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Environmental Law Alert Blog

Through our Environmental Law Alert blog, West Coast keeps you up to date on the latest developments and issues in environmental law. This includes:

  • proposed changes to the law that will weaken, or strengthen, environmental protection;
  • stories and situations where existing environmental laws are failing to protect the environment; and
  • emerging legal strategies that could be used to protect our environment.

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

2020 Canadian Law Blog Awards Winner

January 5, 2022

The start of a New Year is a time for reflection as much as it is a time for celebration.

December 23, 2021

2021 has been BC’s Year of the Climate Disaster™.

The BC government’s response claims that these remarkable events were unforeseeable, Premier Horgan said when BC declared a state of emergency:

As the Premier highlighted, fossil fuel pollution in the atmosphere is making events like we’ve seen this year much more frequent. It gives us a glimpse of just how costly the fossil fuel economy is becoming and underscores the need to rapidly move away from producing and using fossil fuels, and to build more climate-resilient communities.

December 21, 2021

Shortly after the federal election, we reviewed the Liberty Party of Canada’s election platform. This post follows that post by analyzing the federal mandate letters, released on December 16, 2021.

2021 flooding in the Fraser Valley, formerly Semá:th Lake (Photo: Tamsin Lyle, Ebbwater Consulting)
December 15, 2021

The telling of true stories is necessary to remember our collective history across the globe. Specifically, this has become clear in recent discussions about the abundant life of Semá:th Lake (also known as Sumas Lake) in the Fraser Valley of BC, which once “reached from Chilliwack into Washington State.”

December 14, 2021

In 2021, British Columbia has been the poster child for what climate change looks like in Canada. This summer’s heat wave caused nearly 600 deaths, while recent catastrophic flooding resulted in at least four fatalities – in addition to devastating impacts on communities, infrastructure, wildlife and livestock. 

Lawyers urge incoming federal government to apply a “climate justice lens” to all statutes

December 7, 2021

I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain

The catastrophic flooding in British Columbia will likely be the most costly climate disaster in Canadian history.

At a time when the human and financial costs of climate change are in such stark relief, it is hard to believe that our federal government is still talking about expanding oil pipeline infrastructure. But if the climate impacts of enabling oilsands expansion aren’t enough, skyrocketing costs, exacerbated by the floods and wildfires themselves, should cause them to pause. 

Photo of kayak in waters by Olden Island
December 2, 2021

This is the third blog in a series about the benefits of marine protected areas (MPAs).

Photo of moonrise over Gil Island, Gitga'at territory, Hartley Bay
November 22, 2021

This is the second blog in a series about the benefits of marine protected areas (MPAs).

As the recent COP26 UN climate negotiations in Glasgow drew to a close, we were heartened to hear new announcements made there on protecting marine spaces. Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador and Panama announced a new “Mega-MPA” spanning from the Galápagos to the Pacific coast of Central America, protecting some of the most productive fisheries in the world.

Freshwater stream on the protected Larmour Lands, Salt Spring Island (Photo: Jean Wilkinson/SSIWPS)
November 17, 2021

What legal options do community members have to protect threatened ecosystems on private property? West Coast’s Access to Justice team helps clients across BC to find innovative solutions – including unique legal arrangements that can preserve healthy lands and waters for the long term.

Photo of report card grading BC's Roadmap to 2030 Climate Plan
November 16, 2021

In late October, the BC government unveiled its long-awaited climate plan, Roadmap to 2030, to tumultuous … criticism.