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Robin Rowland

Reporter, Author, Visual Journalist

Robin Rowland is an indepedent reporter, author and visual journalist based in Kitimat, British Columbia, where he publishes the Northwest Coast Energy News blog, covering energy, environment and science issues in northwestern British Columbia, as well as writing the occasional Tao of News blog on the future of journalism.

Robin Rowland grew up in Kitimat but left as a teenager when his family moved to Toronto. In 2010, after a 35-year career in journalism at the Sudbury Star, CTV News and CBC News and as a freelancer, he took early retirement from his job as CBC News photo editor and returned to his home town. From 1995-2001, Rowland taught computer assisted and investigative reporting at the Ryerson University School of Journalism.

He is the author or co-author of five books, including two histories of Prohibiton-era Canada, King of the Mob and Undercover. In 1995, he co-wrote the first book on how to do research on the Internet. His latest book, A River Kwai Story, the Sonkrai Tribunal,is an account of the war crimes trial of the Japanese and Korean guards charged over their actions in one of the worst POW camps on the Burma Thailand Railway.

When not covering pipeline and energy issues in northwest BC, Rowland spend his time photographing the spectacular natural beauty of northwest BC.

You can follow Robin Rowland on Twitter at @rowlandr and Northwest Coast Energy News at @nwcstenergynews.
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Keystone XL Pipeline Report Studied B.C. Scenarios

The U.S. State Department released its long-awaited report on the Keystone XL project last week. Most media focused on the executive summary, but several scenarios in British Columbia are outlined in the full report, even though the province is thousands of kilometres removed from the proposed pipeline.
03/13/2013 07:44 EDT

Tsunami Warning Text Messages Fail To Provide Any Info

For the past month, text message tsunami warnings from the West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Center have transformed from clear, concise vital information to incomprehensible computer code with a link to a useless URL -- at least on my Bell Android Samsung phone.
03/12/2013 01:26 EDT

Pine Beetles' Move Up Threatens Western Forests: Study

Scientists behind a new study say a warming world has not only made it easier for the mountain pine beetle to invade new and defenseless ecosystems, but also to better withstand winter weather that is milder and erupt in large outbreaks capable of killing entire stands of trees, no matter their composition.
01/02/2013 01:23 EST

Protecting Canada's Lakes, Rivers: 2012 Media Fail

Protecting Canada's lakes, streams and rivers and the habitat for fish and wildlife is the one out of the many issues raised by Idle No More that has the greatest potential to expand across much of non-urban Canada, uniting aboriginal and non-aboriginal Canadians, and crossing the political spectrum from the green left to the small c conservative right.
12/26/2012 07:21 EST
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B.C. Tries To Examine Earthquake, Tsunami Response As 'Learning Opportunity'

The B.C. government is asking emergency program co-ordinators to give feedback on the initial responses to last month's 7.7-magnitude earthquake. A letter explains, "Input will be sought in an endeavour to hear from those directly impacted as a measure of enhancing our operations and response." It also reviews what unfolded from the province's side of things on Oct. 27. Read between the lines of the solicitor general's letter and while at first the officials say things went fine according to procedures in the book, events appear to show that in practice, the system didn't work as well as expected.
11/12/2012 11:29 EST

How BC Zoned Out On The Tsunami Warning

Kitimat, B.C. and New York had one thing in common this week: the misuse and use of social media, Twitter and Facebook that spread both accurate warnings and dangerous misinformation about an impending disaster.
11/08/2012 12:43 EST
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Earthquake Communications Lessons From Kitimat

How the evening unfolded after a 7.7-magnitude earthquake hit Haida Gwaii show that the emergency communication system in Kitimat -- the end site of the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline and at least three planned LNG plants -- needs immediate improvement. For example, it appears from reports in the Kitimat Daily and tweets about the Northern Sentinel that Kitimat emergency services was sending information out by fax.
10/29/2012 02:06 EDT

TransCanada Plans Natural Gas Pipeline Over Rugged Mountain Route

TransCanada plans a rugged over-mountain route for its proposed Coastal Gaslink pipeline to the Shell Canada liquified natural gas project in Kitimat, B.C., company officials said this week in two presentations. The pipeline would initially carry 1.7 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day from the Montney Formation region of northeastern B.C. over 700 kilometres from Groundbirch, near Dawson Creek, to Kitimat.
10/19/2012 03:12 EDT

Tsunami Hazard, Possible Fault Line Discovered Near Kitimat

The Geological Survey of Canada has identified a tsunami hazard and a possible seismic fault in Douglas Channel near Kitimat. That's the proposed site of the Enbridge Northern Gateway project and at least three liquified natural gas projects. If the projects go ahead, hundreds of supertankers with either bitumen or LNG will be sailing in the channel for years to come.
09/21/2012 01:05 EDT

'On the Waterfront' Could Decide Fate Of Enbridge's Kitimat Terminal

There's one question about the Enbridge Northern Gateway project that many people ask and few can answer: Who is responsible for the port of Kitimat? Who would be liable should there be a disaster in the port? Nobody really knows. Most of the other harbours in Canada are the responsibility of Ports Canada, a branch of Transport Canada or run by (usually not-for-profit) semi-public port corporations or local harbour commissions. Yet Kitimat has one of the few private ports in Canada. To find out why, watch the multiple Oscar-winning movie On the Waterfront, starring Marlon Brando, about how the mob ran the New York docks.
09/03/2012 01:43 EDT

Water, Not Oil, Is Hot Summer Issue In Kitimat

Even with David Black's proposal for an oil refinery on a hill 25 kilometres north of Kitimat, residents here know that the Enbridge Northern Gateway debate has gone on for years and will go on for many years to come. The hottest issue in Kitimat this summer is water, not oil. For us, this summer can be summed up by saying: "Water, water everywhere, but you can't get there from here." As environmentalists worldwide celebrate the beauty of Douglas Channel, and decry the dangers that tanker traffic could pose to the channel, many people in Kitimat are cut off from the waterfront.
08/28/2012 03:29 EDT

Romney Endorses Harper's Environmental Fast Track -- If Oil Goes To The U.S.

Mitt Romney, the Republican candidate for president of the United States issued his "white paper" on energy policy on Thursday. It calls for an integrated energy market with Canada, the United States and Mexico. Romney also endorses Prime Minister Stephen Harper's environmental fast track "one project, one review" policy.
08/23/2012 07:27 EDT

Stephen Harper vs. Science

For all those who in Alberta that keep saying that the people of British Columbia have to be "educated" about pipelines, and just so Stephen Harper is up to date on his science: Building a pipeline over smashed, broken, uplifted, twisted Jurassic-era islands, downsized by erosion, lost islands turned into mountains, buried and shaped by kilometres of glacial ice, is a completely different story altogether.
08/21/2012 05:28 EDT

Enbridge's Northern Gateway Becoming The National Nightmare

The Northern Gateway is now becoming the National Nightmare. Canada has a new Two Solitudes in the 21st century. The dividing line is not the Ottawa River but the Rockies. It appears that in Alberta -- not just columnists but bloggers and tweeters as well -- seem to believe that if they just yell loud enough, that the people of B.C. will eventually realize their thought errors and join in supporting Alberta's manifest destiny.
08/20/2012 12:34 EDT

Get Over it! A Pipeline to Prince Rupert Is Bust

So why do people insist, despite the evidence, that the Northern Gateway go to Prince Rupert? It's no longer a pipeline; it's emotion and ideology. Ideology in that opposition to the Northern Gateway is seen by conservatives as heretical opposition to free enterprise itself. Emotion among those who see promoting the oil patch as an issue of "Alberta pride" and even Canadian patriotism. For the promoters of the pipeline to Prince Rupert, ignoring the science of geology and the study of geography across all of northwestern B.C. is no different than repeatedly knocking your head against the Paleozoic metamorphic greenstone of the mountain cliffs along the Skeena. It only gives you a headache.
08/17/2012 01:45 EDT

Pipelines, Politics and Pundits: How the Media Got Christy Clark All Wrong

When B.C. Premier Christy Clark outlined her five conditions last month for possibly approving the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline, her demand for a "fair share" of Alberta's petro-royalities brought howls and screams of outrage from east of the Rockies. The media depiction of Clark's conditions as something new is completely inaccurate.
08/16/2012 08:03 EDT