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Environmental Law Alert Blog

Through our Environmental Law Alert blog, West Coast alerts you to environmental law problems and developments affecting British Columbians. It is the public voice of our Environmental Law Alert unit which is a legal “watchdog” for BC’s environment.

If you have an environmental story that we should hear about, please e-mail Andrew Gage. Also, please feel free to comment on any of the posts to this blog – but please keep in mind our policies on comments.

16 April, 2015

BC has had the dubious distinction of being the “Wild West for groundwater” – with no licensing of groundwater resources – for over a hundred years. The new Water Sustainability Act is poised to change this. But will the Act relieve the pressure on groundwater in BC’s northeast from the oil and gas industry? The answer may depend on regulations currently under development. 

16 April, 2015

How much environmental protection could Canada get for the price of government advertising? In the wake of the 2015 federal budget release, Staff Counsel Anna Johnston explores the contrast between government spending on the environment and its spending on its own advertising. Take our survey about federal spending priorities to tell us how you would spend $75 million!

15 April, 2015

Staff Counsel Hannah Askew reports back from a conference in Fort St.John on gas development in Treaty 8 territory. At times inspirational and at times somber, the conference provided a forum for community members to explore solutions to cumulative effects of gas development.

15 April, 2015

Staff Counsel Eugene Kung draws links between the recent oil spill in English Bay, Kinder Morgan's pipeline proposal, and why the legitimacy of the National Energy Board is being called into question by a wide swathe of civil society and policymakers alike. 

1 April, 2015

Were you excited to read our take on the supposed visionary green budget proposed by the federal government earlier today? Or did you catch on right away that anything received on April 1st should likely be taken with a grain of salt? It would certainly be a major about-face if the Canadian Government passed a bill restoring our environmental safety net. But there is no reason why it shouldn’t. Join us in urging the federal government to restore strong environmental legal protection for Canadians, democracy and the environment.

1 April, 2015

Media Release: Green groups across Canada celebrate the new federal omnibus budget bill, which makes sweeping improvements to environmental laws in Canada and rectifies all the harm done by the last two omnibus bills, Bill C-38 and Bill C-45.  

25 March, 2015

Today Bill 24, a new Societies Act, was introduced in the BC Legislature. We are very happy to be able to confirm that the controversial “Section 99”, which had been proposed in a government discussion paper, has been dropped.  We’re inviting British Columbians to thank Finance Minister de Jong for listening to British Columbians. 

18 March, 2015

Blueberry River First Nations has launched a landmark claim against the province of BC for failing to manage the cumulative impacts of industrial development on their territory, resulting in interference with their constitutionally-protected treaty right to hunt and fish.

17 March, 2015

Despite a number of new proposals for LNG development in Northern BC, there has not yet been a provincial review of the cumulative impacts of these projects. West Coast is co-facilitating a series of community dialogues that brings project-affected communities together to talk about the things they value and how these values may be impacted - positively or negatively - by proposed development, as well as to talk about how we can make informed decisions about the right nature, pace and scale of development for our communities.


16 March, 2015

An RCMP memo blasting Canadian environmentalists, including West Coast, as part of a harmful “anti-Canadian petroleum movement,” does not make Canadians safer. The blatant bias of the memo undermines “the principle of legitimacy” – the idea that fair, credible law enforcement agencies can increase compliance with the law.