December 8, 2016

This morning I presented to the Standing Committee on Transport, Communities and Infrastructure via video conference at their last meeting to review the Navigation Protection Act (NPA), formerly the Navigable Waters Protection Act (NWPA).

This is the act that was gutted by the former Harper government, leaving only 97 lakes, 62 rivers and 3 oceans protected under the act. The Trudeau government has committed to review environmental and freshwater legislation including the NPA, the Fisheries Act and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act.

(Photo above: Water samples collected from Sherbrooke Lake, Big Mushamush Lake, Little Mushamush Lake, Church Lake, Petite Riviere, Medway River, and Mersey River—all in the South Shore-St. Margaret’s constituency. Taken by the South Shore Chapter NS, The Council of Canadians.)

December 8, 2016

If you were to order a full-menu climate change plan with all the right words, yesterday's release of the New Brunswick Climate Change Plan is very good.  It's just that we have to tell Premier Brian Gallant to hold the tar sands bitumen when they deliver the plan.  

The plan is very comprehensive and provides a great framework for implementing legislation such as a "Climate Change Act" and creating a dedicated "climate change fund".  On page 6, the plan states that "The provincial government will:  7. Develop a bold and comprehensive communications strategy to educate New Brunswickers about the causes of climate change, including the linkages between human activity and climate change, and identify opportunities for all New Brunswickers to participate in solutions." 

December 6, 2016

LeNeveu outside of the Forks in Winnipeg, Manitoba

The Husky Oil accident report of November 17, 2016, attributed the oil spill on the North Saskatchewan River to ground movement following heavy rains. The National Observer reports that the pipeline was built on unstable ground.

The failure was likely due to gradual creep rather than a one time, rare, event as the report claims. It appears that faulty trench infill allowed water to flow down the pipeline trench. Water flowing in the pipeline trench likely contributed to instability, failure and spill movement to the river. Proper maintenance should have prevented water from channeling down the trench and detected the slope movement that led to failure.1

The Saskatchewan Ministry of Economy plans to a release its own report on the spill of the provincially regulated Husky oil pipeline.2

Failure in the thousands of pipelines in Saskatchewan is common.

December 6, 2016

(An ancient hemlock tree stands tall in James Park, Etobicoke, Ontario - picture by Mark D'Arcy)

The size of the solidarity camp in North Dakota is now too large for much of the media to practice their self-censorship.  "More than 10, 000 have come here from all over the world", reports BBC's James Cook in his compelling news report from the Standing Rock camp.  This report was also aired on their evening television show, BBC News, last Friday, Dec. 2, 2016.

December 5, 2016

A very straight-forward request to Sackville councillors was made tonight by Mount Allison University students.  Sackville is one of the most vulnerable communities in New Brunswick to climate change and the extraction and burning of tar sands bitumen only increases the problem of climate change.  Sackville Town Council was asked to adopt a resolution that will say no to Energy East (see text in Notes).

Mount Alison student Claire Neufeld said, "The meeting went well, I am hopeful that the motion will be passed next week."