August 8, 2009

St. Andrews, New Brunswick reisdents Lee Ann Ward and Larry Lack write in the Telegraph Journal that, "The U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Agency (FERC) is close to approving at least one of the LNG (liquefied natural gas) terminals that developers want to build on the Maine shores of Passamaquoddy Bay and the St. Croix River. A Canadian federal regulation enacted by Transport Canada can dissolve this threat. But this federal action is needed now, before American agencies give these projects the go-ahead to start construction."

"Informed observers agree that FERC will almost certainly approve and issue permits for one or more of the LNG terminals proposed for the Maine shores of our shared waters, perhaps as early as this coming fall or winter."

"Building and operating any one of these proposed terminals would damage our struggling Passamaquoddy Bay region's natural resource-based economy and destroy one of the last remaining healthy marine ecosystems in eastern North America."

August 7, 2009

No one asked them what they thought but the CEOs formerly known as the North American Competitiveness Council are telling us anyway. The NACC released a third report today on the eve of the Guadalajara leaders' summit August 9-10. "No matter what form the partnership may take, we encourage governments to continue to consult with the private sector in all three countries," they write. "The NACC stands ready to provide advice and assistance to governments as they work together to strengthen the security and prosperity of North America." I'm sure they do. Question is whether those governments will let them back in.

"The North American Competitiveness Council (NACC) is a group of business leaders from Canada, Mexico, and the United States formed in 2006 to gather advice from the private sector on ways to enhance North America's competitive position, promote increased employment, and foster a higher standard of living," claims the new report.

August 7, 2009

A press briefing today hints again at the possibility North American leaders will drop only the name "SPP" when they meet in Guadalajara for the fifth annual leaders' summit this weekend. Calling the meeting an "opportunity for the leaders to engage on a broad range of issues that are important to North America hemispherically and globally," one U.S. official says "this is the first time they're going to get together as a group to focus on these issues and not be as narrowly focused as the SPP."

Narrowly focused? The first draft had over 300 policy suggestions for closer integration of security, energy, environmental, health, regulatory, financial, military, foreign and international trade policy. Even if they tried to hone it down over the years -- unsuccessfully, many proponents argue -- you could never say the focus was narrow, which leaves me wondering where else the Obama administration thinks they can take this dialogue.

August 7, 2009

The Globe and Mail reports this morning that, "Canadian municipalities will have to bring their sewage treatment plants up to snuff under new regulations to be unveiled by the Harper government later this year."

"The new rules will set performance benchmarks, timelines and monitoring and reporting requirements for the country's 4,000 wastewater facilities, Environment Minister Jim Prentice said Thursday in Saint John.""Facilities that can't afford the upgrades or repairs can apply to Ottawa's infrastructure fund or borrow from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp., Mr. Prentice said. More details will emerge when the government publishes draft regulations in December, which are expected to be revised and finalized next year."

"The Conservative government has been criticized for announcing only piecemeal projects instead of the national water strategy promised more than two years ago. This spring, Canada's environment commissioner told a House of Commons committee the Tories have made negligible progress on a national water strategy."

August 7, 2009

The Canadian Press reports that, "The federal government is taking too long to map Canada’s stores of groundwater and key information won’t be available for another two decades, says a newly released document."

The briefing note prepared for Natural Resources Minister Lisa Raitt says, "The slow-going hinders Ottawa’s ability to make big decisions about the country’s water."

The briefing note also says, "At the present rate, it will take another 22 years to complete the inventory of the 30 key regional aquifers to the point that the information will be adequate to support decision-making. Given the multiple inter-provincial and Canada-U.S. water issues expected, that rate of progress is too slow to effectively support federal policy development."

It continues, "We do not know enough about geological aquifers that contain our groundwater resources to ensure sufficient water will be available to sustain our people, industry and our natural capital tomorrow and in the future."