The Globe and Mail (September 27, 2012)
Environmentalists sue to force Ottawa to protect species along Northern Gateway route Add to ...
By Dene Moore
One of the most powerful foes of the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline through northern British Columbia is not a lawyer or a conservation group or any of the many First Nations who have lined up against the project.
It’s a very large, very, very old fish.
The Nechako white sturgeon is listed as an endangered species under the federal Species At Risk Act, a designation which is supposed to legally protect the sturgeon’s habitat so the species can recover.
The pipeline is planned to cross the Stewart and Endako rivers, where the highly imperilled species — there are estimated to be only 335 left — live.
OTTAWA — The federal government’s budget legislation has forced the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency to cancel nearly 3,000 screenings into potential environmental damage caused by proposed development projects across Canada, including hundreds involving a pipeline or fossil fuel energy, according to published records.
Out of 2,970 project reviews that were stopped by the legislation that rewrote Canada’s environmental laws and weakened federal oversight on industrial development, 678 involved fossil fuel energy and 248 involved a pipeline, including proposals from Alberta-based energy companies, Enbridge and TransCanada.
New information from the internationally respected coastal consulting firm W.F.Baird & Assoc.comes this very disturbing report that Lakes Michigan/Huron/Georgian Bay water levels based on many historic trends should be 50cm higher than they are right now. Baird agrees that climate is a factor but that the rate of erosion in the St Clair River that has lowered lake levels is ongoing and has likely increased very significantly.
About five years ago, residents of Yarmouth and surrounding areas joined together and formed the Tricounty Watershed Protection Association to stop the pollution being caused by mink farms at the headwaters of the Meteghan, Sissaboo and Tusket rivers. The Department of Environment conducted water tests in 10 lakes and 75 kilometres of the Tusket River for three consecutive years. The final water test results concluded that the mink farms were the probable cause. The government cancelled further water tests and no action was taken, despite the protests from citizens and environmental groups.
In an Open Public Letter sent out on August 31, 2012 – the first-announced deadline for comments on their Report on International Great Lakes Study – the International Joint Commission (IJC) has stated:
“Due to strong public interest, the IJC has extended the deadline for written comment until September 30, 2012.”
A Thunder Bay city councillor wants environmental groups to take over the Experimental Lakes Area — but one of the groups he's named is throwing cold water on the idea.
Federal government support for the Experimental Lakes Area in northwestern Ontario is set to expire by the end of the month and there's been no announcement of any deal for another operator to take over the project.
Thunder Bay councillor Larry Hebert said it's time for groups such as Greenpeace or the Sierra Club to get involved.
“Why haven't they come to the fore? It is important, and I don't disagree with that, but if it's that important let them … put their money where their mouth is,” he said.
The executive director of the Sierra Club of Canada said it's not a significant cost for the federal government to keep the ELA open. However John Bennett said his group’s budget could not support it.