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Oil, Gas, & Mining

From the seismic lines that criss-cross wilderness and farmland in the Peace district to the toxic run-off from the abandoned Britannia mine site just outside of Vancouver, the oil and gas and mining industries are heavy contributors to some of BC's most difficult environmental problems. West Coast has made significant contributions to law reform in these areas. For example, by:

  • Being one of the first groups in BC to raise concerns about coalbed methane (CBM) development, and then taking steps to educate and empower communities through outreach activities and the publication of two very popular guides: Coalbed Methane: A Citizen’s Guide (2003) and Coalbed Methane: A BC Local Government Guide (2006). In 2008, the Provincial government placed a moratorium on CBM development in the Sacred Headwaters, and made a commitment to requiring reinjection of CBM produced water, a key best practice in this area.
  • Being one of the loudest voices calling on the provincial government to enact a regulatory regime for the oil and gas sector that better protects landowners, communities and the environment. In May 2008, the government passed a new Oil and Gas Activities Act. The new Act will have improved rules regarding public consultation, environmental protection and compliance and enforcement.
  • Conducting BC’s first comprehensive review of Free Entry Laws - the laws that give mining companies rights to enter private land for the purpose of conducting mining activities.
     

Publications:

Coalbed Methane : A BC Local Government Guide (May, 2006) 

Joint West Coast/Sierra Legal Submission to Ministry of Energy and Mines for the Oil and Gas Regulatory Improvement Initiative (February 28, 2006) 

Oil and Gas Health and Safety Issues Backgrounder (September 2006) 

Comments on the BC Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection's Coalbed Methane Produced Water Code of Practice Intentions Paper (January 2005)

Technical Review Code of Practice for the Discharge of Produced Water from Coalbed Gas Operations in British Columbia (January 2005)

West Coast Environmental Law Backgrounder : Coalbed Methane Produced Water Code of Practice Raises Concerns (January 26, 2005)

Coalbed Methane Produced Water Checklist : Checklist for BC Code of Practice for discharge of produced water from coalbed gas operations (August 2004) 

Oil and Gas in British Columbia : 10 Steps to Responsible Development : 16-page report (April 2004)

Oil and Gas in British Columbia : 10 Steps to Responsible Development : 2-page brochure (2004) 

When the Landman Comes Knocking : A Toolkit for BC Landowners Living with Oil and Gas (October, 2004) 

Coalbed Methane : A Citizen's Guide (May 2003) 

Coalbed Methane : What is it? What Could it Mean for BC? (September 2003) 

Pump it Out : Frequently Asked Questions (2003)

Pump It Out : The Environmental Costs of BC's Upstream Oil and Gas Industry (May 2003) 

Undermining Our Future : Mining's Privileged Access to Land - A Free Entry Backgrounder (January 2004) 

Undermining Our Future : How Mining’s Privileged Access to Land Harms People and the Environment - A Discussion Paper on the Need to Reform Mineral Tenure Law in Canada (January 2004) 

Undermining the Law : Addressing the Crisis in Compliance with Environmental Mining Laws in BC (December 2001)

Submission to the Aggregate Advisory Panel (December 2000) 
The Aggregate Review : a West Coast Environmental Law Primer (November 2000)