February 17, 2017

The Council of Canadians Williams Lake chapter is helping to organize part of a series of public forums on forestry jobs and forest protection in British Columbia.

The Prince George Citizen reports, "Peter Ewart, co-founder of the Stand Up For The North Committee, said these events will take place in Prince George, Mackenzie, Quesnel and Williams Lake. 'The purpose of these meetings is to have community discussion at a time when our jobs, forests and communities are facing threats from mill closures, lack of forest oversight, runaway forest companies, timber shortages, ramped up raw log exports, an unreliable U.S. export market and other problems', Ewart said."

The article adds, "Each meeting will have a keynote speaker - Ben Parfitt, forestry analyst for the Canadian Centre For Policy Alternatives - plus a set of support speakers from forestry unions, First Nations and other stakeholder groups."

February 17, 2017

President Donald Trump has now signed an order that repeals the Stream Protection Rule in the United States.

The rule had been intended to protect almost 10,000 kilometres of streams and 52,000 acres of forests in the US. It would have prohibited surface mining within 30 metres of streams. Bloomberg notes, "It was meant to stop the practice of dumping mining waste in streams and valleys during mountaintop mining."

In a recent opinion piece in the New York Times, Trout Unlimited president Chris Wood writes, "Over the past 20 years, mining operations have buried or degraded nearly 3,200 kilometres of streams in Appalachia. It goes without saying that cutting the tops off mountains and dumping them in streams is bad for fishing. It is also bad for anyone who cares about clean water."

February 16, 2017

Kent County chapter activist Ann Pohl at the beach in Sainte-Anne-de-Kent, New Brunswick, on the Northumberland Strait.

Twenty-five Council of Canadians chapters have signed a joint letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau asking for a meeting with him to discuss the protection of salt water coastal areas, marine life, and our three oceans.

The letter – coordinated by Kent County chapter activist Ann Pohl – includes a background document that outlines some of the issues the chapters would like to discuss with the prime minister.

February 16, 2017

The Council of Canadians Inverness County chapter will be holding a forum on forests in Nova Scotia this coming March 5.

The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) Nova Scotia chapter has noted, "Over a half-million hectares of forest have been clearcut in Nova Scotia since the 1990's, or roughly 15 per cent of the province's forests. Rates of disturbance are highest in Central Nova Scotia, where over the past two decades 27 per cent of the forests in Colchester County have been cut down and 20 per cent of Pictou County. Only about 17 per cent of the provincial forest remains in an intact condition, in stands larger than 500 hectares in size. Quite simply, clearcutting is ruining our forests."

February 16, 2017

Guelph City Hall.

The Council of Canadians Guelph chapter is opposed to the privatization of Guelph Hydro which distributes electricity to approximately 54,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers in Guelph and Rockwood.

Guelph chapter activist Richard Chaloner had argued that privatization would mean the loss of local control, higher hydro rates and reduced service.

CTV reports, "A committee tasked with examining all four options [a sale, a merger, maintaining the status quo or even buying another utility] had concluded that a sale or merger would likely make Guelph Hydro more efficient and decrease electricity prices for consumers."

But The Guelph Mercury now reports, "The sale of Guelph Hydro is off the table. Heading into the 6 p.m. meeting, the committee was recommending council direct them to further research a possible sale or merger of Guelph Hydro. At around 10:30 p.m., after hours of delegates and discussion, council decided that selling off Guelph Hydro, in part or in total, was not an option."