Inquiry Report Released
Video from the press conference on the release of the final report from the Cohen Commission into disappearing sockeye. Justice Bruce Cohen highlighted several key recommendations to protect wild salmon from open net pen aquaculture operations, including: removing the promotion of aquaculture from DFO's mandate, prioritizing the health of wild salmon over suitability for aquaculture when siting farms, and even removing some farms if more research into diseases shows they cannot safely coexist with wild fish.
Video: Pipelines "Job Killers" - Energy Workers Union Leader @ Defend Our Coast
Watch this powerhouse speech from Dave Coles, president of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union at the Defend Our Coast rally in Victoria explaining why his members are "diametrically opposed" to Tar Sands pipelines to BC's coast.
Video: Rafe Mair Honoured with Wilderness Committee's Eugene Rogers Award
The Wilderness Committee, Canada's largest member-based environmental organization, honoured hall of fame broadcaster and co-founder of The Common Sense Canadian Rafe Mair with its annual Eugene Rogers Award for outstanding contribution to environmental protection in BC at its AGM this past weekend.
Video: Rafe Mair and Economist Erik Andersen, Pt. 2 - LNG, Site C Dam and the Global Economy
In Part 2 of Rafe Mair's July 2012 interview of economist Erik Andersen, the two cover the plan to build Liquefied Natural Gas plants on BC's west coast - to sell natural gas to Asia - and the proposed Site C Dam. Andersen raises real concerns about investing in new dams and electrical infrastructure to supply industries like mines and LNG.
Video: Rafe Mair and Economist Erik Andersen, Pt. 1 - The 'Enronization' of BC Hydro
Part 1 of Rafe Mair's July 2012 interview with economist Andersen, delving deep into BC's troubled energy situation, including Hydro's broken forecasting model, rip-off private power projects, and massive debt and Enron-style accounting practices at our public utility - all driven by the shadowy private American corporation to which we've unwittingly handed over our energy sovereignty.