NEB urges tougher marine protection, monitoring for Trans Mountain


Canada’s energy regulator is calling for tougher marine monitoring and protection standards as part of its evaluation of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project. Handout photo supplied by Trans Mountain

Canada’s arms-length oil and gas industry regulator called for tougher marine monitoring and protections standards if the government wants to proceed with the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

The National Energy Board made the combination of demands and recommendations on Thursday as part of an ongoing hearing to reconsider the project, after the federal government’s initial approval was overturned by the Federal Court of Appeal in August.

. @NEBCanada sets out more marine protection tests for government’s Trans Mountain to pass, after court of appeal quashes approval last summer.

The recommendations appear to be a reversal of the NEB’s initial assessment of the project, later quashed by the court. In its August ruling, the court said that the NEB made a “critical error” when it decided not to include tanker traffic as part of its initial review. The court said that this is what sparked a chain reaction of “unacceptable deficiencies” that tainted the regulator’s final report, submitted to the Trudeau government in 2016. MORE

Canada won’t perform an environmental review of most new oilsands projects. Here’s why

The future of development in Alberta’s oilsands lies in underground, steam-assisted operations that represent some of the country’s fastest growing greenhouse gas emissions. These projects have never been subject to federal environmental reviews and that’s not expected to change with Ottawa’s new-and-improved assessment rules

Image result for Cenovus in-situ oilsands mining

Unlike the pronounced nature of open-pit mines, with the accompanying heavy haulers and seemingly endless horizons of tailings ponds, in-situ — meaning in ground or in place — operations have a much less visible footprint.

Cenovus has gone so far as to dub these operations — which require the injection of steam underground to heat viscous oil, allowing it to be pumped to surface — “a different oil sands.”

While they certainly do represent the future of the oilsands — in-situ projects have already outpaced mining production and are set to increase by one million barrels per day by 2030 — they also come with their own set of problems.

To have the country’s main environmental assessment law leave the highest-carbon projects off the list is just unacceptable

In-situ oilsands operations are incredibly greenhouse gas-intensive — requiring copious quantities of natural gas, often obtained from fracking, to produce the steam that’s injected underground. MORE

Ontario: Energy Price Alert!

On January 1st Ontario Power Generation (OPG) raised its price of nuclear power by 7% to 8.8 cents per kWh.

As a result, the price of nuclear power has doubled since 2002.

When will the promise be kept?To add insult to injury, OPG has told the Ontario Energy Board that it needs to increase its price of nuclear power by a further 88% between now and 2025 to pay for the re-building of its Darlington Nuclear Station. If this occurs, Premier Ford will not be able to keep his promise to lower our electricity costs by 12%.

Fortunately, the solution to our rising electricity rates lies just east of the Ottawa River. Quebec is the 4th largest producer of water power in the world and it has a large and rising supply of low-cost water power available for export to Ontario at a fraction of the cost of nuclear power. TAKE ACTION!

RELATED:

The Economic Viability of Nuclear Power Is Only Going Down

Vancouver City Councillor Pushes Vancouver to Declare Climate Emergency

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January 16th, 2019 (Vancouver/Musqueam, Squamish, Tsleil-waututh Territory) — The City of Vancouver joins cities around the globe like London, England and Los Angeles, California in declaring a Climate Emergency.

Councillor Christine Boyle with the political party OneCity Vancouver moved a resolution supported by a majority of Council for the City of Vancouver to declare a climate emergency, direct staff to take immediate action to ramp up ambition in the city’s climate action plans, and embed an equity framework to prioritize vulnerable communities within those plans.

Today, City Council recognized the need to dramatically strengthen our climate action plans, to match the urgency that scientists are reporting, and to ensure those closest to the impacts are being supported first. MORE

Wind power making gains as competitive source of electricity

Recent contracts awarded in Alberta and Saskatchewan will keep electricity prices low


The wind industry argues it can can compete with other forms of power generation, and a flurry of new contracts put out by several provinces seem to bear that out. (Doug Ives/Canadian Press)

It’s taken a decade of technological improvement and a new competitive bidding process for electrical generation contracts, but wind may have finally come into its own as one of the cheapest ways to create power.

Ten years ago, Ontario was developing new wind power projects at a cost of 28 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh), the kind of above-market rate that the U.K., Portugal and other countries were offering to try to kick-start development of renewables.

Alberta aims for 30% electricity from wind by 2030

Now some wind companies say they’ve brought generation costs down to between 2 and 4 cents — something that appeals to provinces that are looking to significantly increase their renewable energy. MORE

 

The Unist’ot’en stand-off: How Canada’s “prove-it” mentality undermines reconciliation

Wet'suwet'en Solidarity rally in Vancouver, Jan. 2019 (Photo: Eugene Kung)

…It is certainly true that, where an Indigenous nation brings a title claim in court, the court will expect that nation to prove its claim. The procedural double standard in this approach has been pointed out by observers such as Professor John Borrows, who rhetorically asks: “Why should the Aboriginal group bear the burden of reconciliation by proving its occupation of land? After all, the Crown is the subsequent claimant. Why should the Crown not have to prove its land claims?” Nonetheless it is obvious that Canadian courts accept Crown title based, as Professor Borrows puts it, on “bare words,” while expecting Indigenous nations to prove their claim to pre-existing Aboriginal title.

Aboriginal rights are inherent – not granted by Canadian law

What the RCMP statement does not address, however, and what is often overlooked in the “prove-it” approach, is that Aboriginal title and governance exist and apply in Canadian law now, even if the bounds of title lands have not been delineated in a court case.

Peter Grant, a lawyer for the Wet’suwet’en, summarized this well in his recent response to the RCMP’s media statement: “it’s not that title doesn’t exist pre-declaration, it’s that the government is refusing to recognize title before a court declaration.” MORE

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Historical lawsuit affirms Indigenous laws on par with Canada’s
Corporations don’t seem to understand Indigenous jurisdiction

The women fighting a pipeline that could destroy precious wildlife

Activists fight to stop construction of the Bayou Bridge pipeline, which endangers an ecosystem that is one of the most important bird habitats in the western hemisphere

Deep within the humid green heart of the largest river swamp in North America, a battle is being waged over the future of the most precious resource of all: water.

On one side of the conflict is a small band of rugged and ragtag activists led by Indigenous matriarchs. On the other side is the relentless machinery of the fossil fuel industry and all of its might. And at the center of the struggle is the Atchafalaya river, a 135 mile-long distributary of the Mississippi river that empties into the Gulf of Mexico.

The “water protectors”, as they call themselves, are camped near the path of the pipeline. Many live locally, but others come from afar, often hailing from tribes affected by similar issues, such as the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.

Their efforts are focused on public protest to raise awareness, as well as direct actions to impede construction of the pipeline, which they say endangers the Atchafalaya hardwood forest and cypress-tupelo swamp, the largest in North America. MORE

It is time to respect the planet’s boundaries—and overhaul how we eat and waste food—if we want to feed our rising population

If we’re to feed the estimated 10 billion people on Earth in 2050—and protect the planet— we have to completely overhaul food production and choose healthier diets, says international report


Market in Barcelona, Spain. The authors recommend consumption of red meats and sugars to decrease by 50 percent, while increasing consumption of nuts, fruits, vegetables and legumes two-fold. Credit: ja ma/Unsplash)

The way we eat and grow food has to dramatically change if we’re going to feed the world’s increasing population by 2050 and protect the planet, according to a major report released today from the EAT-Lancet Commission.

“Civilisation is in crisis. We can no longer feed our population a healthy diet while balancing planetary resources,” wrote the commission, which was a three-year project and is comprised of 37 scientists from around the globe. “For the first time in 200,000 years of human history, we are severely out of synchronisation with the planet and nature.”

Agriculture is the largest pressure humans put on the planet.

The authors say reconnecting with nature is the key in turning around unsustainable agriculture and poor diets. If humans can “eat in a way that works for our planet as well as our bodies, the natural balance of the planet’s resources will be restored,” they write. “The nature that is disappearing holds the key to human and planetary survival.” MORE