Posts in Category: Environmental Issues

No Coal Mine Disaster for the Comox Valley

Company unable to answer questions about how much water it would take to wash metallurgical coal, or where the company plans to get the water.

Home of world famous Fanny Bay oysters

About 140 bird species have been recorded at Fanny Bay. The tidal areas are visited by many waterfowl, shorebird species, bald eagles and osprey. Spring herring spawns attract sea lions to Fanny Bay on Vancouver Island. California and Steller’s sea lions come to the area around Boyle Point to feed on huge schools of herring found in Baynes Sound during the winter. The Steller sea lion has attracted considerable attention in recent decades due to significant, unexplained declines in their numbers over a large portion of their range. Steller sea lions are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. The mine would increase not only future GHG emissions by unsequestering 44 million tons of carbon over its projected operation, but if allowed, would have a massive and deleterious impact on the biodiversity and watertable of the entire region.

BCEN Call for Ban on Sour Gas and Unconventional Natural Gas Extraction

British Columbia Environmental Network Proposed Resolution

“WHEREAS extensive environmental and health damages are being caused to the Residents of Peace River Area, their animals, their water and their livelihoods by sour gas wells, pipeline malfunctions, and leaks due to the sour gas industry,

“WHEREAS extensive environmental and health damages are caused by horizontal drilling and high pressure hydrofracturing gas extraction techniques due to the contamination of water, soil and air by the toxic chemicals used in drilling and fracturing, and the naturally occurring toxic chemicals brought to the surface from deep in the ground,

“WHEREAS these environmental and human and animal health damages will have damaging economic consequences on agricultural and residential property use and value, and on farming, tourism, forestry, schools and ecological and recreational businesses,

“WHEREAS the infrastructure costs of building and repairing roads, water treatment facilities, and other public services would far exceed any economic benefit to local communities, and

“WHEREAS it is yet to be proven that the green house effects of the production and use of natural gas produced by horizontal drilling and hydrofracturing are any less than those of the production and use of coal when the life cycle emissions of natural gas production and the higher impact of methane as a green house gas are taken into account.

“Be It Resolved that the British Columbia Environmental Network calls on the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia to enact a ban on permitting sour gas wells on Peace River Farmland and on unconventional gas extraction that uses horizontal drilling and hydro-fracturing to explore, mine, or extract gas in the Province of British Columbia.”
Will Koops Hydrofrack

Stop Fracking BC

Federal government gets extension to reply to Burns Bog lawsuit

Stop South Fraser Perimeter Road Petition
The government was given until Jan. 24, 2011 to file a statement of defence to the society’s legal action concerning the South Fraser Perimeter Road project. The government initially had a month to reply to the bog society’s lawsuit filed a few weeks ago alleging Ottawa violated a conservation covenant to protect the bog.

On Novermber 24th Burns Bog launched a lawsuit about the South Fraser Perimeter Road. This road, if built as planned, would go through two wetlands (Burns Bog and Surrey Bend Park), at least three known archaeology sites (Glenrose, St. Mungo’s and Nottingham Farm), and would cross over 100 streams and creeks.

The South Fraser Perimeter Road has been controversial from the get- go, with many people saying it is not needed. Hundreds of homes in Delta and Surrey have already been demolished for this project, let’s hope this lawsuit stops the freeway before any more damage can happen.

Nanoose Bay’s DL 33 Forest Wetlands Logging Permit Signed

Nanoose Bay “The unthinkable has happened,” said Annette Tanner, Wilderness Committee spokesperson. “By signing off the cutting permit for the endangered forest, one bureaucratic error is now being buried by a second bureaucratic error, that could see the end of one of the last stands of public Coastal Douglas-fir forests in the province.”

“The Ministry of Environment failed to identify this forest as a Coastal Douglas-fir forest (CDFmm) which meant that instead of being included in the Provincial Government’s recent Land Use Order to protect the remaining CDFmm forests on public land, as these forests are in high risk of extinction, the decision for the future of this forest was shuffled off to the Ministry of Forest for logging,” said Tanner.
“We are also alarmed that the approval for logging was granted before the Forest Practice Board’s investigation into three complaints launched by the public that address sustainability issues for that forest,” said Tanner.

DL 33 lies within the boundaries of the Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere reserve. ( www. ) The connection with the biosphere is significant. The UNESCO designated Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Reserve is one of 15 in Canada and over 500 world wide. The mandate is to be a model of sustainability with an emphasis on the protection of biological diversity. This brings the Federal Government into the picture as they are signatories to the Convention on Biological Diversity. British Columbia also signed on as a province. The province will respond that they set aside 1600 hectares but research has revealed this to be a scam with very little in the way of older forests with the potential to regenerate or protect ecological values any time soon.

The biologist reviewing the cutting plans for the RPF suggested that the block shouldn’t be cut. A biologist for the ministry of forests suggested that the block shouldn’t be cut. The Forest Practices board has problems with it being cut. The Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities passed an emergency resolution asking that DL33 be spared. The Regional District of Nanaimo passed a unanimous resolution to protect DL33. The Town of Qualicum and City of Parksville, are opposed. Scott Fraser the MLA has raised DL33 in the BC legislature. This is public land and it is a total affront and a devious ploy to be making the First Nations the fall guys (faller guys) for destroying their cultural heritage.

With files from Phil Carson and Annette Tanner. For information: 250 752-6585 or cell 240-7470.

For background, go to

Agriculture Based Fundraiser to Help Save the Peace River Valley

An agriculture based fundraiser took place in the Peace River valley last summer along Highway 29 at Bear Flat. All proceeds from a 20 acre oat crop were donated to Peace Valley Environment Association to help in the fight to stop the proposed Site C Dam. All equipment use, input cost and land rent were donated by Ken and Arlene Boon, Nick Parsons and Ardill Ranch. Numerous people also donated funds to PVEA to support preserving local agriculture.
A total of $4,285.00 was raised, not bad considering the drought conditions. A similar project is planned for this coming season.
Photo of Nick Parsons combining. Due to large numbers of grasshoppers, the makeshift contraption on front of combine pick up is to encourage them to jump out of the way and not end up in the hopper.

The unique agricultural lands of the Peace River Valley have an enormous potential to increase BC’s food self-reliance… at least 42 vegetables can be commercially grown in the valley.

Although a recent survey indicates that 91% of British Columbians feel it is important for BC to “produce enough food so [it doesn’t] have to depend on imports from other places”, BC continues to rely on imports for approximately 50% of its food supply.

The Peace River Valley contains a substantial amount of exceptional agricultural land, especially on its lower terraces. Approximately 10% of the valley is classified as premium Class 1 agricultural land, accounting for the vast majority of Class 1 land in Northern BC. Approximately 50% of the valley is classified as Class 2 land. Much of this Class 2 land would have agricultural capabilities equivalent to Class 1 land if irrigated.

The Peace River Valley’s climate is among the best in Canada for agriculture. Less than 1% of Canada’s total land base has the Class 1 climate of the Peace River Valley. The valley contains the only Class 1 climate in Northern BC.

Approximately 5340 ha of the Peace River Valley’s land would be flooded by Site C’s reservoir, over 1000 ha of additional land would be impacted by the project’s construction site and transmission line, and additional lands would be marginalized due to sloughing. At least 60% of the land which would be flooded by Site C’s reservoir has an agricultural capability class rating of 1 and 2; and at least 74% has a rating of 1 to 3.

“BC Hydro has suppressed our top-notch agricultural resources in Northeastern BC by buying up land reserve and consequently killing off the market gardens that used to flourish in the valley,” says Project Manager and Professional Biologist Brian Churchill. “The flooding from Site C would take these amazing fields off the map and put them under water. However, if Site C is stopped, once and for all, farmers could reinvest in vegetable crops, and BC residents would have a reliable local food source that actually grows with climate change.”

Victory in the Southern Ocean for the Whales

It’s official – The Japanese whaling fleet has called it quits in the Southern Ocean. At least for this season. If they return next season the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society will be ready to resume our efforts to obstruct and disable Japanese whaling operations.

“The Nisshin Maru made a significant course change immediately after the Japanese government made it official that the whaling fleet has been recalled.” Said Captain Alex Cornelissen from the Bob Barker. “She looks like she’s going home!”

Australia Conservationists and the Australian government say they are not satisfied with Japan’s suspension of whaling in Antarctic waters and vow to continue their separate campaigns to force a permanent end to the hunt.

“Major cracks are now forming on Japan’s Policy to Slaughter Whales in the Antarctic. I think we are now witnessing the end of whaling in the southern hemisphere. Lets hope!”–Greenpeace Founder, Rod Marining

Australian Environment Minister Tony Burke said Thursday that the country would continue to pursue its case in the International Court of Justice to have whaling banned.

“This is a great victory for the whales,” said Captain Paul Watson, “but we did not do this alone. Without the support of the people of Australia and New Zealand we would not have been able to send voyages out for seven seasons from Australian and New Zealand ports. We are grateful to Senator Bob Brown and the Australian Green Party. We are very grateful to Bob Barker for giving us the ship that turned the tide in our efforts to force the Japanese fleet from these waters. We are grateful to all our shore volunteers and our supporting members. We are grateful to the Chilean Navy and the government of France for their support. It is a very happy day for people everywhere who love whales and our oceans.”

Welcome to the British Columbia Environmental Network

The time has arrived when we must begin to examine the underlying realities of our relationship to all life around us, the life that we are just beginning to appreciate as the true medium of our innermost identity. We need to move neither further to the Left nor further to the Right – rather, we must seriously begin to inquire into the rights of rabbits and turnips, the rights of soil and swamp, the rights of the atmosphere, and ultimately the rights of the planet. For those in the end are the containers of our entire future evolution, and everything else rests upon whether or not we come to terms with the politics of Earth and sky, evolution and transformation, God and nature. Otherwise, in our lifetimes, we shall suffer the enactment of the saga of Genesis, our expulsion from paradise and the fall of nature itself.

-Robert Hunter

Warriors of the Rainbow –


Lobbyists need 2-year ‘cooling off’

Rule would avoid potential conflicts if they switch to politics: ethics watchdog

Glen McGregor

The Ottawa Citizen

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Lobbyists such as prominent Ottawa Liberal candidate Richard Mahoney should be required to serve “cooling off” periods when they enter politics to avoid conflicts of interest, says a public interest group that argues for ethics reform in government.

Ottawa-based Democracy Watch wants federal ethics rules tightened to require anyone who gets paid to influence public policy as a lobbyist to wait two years before moving into a job that could affect former clients.

Mr. Mahoney “shouldn’t be able to take on any position on any committee, or vote on anything in the House or take part in any discussion affecting any issue about which he was lobbying,” says the group’s co-ordinator, Duff Conacher.

“You should know that, if you’re a lobbyist and going to run for office, you’re getting in there, but you’re not going to have any power for two years.”

Mr. Conacher was responding to a report that Mr. Mahoney last week registered to lobby the federal government on behalf of Toronto-based Canadian Satellite Radio (CSR), one of three companies that won CRTC approval for the new broadcast format.

Mr. Mahoney is the nominated Liberal candidate in Ottawa Centre. A friend of Prime Minister Paul Martin’s, he is expected to be offered a cabinet post should he win the seat and his party form a government in the next federal election.

The code of conduct requires public office holders to wait one year after leaving their jobs before working with anyone in government with whom they had “direct and significant official” dealings. The cooling-off period is two years for cabinet ministers.

But there is no such prohibition on former lobbyists moving into cabinet or committee posts that craft policy affecting the companies that once paid them.

“It has to go both ways,” Mr. Conacher said. “Otherwise, the principles of the code are not upheld.” He said the change should also be adopted in the ethics code for MPs.

Mr. Conacher pointed to the example of Industry Minister David Emerson, who, before running for the Liberals, was the top executive at Canfor, a major B.C. forestry company. In cabinet, Mr. Emerson now has responsibilities that directly affect his former company, including contentious issues involving the softwood lumber trade dispute, Mr. Conacher said.

Mr. Mahoney’s registration with CSR was effective Oct. 4, but according to one published report, he was lending “support” to the company well before then.

The Globe and Mail reported on Sept. 12 that CSR chairman John Bitove had the support of “well-placed Ottawa lobbyists,” including Mr. Mahoney and David Herle, another Martin adviser.

The company was working to win cabinet approval for the CRTC licence and Canadian content requirements that were set lower than those for traditional radio broadcasters.

Mr. Herle, a communications consultant, said yesterday that the Globe story mischaracterized his role, because he has never worked as a lobbyist for CSR or anyone else.

Lobbyists are required to register with Industry Canada within 10 days of taking on a client, but it is possible Mr. Mahoney was simply performing duties for CSR that did not require him to register under the lobbyist act. He could not be reached for comment yesterday.

The Martin government is under political pressure to crack down on unregistered lobbying in the wake of the David Dingwall affair. Before he became head of the Royal Canadian Mint, Mr. Dingwall had received a $350,000 contingency fee after lobbying for an Ontario biotechnology company that landed a grant from Industry Canada’s Technology Partnerships Canada program.

Mr. Emerson this week said he wants to see the government official responsible for the lobbyist registry given greater independence and enforcement resources to stop unregistered lobbying.

John Duffy, another Martin adviser who was also registered to lobby on behalf of CSR, said yesterday he did not know Mr. Mahoney was also working on the file until he read it in the newspaper.

But Mr. Duffy said he was aware that another member of Mr. Mahoney’s firm, Fraser Milner Casgrain, was lobbying for CSR. Cyrus Reporter, a former aide to cabinet minister Allan Rock and one-time member of the Martin transition team, registered with CSR in July.

One of Mr. Mahoney’s future opponents yesterday called on him to sever his ties with the company.

“Either Richard Mahoney knows something that the rest of us don’t about the timing of the next election, or he’s showing bad political judgment,” the nominated Conservative candidate in Ottawa Centre, Keith Fountain, said in a statement.

“If he wants this election to be about ideas and not lobbying scandals, he needs to cancel that lobbying contract.”

British Columbia Environmental Network