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The Canadian Environmental Protection Act is Canada's most important environmental law. And yet, in the likely event that you are not an environmental lawyer, you have probably never heard of it.
Ecojustice has worked with federal environmental assessment (EA) law in its various forms for more than 20 years. These experiences have given us many clear examples of how Canada's EA process is broken and in need of major changes.
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They want to subject the Energy East pipeline to Quebec's environmental regulations.
If allowed to stand, the decision will further constrain the ability of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA) to ensure that most serious environmental and human health impacts associated with major industrial projects, including mines, dams and tar sands operations, are addressed.
Turning a blind eye to the links between race, socio-economic status, and environmental risks doesn't make the issue any less real. The fact is, environmentally harmful activities take place in some communities more than others. The proposed Act to Address Environmental Racism in Nova Scotia is a powerful step in that direction.
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At any given time, there are thousands of Canadians who cannot safely drink the water out of the taps in their homes. In some extreme cases, they may not even have indoor plumbing. The worst part is that for many, help isn't on the way.
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A chemical dispersant is a kind of "spill-treating agent" (or "STA") that is designed to break up an oil slick and dilute the oil by mixing it into the water. A chemical dispersant isn't truly a clean-up tool -- it doesn't take any spilled oil out of the environment, and by the time a dispersant is applied, it's already too late to save most life forms in the vicinity of the spill.
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People living in industry-heavy areas of cities such as Hamilton, Sarnia, and Windsor bear an unfair burden when it comes to exposure to air contaminants. Many of these substances -- including benzene, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and particulate matter -- are known to pose serious threats to human health,
By almost any measure, Canada fares surprisingly poorly when it comes to protecting the environment. In 2013, the Conference Board of Canada ranked us 15th out of 17 countries based on a wide range of environmental metrics. Yet as anyone who has paddled a river, hiked a trail, or spent time in Canada's gazillion wild and beautiful places will know, this is a country that should be leading the world on green performance.
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Earlier this week, I learned that the Ontario Ministry of Environment (MOE) has decided to drop its investigation into an April 2013 chemical leak at a Shell refinery in Sarnia. Why? According to an MOE spokesperson, there wasn't enough evidence to proceed further.
The industry needs productive, safe, and enabling parameters to work within, and British Columbians deserve to rest assured that our business leaders and elected representatives are engineering those limits properly -- with a foundation much stronger than that of the Mount Polley tailings pond.
We are mystified that with so much at stake, with the risks of this project being so high, the board would quibble over nine days. We would have expected the board to err on the side of good process and give Kinder Morgan the extra time to answer the questions that have been asked by municipalities, landowners, local businesses, First Nations and environmental organizations.
While the Alberta Energy Regulator has made regulatory orders in some cases, no charges have been laid related to any of the oil spills that made headlines last summer. And for the most part, the public remains in the dark about how those spills have affected their communities and the environment. As the AER enters its second year, it has a golden opportunity to live up to its big promises.
B.C. is home to 75 per cent of Canada's bird species, 70 per cent of its freshwater fish species and 66 per cent of its butterfly species. More 1,900 of these species are at-risk. A staggering 87 per cent these don't receive any protection under provincial or federal laws.
There's a shadow over the Oshawa Harbour as well, a darkness and a rot. Oshawa is the only city on the Great Lakes with no boat access to the water. Think about that: 150,000 people living within spitting distance of one of the largest lakes on the planet, and they have to get in their cars and drive somewhere else if they want to fish, sail, or paddle.
The Environmental Review Tribunal continues to grind through its list of anti-wind appeals. On December 5, it rejected an appeal against the Renewable Energy Approval for another wind farm, Pattern Energy's South Kent Wind facility, 127 turbines between Tilbury and Ridgetown. In each of the appeals, the opponents have argued that approval of the wind farm will cause serious harm to human health. In each case, the Tribunal has found that this allegation has not been proven.
The new Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 (CEAA 2012), which came into effect last month, allows the federal government to create mandatory timelines for assessments of even the largest and most important projects, regardless of public opposition. Last Friday the CEAA announced timelines for nine projects under review, giving us our first look at how much time the government will allow for federal environmental assessments. It doesn't look very good.
Bush-whacking the environment. That's the best way to describe Stephen Harper's George W. Bush-esque approach: When you can't change the laws with public approval, just go ahead and do it any way you can. Unlike Bush, however, much of what Harper is doing is perfectly legit.
I find it odd that we focus so much public buzz on fear of wind turbines. Most of our energy sources are far more dangerous to human health and the environment.