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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.

25 August, 2016

Next year Canada turns 150. What better present than a gift to the future: preservation of our outstanding heritage sites?  

Parks Canada is leading a new public process to nominate more Canadian sites to the World Heritage List just in time for our birthday celebrations. From Coast Salish clam gardens to endangered whales’ feeding grounds, Pacific coastal waters are home to countless areas worthy of protection as World Heritage Sites.  Have your say on what gets protected on the List, and consider proposing irreplaceable marine sites to be recognized as part of our natural heritage treasure vault.



15 August, 2016

As the Site C dam project forges ahead, West Coast's RELAW Project Manager Maxine Matilpi considers difficult questions about the future of the Peace River Valley and the Indigenous communities fighting to preserve their territories.



12 August, 2016

West Coast Environmental Law Association was lucky to have four talented students join us this summer from law schools across the country. As the season winds down, our summer law students share their reflections on an exciting few months learning about the ins and outs of environmental law.

3 August, 2016

At West Coast Environmental Law, we are passionate about collaboration and integrating science with law. When new, ground-breaking studies are published in the scientific world, it presents a unique opportunity to identify the implications this might have on shaping and influencing laws.

A recent study, “Species and population diversity in Pacific salmon fisheries underpin Indigenous food security” published by SFU researchers Holly Nesbitt and Dr. Jonathan Moore, is a fantastic example.

29 July, 2016

In 2013 a jet fuel truck operated by Executive Flight Centre, and servicing BC Ministry of Forests firefighting efforts, plunged off a road in the Slocan Valley, crashing into the pristine Lemon Creek and dumping 33,000 litres into the river, compromising drinking water and killing fish. The province investigated, concluding that no charges were warranted. The case would have been closed, but for the efforts of Marilyn Burgoon, a resident of the Slocan Valley. Last Friday (July 22nd) a federally appointed prosecutor laid new charges against both Executive Flight Centre and the BC Government.

28 July, 2016

BC’s Climate Leadership Plan is missing in action.  Originally planned for release in December 2015, at the Paris Climate Talks, its release has been repeatedly delayed, with recent speculation pointing towards a dead-of-summer, don’t look now, release.

28 July, 2016

Earlier this year the BC government approved the Great Bear Rainforest Land Use Order, grounding the region’s land and forest protection into law. Now it’s time to anchor the Great Bear Sea solution – comprehensive ecosystem-based marine spatial plans – into law as well. It’s time to achieve lasting protection for this precious area.

We’re taking this message to IMCC4 in St. John’s, Newfoundland this week, with a presentation on “Getting legal traction for BC’s science-based marine spatial plans.”

14 July, 2016

It might seem a bit odd for Environmental Law Alert (based in BC, Canada) to be reporting on developments in Kenyan environmental law, but Kenya’s new Climate Change Act, 2014, brought into force in May 2016, contains a provision that is worth talking about around the world – one which provides for lawsuits against greenhouse gas polluters.

14 July, 2016

This June, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change announced that she will establish an independent expert panel to review Canada’s environmental assessment processes under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 (CEAA 2012), and opened up a 30-day public comment period on the Panel’s draft Terms of Reference. ather than tweak at the edges of a fundamentally broken and outdated system, Canada needs a next-generation environmental assessment law that works for nature and communities, and upholds Canada’s international commitments, including the Paris Agreement and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.



12 July, 2016

The warmth and relative freedom of summer creates an atmosphere of spontaneity and often last-minute plans come together: “Let’s drive to that pow-wow this weekend!” “Who wants to go to the beach for a picnic this afternoon?” “Come to the Vancouver Folk Festival and visit our WCEL table!”

Summer 2016 is no different. For those following the fate of the Kinder Morgan pipeline, there are some spontaneous and brief, summer-camp-inspired public meetings coming up. But the season really started when the Federal Court of Appeal (FCA) released its much anticipated Enbridge Decision on June 30.  Learn more about the process and pledge to attend the Kinder Morgan tar sands pipelines and tankers summer meetings.