Latest on Trans Mountain Pipeline

I can’t imagine it will be actually blocked permanently, but the newly elected politicians in B.C. need to follow through on campaign promises to angry voters.  Stayed tuned for the inevitable additional news on this.

Trans Mountain pipeline work stopped before it starts in British Columbia  http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/environment/trans-mountain-pipeline-work-stopped-before-it-starts-in-british-columbia/

The British Columbia provincial government has monkey-wrenched the start of construction for the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, announcingThursday that it is taking legal and administrative steps to stop the project. At issue is inadequate consultation by developer Kinder Morgan with First Nations, said George Heyman, Environment and Climate Change Strategy Minister, in a news conference in Victoria. The company must complete consultations with First Nations on several environmental aspects of the project not yet addressed, and may not begin work on public land until it does so, Heyman said. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

See also: B.C. joins legal battles against Trans Mountain pipeline expansionhttp://vancouversun.com/news/local-news/live-b-c-government-to-announce-steps-against-trans-mountain-pipeline Derrick Penner reports. (Vancouver Sun)

And also: B.C.’s impending Kinder Morgan challenge is another straw on a very beleaguered camel http://www.cbc.ca/beta/news/canada/british-columbia/kinder-morgan-legal-challenge-ndp-august-2017-1.4243022 Justin McElroy reports. (CBC)

New species of flying squirrel discovered in Pacific Northwest – CBC

Still amazing that they are finding new species. And they are not even close relatives!

The northern flying squirrel can be found throughout British Columbia — but a new study has found that those living on the coast are a completely different species from those found inland for about a million years. The authors of the study analyzed the DNA of flying squirrel specimens collected throughout the Pacific Northwest, previously thought to be the exclusive domain of the northern flying squirrel. But those found on the Pacific coast between southern B.C. and northern California turned out to be genetically distinct from those found further inland. Matt Meuse reports. (CBC)

http://www.cbc.ca/beta/news/canada/british-columbia/new-flying-squirrel-species-1.4154875

 

British Columbia Green Party shakes the vote

Expanding their reach from 1 to 3 members of Parliament, the BC Green party under the leadership of Andrew Weaver, has shaken BC politics to it’s core. The current situation after the vote showed Premiere Christie Clark losing her majority and having to form the first minority government in 65 years. Credit the Green Party for this change.

The Greens have obviously brought better candidates to the election, and some races are still too close to call. But Clark was clear that she is going to be governing from a minority position.

It is great to see a party that has been unable to bring significant candidates that can win to a position to influence the ability to govern. The tradeoffs to be made to allow Clark to continue governing means that the environment and other key Green issues, are going to be heard in a new and more significant way.

I like Vaughn Palmer’s take on the outcome.

Vaughn Palmer: Not sure who won yet, but Christy Clark definitely lost

Fisheries minister to announce protection for ancient glass sponge reefs – CBC via Vancouver Sun

Good news! And a good reason to continue creating Marine Protected Areas here.

Federal Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc is expected to announce today a long-awaited Marine Protected Area for Canada’s rare glass sponge reefs, found on the B.C. coast. The kind of glass sponge found in B.C. was thought to have died off 40 million years ago, before the discovery of fragile living reefs in Hecate Strait, near Haida Gwaii, in 1987…. A Marine Protected Area is a zone in the ocean designated by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans with tighter regulations, meant to conserve and protect something endangered, unique or ecologically important. Lisa Johnson reports. (CBC)

http://www.cbc.ca/beta/news/canada/british-columbia/leblanc-sponge-announcement-1.3984590

See also: BC: Fishermen to fight feds over expected ban near Hecate Strait reefs http://vancouversun.com/news/local-news/fishermen-to-fight-feds-over-expected-b-c-ban-near-fragile-hecate-strait-reefs Rick Eagland reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Incredible new film from the BC Coast

Filmmaker Tavish Campbell has published an astonishingly beautiful ode to the B.C. coast. Take three minutes, go full screen, and watch one of the best new films I’ve seen in a while. Congratulations to Tavish for just doing a spectacular job.

 

Canada approves controversial Kinder Morgan oil pipeline – The Guardian

Well, Trudeau split the baby. The Northern Tier Gateway project, which would have gone through the  rain forest and imperiled the northern coast of B.C. will not be built. However, the Kinder Morgan pipeline to shipping facilities in Vancouver will. This raises the stakes for oil spills dramatically in the Straits. Trudeau did put millions of new dollars into updating the oil spill response network, which had been decimated by 12 years of Steven Harper’s do nothing government. While environmentalists are furious about this decision, we need to weigh the fact that the Strait already has one of the best vessel management systems in the world, and we work very cooperatively with Canada. With a much larger Canadian presence (the U.S. has had to bring the lion’s share of funding up to now) I feel we can be somewhat assured that it’s less likely than it could be to get a major spill. But this bitumen oil is far worse to clean up. With all the terrible environmental news in the U.S. from the election, we’ll just have to take this as a best of the worse case scenarios. We are going to have our hands full fighting the Trump administration’s policies, or lack of them.  We knew that Canada wasn’t going to leave it’s oil in the ground, as much as we would like them to, and the pipelines are marginally better than rail.

Canada has approved Kinder Morgan Inc’s hotly contested plan to twin a pipeline from the Alberta oil sands to the Pacific coast, setting up a battle with environmentalists who helped elect the prime minister, Justin Trudeau.

The Liberal government, seeking to balance demands from both greens and the energy industry, said allowing Kinder Morgan to build a second pipeline next to its existing Trans Mountain line will help ensure oil exports reach Asia and reduce reliance on the US market.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/nov/29/canada-approves-kinder-morgan-oil-pipeline-justin-trudeau

B.C. government’s lack of progress on oil spill response highlighted by tug accident- Globe & Mail

Just to the north of us, they are still struggling with the lack of resources that the Harper Government dedicated to oil spill prevention, along with the removal of Coast Guard stations. Doesn’t bode well for increased tanker traffic from Vancouver, as is planned.  BC Premier Christy Clark has, for years, done virtually nothing to fix the situation, while blaming Ottawa for a lack of funds. All the while BC profits from the shipping of the oil, the dock traffic, and jobs associated with the industry. And she still is blaming this on Ottawa.

In 2012 the B.C. government set out five conditions that must be met before the province supports two proposed pipelines that would greatly increase tanker traffic on the West Coast. No.2 on that list is the establishment of a “world-leading marine oil spill response, prevention and recovery system.” Last week the lack of progress on that point was underlined in dramatic fashion when U.S.-registered tug Nathan E. Stewart ran aground while pushing a huge fuel barge in a narrow passage just north of Bella Bella. Fortunately for the Great Bear Rainforest and the Heiltsuk people who live there, barge DBL 55 was empty. But an incident report filed in 2011 by the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation gives a sense of how bad the accident could have been, had the 91-metre fuel barge been loaded. On Dec. 21 that year, the same tug and barge combination went adrift after an engine failed near Cape Fairweather, in the Gulf of Alaska. Mark Hume reports. (Globe and Mail)

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/bc-governments-lack-of-progress-on-oil-spill-response-highlighted-by-tug-accident/article32385299/

See also: Diesel spill near Bella Bella an ‘environmental disaster,’ says nearby First Nationhttp://www.cbc.ca/beta/news/canada/british-columbia/clean-up-continues-after-tug-sinks-near-bella-bella-1.3808493 (CBC)

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