Environmental Protection

Zaporizhzhia safety deal near?

International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Rafael Mariano said today that while a deal deal to protect Europe's largest nuclear power plant from a catastrophic accident due to fighting in Ukraine could be “close”, he warned that intensified combat in the area has increased risks to the facility. “It is a zone of extreme volatility so the negotiations are, of course, affected,” he said. “I would not characterize the process for the last few months as one that has not led to any progress.” [node:read-more:link]

Alberta losing two key ministers

Two key members of Alberta Premier Danielle Smith’s cabinet, Finance Minister Travis Toews and Environment & Protected Areas Minister Sonya Savage, announced March 24 that they will not contest the province’s next general election, expected on May 29. Both cited family reasons for their decision but said they would serve out their mandate. [node:read-more:link]

Canada-U.S. interests “interwoven”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and U.S. President Joe Biden used a day of talks in Ottawa March 24 to tackle a range of shared issues, including defence and security, third-country refugees, Haiti, clean energy and trade in what Trudeau said was a demonstration of how their countries’ interests are “interwoven.” Biden, on his first visit to Canada as President, agreed, saying, “I can't think of a challenge we haven’t met together.” [node:read-more:link]

Putting the brakes on EU plan

A proposed European Parliament ban on the sale of new internal combustion engined cars by 2035 is being challenged by Germany, Italy, Poland and the Czech Republic, all of which have large automotive industries. They have put the brakes on the plan by calling for the deadline to be extended for ICE-powered vehicles which run on “green” fuels. [node:read-more:link]

Aquaculture ban challenged in court

Two B.C. First Nations and a Norwegian-owned salmon farming company are challenging the legality of a federal government refusal to renew their aquaculture open-net licences off north Vancouver Island. The government’s decision was predicated on concerns that farmed fish pose a parasitic threat to wild salmon. Neighbouring Washington state banned open-net farms in state waters last year. [node:read-more:link]

Earthquake linked to oil sector

The largest recorded earthquake in Alberta’s history is being attributed to geologic disposal of oilsands wastewater, according to newly-published research. Canadian seismologist Ryan Schultz says the 5.6-magnitude quake near the northwestern town of Peace River last November occurred near a well used to inject more than a million cubic metres of wastewater at a depth of some two kilometres. [node:read-more:link]

Water: no cause for celebration

The UN marked World Water Day by warning that supplies are increasingly at risk around the world because of increased urban demand. On average, it said today, “10 per cent of the global population lives in countries with high or critical water stress” as the world is “blindly travelling a dangerous path” toward unsustainability. [node:read-more:link]

Climate report warrants “hard long look”

Environment & Climate Change Minister Steven Guilbeault said March 20 that the government will take a “hard long look” at the latest UN climate change panel’s latest warning about carbon emissions. “It's one thing to simply say, ‘well, you know, we want to reach this goal’ but we have to give ourselves the means to get there,” he said. “We do that now in Canada for 2050. We will obviously need to take a second hard long look at what the IPCC is proposing for 2040.” [node:read-more:link]

New LNG terminal for B.C.

A $3.2-billion liquefied natural gas export terminal near the northern coastal city of Kitimat has received environmental approval from the B.C. government. The floating Cedar LNG project is majority-owned by the local Haisla Nation in partnership with the Calgary-based Pembina Pipeline Corp. [node:read-more:link]

RCMP watchdog probing protests

The Civilian Review and Complaints Commission which handles public grievances against the RCMP has opened an inquiry into the force’s Community-Industry Response Group which was set up in 2017 to deal with protests against resource extraction in B.C. Terms of reference posted today include whether the CIRG’s operations are consistent with legislation and the findings of the inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women and girls. [node:read-more:link]

Big Plastic goes after Ottawa

The federal government’s first move towards reducing single-use plastics is being challenged in Federal Court this week by Dow Chemical Canada, Imperial Oil and Nova Chemicals and an industry lobby, The Responsible Plastic Use Coalition. At issue is whether the government was justified in listing plastics as toxic under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. [node:read-more:link]

New marine biodiversity pact

After more than a decade of often fractious debate, the UN has drafted an unprecedented agreement protect high seas biodiversity but it won’t be published until it has been legally scrutinized. It would apply to the more than 60 per cent of the oceans outside national offshore zones of 370 kilometres. [node:read-more:link]

Supreme Court judge takes leave

Supreme Court of Canada Justice Russell Brown, generally considered a strong voice for provincial rights, has taken a leave of absence from the nine-member bench. It comes only a few weeks before the court is scheduled to review environmental legislation which enables the federal government to regulate a wide range of industrial projects despite strong objections by Alberta. The court declined to explain the decision by the 57-year-old jurist who was appointed in 2015. [node:read-more:link]

RCMP facing Charter suit

Amber Bracken, an Edmonton freelance photographer arrested in B.C. while covering protests against a pipeline project for a national on-line environmental publication in 2021, is suing the RCMP for wrongful detention and violation of her Charter rights. Her Victoria-based client, The Narwal, has joined the lawsuit. [node:read-more:link]

Big bucks at Big Oil

The latest annual financial statements by the world’s major petroleum companies show that 2022 was their most profitable year on record. Their combined profit is estimated to have been equivalent to US$200 billion. [node:read-more:link]


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