They included a £250m sale of leaseholds for commercially valuable forests
to timber companies, measures to allow communities, charities and even
local authorities to buy or lease woods and plans to transfer well-known
"heritage" woods such as the New Forest into the hands of charities.
Babbs, executive director, said: "Some people say signing petitions and
emailing MPs never changes anything, but it did this time.
is what people power looks like, and over half a million of us are
feeling very proud of what we've achieved together today.
keep watching David Cameron to make sure he keeps his word. But right
now it looks like fantastic news for all of us who want to keep our
forests safe in public hands for future generations."
The Woodland Trust welcomed the U-turn but warned the campaign to protect and restore England's ancient forests must go on.
Holden, chief executive of the trust, said: "While we welcome the
removal of threats to public access, there is still an acute need for
better protection of ancient woodland, our equivalent of the
rainforests, and restoration of ancient woods planted with conifers.
have made strong commitments over the past few weeks to increase
protection for ancient woods, and we will be holding them to these
"We must not let public passion and support for our
woods and forests die down and now that ownership is no longer an issue,
we must not lose sight of the need to increase protection for ancient
forests and restore those planted with conifers, a once in a lifetime
opportunity for woodland conservation."
In February 2010, filmmaker Damien Gillis captured the gravel mining operations on the Fraser River with a team of expert biologists and local conservationists. Now, at the 11th hour, this year's planned mining projects have been unexpectedly cancelled. The rationale given by DFO is logistical complications and low market prices for gravel, only confirming critics' position that this program is not about reducing flood risks - and all about money. Watch this video to see what these huge mining operations really look like - and why the ecologically damaging program should be scrapped altogether. Be sure to check out this new report from common sense contributor Otto Langer on the subject as well.
Canada’s two major railroad companies have begun making regular
shipments of oil, in a move that changes how Canadian crude moves to
market – and opens the door to new destinations for energy exports,
Although pipelines continue to carry the overwhelming majority of Canada’s oil production, both Canadian National Railway Co. (CNR-T70.721.582.29%) and Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. (CP-T67.470.470.70%) have begun using their rail networks to deliver crude, moving past technological tests into actual commercial service.
The idea of a “pipeline on rails” has been quietly pursued by both CN
and CP in recent years. The railways believe their tracks can divert
oil to the best possible markets at any given time, freeing energy
producers from the constraints of pipelines, which are built to last for
decades and as a result cannot quickly be changed to accommodate market
The idea has gained speed in the past year, as oil prices
soaring toward $100 (U.S.) a barrel prompt a spike in crude output,
creating new volumes that railroads, which don’t have to wait years to
build new capacity, can spike. And the ability to transport oil by rail
is now building a competitive threat to Canada’s pipeline companies,
which have long been the dominant carriers of crude but are working to
expand into markets – such as Asia and the Gulf Coast – that are already
well-served by rail lines. Rail could, analysts say, prove a viable
alternative to major new projects such as Enbridge Inc.’s $5.5-billion
Northern Gateway, which would deliver Alberta crude to the B.C. West
Though rail deliveries remain modest for now, the ability
to deliver crude by track promises to transform the way oil moves inside
this continent, and how it reaches untapped customers.
unparalleled market reach and flexibility, we feel, gives shippers,
buyers … and refineries new options to explore and new ways to reach
different markets,” James Cairns, vice-president of petroleum and
chemicals with CN, told an Insight Information conference in Calgary
The company has begun sending oil sands bitumen to
California; heavy oil from Cold Lake, Alta., to Chicago and Detroit; and
crude from the Bakken, a fast-growing play in southern Saskatchewan, to
the U.S. Gulf Coast. Though rail does not have the same reach into
production fields as pipe – indeed, rail cars are typically loaded and
unloaded by truck, which is costly – CN boasts that its tracks lie
within 80 kilometres of five million barrels a day of refining capacity,
which is more than double Canada’s entire U.S. exports.
the Bakken trade alone is now filling 250 to 300 rail cars a month;
altogether, the company is moving roughly a unit train worth of crude
per week. A unit train typically consists of 80 to 150 cars; each car
can hold 550 barrels. That means CN is carrying, at most, just over
10,000 barrels per day, far less than the two-million barrels that
pipeline company Enbridge Inc. hauls every day.
And both Enbridge
and rival TransCanada Corp. are aggressively pursuing those areas that
rail is now tapping. TransCanada, for example, recently signed
commitments for 65,000 barrels per day of crude shipments out of the
U.S. Bakken play. Enbridge is also spending heavily to build into the
Bakken, whose lack of pipeline capacity has opened a window for the
railroads. If the pipeline companies are successful, the Bakken rail
exports could be temporary.
Re: Alaska's salmon ranching vs. B.C.'s salmon farms, Letters, Feb. 9
Aquaculture industry advocate Vivian Krause and BC Salmon Farmers
association executive director Mary Ellen Walling can't seem to agree on
whether governments subsidize their industry.
Krause says they do, citing $4.6 million granted by the federal government in 2009-10. Walling adamantly says they don't.
denial is curious as she is quoted publicly in at least one source
(Courier Islander, July 17, 2009) defending federal financial support
for her industry.
Krause's claim is equally dubious. It includes
money from only one source: Fisheries and Oceans Canada. That is just
the tip of the funding iceberg.
A recent academic text, (The
Aquaculture Controversy in Canada, UBC Press, 2010), refers to "the
striking array of direct and indirect subsidies to the aquaculture
industry from Canadian governments."
It identifies several sources
-like Farm Credit Canada and the Western Economic Diversification Fund
-and estimates annual funding for aquaculture from the federal
government at around $50 million.
Provincial subsidies also are
generous, providing millions of dollars in additional support for
upgrades of equipment, production increases and business promotion.
support for industrial development can be a good thing, but in the case
of aquaculture, it should be spent advancing more sustainable uses of
our public resources, like closed containment.
Other assertions by
Krause and Walling -about numbers of jobs created, industry regulation
and salmon biology -are equally suspect.
Aquatic Habitat Specialist, David Suzuki Foundation
Japan has temporarily suspended its annual Antarctic whaling after
repeated harassment by a conservationist group, a government official
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society ships have been chasing the
Japanese whaling fleet for weeks in the icy seas off Antarctica, trying
to block Japan's annual whale hunt, planned for up to 945 whales.
Japan has halted the hunt since Feb. 10 after persistent "violent"
disruptions by the anti-whaling protesters, said fisheries agency
official Tatsuya Nakaoku.
So far, the attacks have not caused any injuries or major damage to
the vessels, he said, but the protesters are throwing rancid butter in
bottles and once the protesters got a rope entangled in the propeller on
a harpoon vessel, causing it to slow down.
"We have temporarily suspended our research whaling to ensure
safety," he said. The fleet plans to resume hunting when conditions are
deemed safe, he added, but declined to say how long the suspension is
The whale hunts, which Japan says are for scientific purposes, are
allowed by the International Whaling Commission as an exception to the
1986 ban, but opponents say they are a cover for commercial whaling
because whale meat not used for study is sold for consumption in Japan.
The Sea Shepherd group has been shadowing Japan's whaling fleet for
several years, and its campaign has drawn high-profile donor support in
the United States and elsewhere and spawned the popular Animal Planet
series Whale Wars.
Japan's fisheries agency has called Sea Shepherd a terrorist group for its militant actions.
Grant Pereira, an advisory board member for the group, welcomed the
halt, saying Japan "should have suspended (the hunts) 10, 15 years ago,"
he said. "It's morally and legally wrong to kill whales."
When local filmmaker Damien Gillis took his equipment up to B.C.’s north
and central coast and got to witness firsthand the humpback whales
swimming freely, he almost got a lump in his throat. And that’s hard to
do to the burly 31-year-old who looks like a rugby forward and has a
baritone voice made for broadcasting.
“I love this province, and my primary function is to serve, through my
media work, to highlight issues that I see as being the biggest threats
to the environment and public interest in B.C.,” Gillis told the Georgia Straight by phone on February 10. “Along with [long-time radio broadcaster] Rafe Mair, through our new organization [Common Sense Canadian], we are touring the province and really talking about rivers, salmon, and oil tankers and oil pipelines.”
It is the last two on that list that make up the subject matter for
Gillis’s thought-provoking 17-minute documentary short entitled “Oil in
Eden: The Battle to Protect Canada’s Pacific Coast”, which will screen this Sunday (February 13) at the World Community Film Festival at Langara College.
The film details the issues involved in building the proposed Enbridge
Northern Gateway Pipelines from Alberta’s tar sands to Kitimat, B.C.,
where oil supertankers would load and ply coastal waters off the
province’s Great bear Rainforest for the first time. For people who
can’t make it to the WCFF screening, “Oil in Eden” will screen at the Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival on Wednesday (February 16) at North Vancouver’s Centennial Theatre
(2300 Lonsdale Avenue). A discussion will follow, with speakers from
pipeline opponents at Pacific Wild, Sierra Club B.C., the Gitga’at First
Nations, and others. (Tickets are $18 in advance or $20 at the door.)
Through his strong narration, Gillis explains in the movie that the area
he visited is home to orca, humpback whales, wild salmon, wolves,
grizzlies, and “the legendary spirit bear”, which is found only in that
The EPA has proposed examining every aspect of hydraulic fracturing,
from water withdrawals to waste disposal, according to a draft plan the
agency released Tuesday. If the study goes forward as planned, it would
be the most comprehensive investigation of whether the drilling
technique risks polluting drinking water near oil and gas wells across
The agency wants to look at the potential impacts on
drinking water of each stage involved in hydraulic fracturing, where
drillers mix water with chemicals and sand and inject the fluid into
wells to release oil or natural gas. In addition to examining the actual
injection, the study would look at withdrawals, the mixing of the
chemicals, and wastewater management and disposal. The agency, under a
mandate from Congress, will only look at the impact of these practices
on drinking water.
The agency’s scientific advisory board
will review the draft plan on March 7-8 and will allow for public
comments then. The EPA will consider any recommendations from the board
and then begin the study promptly, it said in a news release. A preliminary report should be ready by the end of next year, the release said, with a full report expected in 2014.
A statement from the oil and gas industry group Energy in Depth gave a lukewarm assessment of the draft.
guys are and will continue to be supportive of a study approach that’s
based on the science, true to its original intent and scope,” the
statement read. “But at first blush, this document doesn’t appear to
definitively say whether it’s an approach EPA will ultimately take.”
The study, announced in March, comes amid rising public concern about the safety of fracking, as ProPublica has been reporting for years. While it remains unclear whether the actual fracturing process has contaminated drinking water, there have been more than 1,000 reports around the country of contamination related to drilling, as we reported in 2008. In September 2010, the EPA warned residents of a Wyoming town
not to drink their well water and to use fans while showering to avoid
the risk of explosion. Investigators found methane and other chemicals
associated with drilling in the water, but they had not determined the
cause of the contamination.
Drillers have been fracking wells for
decades, but with the rise of horizontal drilling into unconventional
formations like shale, they are injecting far more water and chemicals
underground than ever before. The EPA proposal notes that 603 rigs were
drilling horizontal wells in June 2010, more than twice as many as were
operating a year earlier. Horizontal wells can require millions of
gallons of water per well, a much greater volume than in conventional
(Reuters) - A
court in Ecuador's Amazon told Chevron Corp on Monday to pay more than
$8 billion in environmental damages, the plaintiffs' lawyer said, but
the U.S. oil giant will fight on in a suit seen as a global test case.
Chevron vowed to appeal,
meaning the long-running case -- which dates from drilling in the Andean
nation during the 1970s and 1980s and has spawned accusations of dirty
tricks and bribery -- could drag on for years more.
portray the case as a fight for justice against rich polluters but
Chevron says it is more to do with opportunism and greedy trial lawyers.
It has triggered related legal action in U.S. courts and international
"In many moments of
this long, difficult and costly battle, it appeared impossible to make
the dream a reality ... apparently this story is beginning to change,"
Pablo Fajardo, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, said in an emailed
"First, (the judge) has
found that Chevron is responsible and guilty for the existing
environmental damage in the Amazon. Second, it has ordered Chevron to
pay the sum of more than $8 billion to repair the environmental damage."
Chevron, however, has no assets in Ecuador, plans to appeal, and believes it is unlikely ever to pay.
shares traded 1.3 percent higher to close at $96.95 on Monday as
investors shrugged off news of the court ruling. The stock had been
lifted by gains in crude oil, and analysts said a final verdict in the
court case was likely years away.
plaintiffs, who originally demanded $27 billion in the lawsuit, had
said they would try to grab Chevron assets around the world once armed
with a favorable judgment from the Lago Agrio court.
Innergex Renewable Energy Inc. (TSX:INE) ("Innergex" or
the "Corporation") announces that it has entered into a definitive
agreement (the "Agreement") with the shareholders of Cloudworks Energy
Inc. ("Cloudworks") to acquire all of the issued and outstanding shares
of Cloudworks (the "Acquisition"). Pursuant to the Agreement, and
subject to certain adjustments, Cloudworks will be purchased for an
aggregate consideration of $185 million (the "Purchase Price"),
approximately $ 145.7 million of which will be payable in cash (the
"Cash Consideration") and approximately $39.3 million of which will be
payable by the issuance, by way of private placement, of common shares
of the Corporation. In addition to the Purchase Price, the vendors will
be entitled to receive conditional deferred payments. The conditional
deferred payments provide for a potential sharing of the value created
if the Cloudworks assets perform better than expected and would result
in incremental accretion to Innergex, net of these payments.
Headquartered in Vancouver, British Columbia and founded in
2000, Cloudworks currently employs 30 people. Cloudworks' portfolio of
assets consists of an interest of 50.01% in six run-of-river
hydroelectric facilities having a combined gross installed capacity of
150 MW (the "Harrison Operating Facilities"); full ownership of 76 MW of
run-of-river hydroelectric projects under development with 40-year
power purchase agreements ("PPAs") (the "Cloudworks Development
Projects"); and full ownership of run-of-river hydroelectric projects in
various stages of development having a potential aggregate installed
capacity of over 800 MW (the "Cloudworks Prospective Projects").
(Reuters) - The
city of Buffalo banned the natural gas drilling technique of hydraulic
fracturing on Tuesday in a largely symbolic vote that fuels debate over
the potential harm to ground water from mining an abundant energy
The city council voted 9-0 to
prohibit natural gas extraction including the process known as
"fracking" in which chemicals, sand and water are blasted deep into the
earth to fracture shale formations and allow gas to escape.
The ordinance also bans storing, transferring, treating or disposing fracking waste within the city.
such drilling projects had been planned in Buffalo, though city
officials were concerned that fracking waste water from nearby
operations was reaching the city sewer system.
of the measure hope it will help build pressure against fracking, which
environmentalists claim endangers ground water from leaking chemicals.
Pittsburgh, Penn., has enacted a similar ban.
supporters say fracking is proven safe and natural gas from sources can
provide a much-needed domestic energy source. For an index of shale gas
companies, double-click on.
Marcellus Shale formation underlies much of Pennsylvania and parts of
surrounding states including western New York. Geologists estimate it
could supply U.S. natural gas demand for 20 years or more.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is studying the impact of
fracking and on Tuesday submitted a draft of its study to the agency's
Science Advisory Board for review.
Initial Findings from the study are expected to be made public by the end of 2012.