Wilderness and Species Conservation

Federal Tories gut environmental assessments with sneaky changes: critics

OTTAWA - Environmental groups and opposition politicians say the federal Conservatives are trying to gut environmental assessment laws by sneaking in new rules in budget legislation.

"This is a big step backward about 20 years," John Bennett of the Sierra Club said Wednesday.

Budget legislation introduced in the House this week would give the environment minister the power to divide a large project up into smaller components for the purpose of studying its environmental impact.

"The minister may ... determine that the scope of the project in relation to which an environmental assessment is to be conducted is limited to one or more components of that project," says the legislation.... Read more »

People killing grizzlies despite hunting ban

Even with a provincial grizzly bear hunt moratorium in place, people are responsible for most of the deaths of the powerful predators, according to Alberta government data.

Seventeen Alberta grizzlies died as a result of human actions, out of 21 known grizzly deaths in 2009, says a provincial government bear mortality chart.

Alberta's grizzly bear hunt was cancelled four years ago, but the provincial chart shows how grizzly bears continue to perish. For instance, six grizzlies were poached last year, three were mistaken by hunters for black bears and shot, and five were killed in human-related accidents, such as being hit by a car.

Since 2000, there have been 221 human-caused grizzly mortalities.

Additional Excerpt:

Sierra Club Canada grizzly campaigner Carl Morrison said many instances of poaching may not show up in the government statistics.... Read more »

Bullying Canada’s Environment

OTTAWA--The federal government is afraid to deal with the environment honestly and in the open. The budget implementation bill introduced Monday contains changes to the Environmental Assessment Act that have nothing to do with the 2010 budget. The changes fly in the face of the recent Supreme Court decision on the Red Chris mine and validate Sierra Club Canada’s decision to challenge the regulatory changes made in last year’s budget.

"If these changes are just, then why not deal with them on their own instead of using an election threat to steal environmental protection from Canadians," said John Bennett, Executive Director of Sierra Club Canada.
... Read more »

Richfield vs. Sierra Club in Kanata

Extending Terry Fox Drive through the sensitive South March Highlands and then only allowing construction on one side of the street makes no sense, argues a development company seeking to expand the urban boundary further into the endangered species habitat.

Richcraft Homes is appealing to the Ontario Municipal Board, which can overrule city planning decisions, to strike down the urban boundary set by city council last summer and instead allow expansion in several areas of Ottawa, including the South March Highlands.

There, the Terry Fox Drive extension -- set to be built this summer -- marks the boundary of allowed urban development in Ottawa.

Additional Excerpt:

However, the executive director of the Sierra Club Canada, which is leading the lobby against the Terry Fox Drive extension, says Richcraft's appeal just proves that the entire $47-million roadway project is a bad idea.... Read more »

17 grizzly deaths worry Sierra Club

New statistics that show 17 grizzlies died last year as a result of interaction with humans trumpet the need to quickly designate grizzlies as a threatened species, say biologists and conservation groups.

"The No. 1 cause of grizzly bear mortality is obviously people," said Carl Morrison of Sierra Club Canada.

"It's confusing why there continues to be a government delay."

He said the high mortality could have been avoided if the government had implemented key aspects of a grizzly bear recovery program it adopted two years ago.

The province now estimates there are less than 700 grizzlies in the province and less than 360 breeding adults.

Additional Excerpt:

Since the Alberta Endangered Species Conservation Committee first recommended grizzlies be listed as threatened in 2002, 159 grizzlies have died in human-bear encounters.... Read more »

            

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