Note: Its no surprise to anyone paying attention that the Harper government’s aggressive resource extraction agenda is harming Canadian people – disproportionately First Nations – and ecosystems. While this new report calls for a ‘boom’ in environmental regulation to match the ‘boom’ in resource development, maybe the Harper government should instead look to the ‘boom’ in eco-defense and resistance. The real answers lie in Idle No More; the Innu defending their land against Hydro Quebec and Plan Nord; the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation fighting against tar sands; Sarnia fighting against Enbridge’s tar sands pipeline; Barriere Lake Algonquin fighting illegal logging…Canadians are standing up everywhere to advance a different agenda that protects the rights of First Nations, ecosystems and communities.
-The GJEP Team
By Shawn McCarthy, February 5, 2013. Source: The Globe and Mail
The Harper government is failing to protect Canadians’ health and environment from the pollution risks associated with the resource industry boom across the country, the Federal Environment Commissioner said in a report to Parliament.
In a series of audits released Tuesday, Commissioner Scott Vaughan pointed to several shortcomings, including the absence of regulations for toxic chemicals used by the oil industry and the lack of preparedness for major tanker accidents off the West Coast or for catastrophic oil spills on the East Coast.
Mr. Vaughan said Ottawa continues to subsidize the oil industry despite a commitment to the G20 to end such support. However, the government is dramatically scaling back its support, and is reviewing outdated liability limits that could leave taxpayers on the hook for billions of dollars after a major accident.
The environmental auditor said Ottawa needs far more vigorous enforcement to keep pace with the anticipated growth in investments in pipelines, offshore drilling, oil-sands development, shale-gas production and mining, though opposition critics have accused the government of slashing environmental assessments in recent budget bills.
Filed under Actions / Protest, Climate Change, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Hydrofracking, Idle No More, Illegal logging, Indigenous Peoples, Mining, Oceans, Oil, Tar Sands, Waste, Water
28 September, 2012. Source: RT
Photo: RIA Novosti / Petr Malinovskiy
A pulp and paper mill located on the UNESCO-protected Lake Baikal could soon be closed, said Vice-Premier Arkady Dvorkovich. It’s the latest official promise to end its 46 year pollution of the world’s largest fresh water lake.
“Though many such plants are working, most likely, the mill will have to be closed,” Dvorkovich said.
The Baikal pulp and paper mill is currently in the hands of receivers, as it has debts of 1.9bln roubles. But financial situation won’t be the only or first issue to be considered before a final decision is made.
The issue of closing down the mill located next to one of the most ecologically precious sites has been subject to heated debate for a long time. On the one hand, the mill’s been dumping waste into the lake since it started operating in 1966. On the other, about 15,000 people living in the town Baikalsk are somehow connected with the mill.
By Camilla Mortensen, September 26, 2012. Source: EugeneWeekly.com
Cascadia Forest Defenders are probably most know for tree sits and occupying government offices — most recently over logging in the Elliott State Forest, but when it comes to logging, mills and biomass plants are a part of the equation, so today CFD is occupying a billboard near the Seneca Sawmill/Seneca Sustainable energy plant:
Eugene, OR- This afternoon members of Cascadia Forest Defenders occupied a billboard outside of the West Eugene Seneca Sawmill with a banner that read, “SENECA JONES: BAILOUTS, CLEARCUTS, & POLLUTING WEST EUGENE”.
Seneca Biomass is a wood burning power plant in West Eugene that opened in the spring of 2011 amid public protest. Though the project has been marketed as “green energy,” Seneca Biomass failed its first EPA air pollution test last fall. The plant releases an estimated 17,900 pounds of air toxins into West Eugene Neighborhoods annually —t his in addition to the 73,000 pounds already released annually from the mill itself. There are three schools within three miles of the Seneca Biomass facility.
Filed under Actions / Protest, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests, Forests and Climate Change, Greenwashing, Pollution, The Greed Economy and the Future of Forests
By Terri Hansen August 15, 2012. Source: Indian Country Today
Photo: U.S. Department of Justice website
Treaty fishing rights are meaningless if there are no healthy fish populations left to harvest, say Pacific Northwest tribes, fishers and tribal environmental organizations.
But that is exactly what is happening on the Columbia River in Washington State as habitat degradation has led to a decline of salmon and diminished the treaty harvest to levels not seen in nearly 40 years. And a proposal to transport coal through these sensitive waterways threatens to undermine the salmon population even more, tribal leaders say.
Tribal fishers like Billy Frank Jr. fought hard battles to uphold the tribes’ treaty right to fish. When the 1974 Boldt federal court decision established tribal co-management of Washington State fisheries and affirmed the affected tribes’ treaty rights to half the harvestable salmon, their harvest finally increased.
Now the coal industry is seeking to export millions of tons of Wyoming’s Powder River Basin coal to lucrative Asian markets through six proposed shipping terminals on Oregon and Washington waterways. If the coal companies prevail, it will degrade salmon and cultural-foods habitat as well as affect treaty rights, say organizations like the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission (CRITFC); the National Wildlife Federation’s (NWF) Tribal Lands Program; tribal nations including the Lummi in northwest Washington and the Yakama in eastern Washington, and tribal voices such as Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs elder Bruce Jim.
By Jeff Tollefson, 12 August 2012, Source: Nature
Fires for land clearance, such as this one in Sumatra, are more prevalent in El Niño years, reducing air quality and increasing the number of pollution-related deaths. Photo: Reuters/Corbis
An unexpected link between the climate event El Niño and a rise in the number of deaths in southeast Asia is revealed in research published today in Nature Climate Change1.
El Niño events, which displace warm water into the eastern Pacific Ocean and produce cool waters near Indonesia, exert their effect by suppressing the monsoon rains that usually put a dampener on the use of fire to clear land for agriculture. The resulting additional pollution can account for as many as 15,000 deaths in El Niño years, the study says.“We usually think of deforestation and fires in terms of global carbon emissions, but we are seeing this regional impact on public health as well,” says Miriam Marlier, a graduate student at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in Palisades, New York, who led the study.
The work focused on an area that is home to 540 million people, stretching from Indonesia to the Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand. Marlier and her team used emissions estimates derived from satellite observations for 1997–2006, which they plugged into a pair of atmospheric chemistry models to analyse air pollution in the region.
By Anne Blythe, August 6, 2012. Source: News Observer
In a lawsuit filed in federal district court, the North Carolina Environmental Justice Network, the Waterkeeper Alliance and Neuse Riverkeeper Foundation accuse a Jones County hog farmer of illegally disposing of and discharging animal waste into creeks, rivers, ditches and lands surrounding the farm.
The waterkeepers and environmental activists contend that Taylor Finishing, a hog farm in Trenton, and its owner are violating the federal Clean Water Act and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act — laws governing water pollution and the disposal of solid waste.
The plaintiffs contend that pollution from the farm is endangering people who fish, swim, boat and live along the Trent and Neuse rivers, miles of waterway that empty into the Pamlico Sound south of New Bern.
By Tim Cocks, Aug 5, 2012, Source: Reuters
Photos: Reuters/Akintunde Akinleye
OGONILAND, Nigeria - A bright yellow sign above the well in this sleepy Nigerian village says ‘caution: not fit for use’, and the sulphurous stink off the water that children still pump into buckets sharply reinforces that warning.
“Can you smell it? Don’t get any in your mouth or you’ll be sick,” said Victoria Jiji, 55, as she walked past the bore hole in her home village of Ekpangbala, one of several in Ogoniland, southeast Nigeria, whose drinking water has turned toxic.
Prosperity has flowed from Ogoniland, one of Africa’s earliest crude oil producing areas, for decades. But it has flowed to the big oil companies and to Nigerian state coffers. Locals have long complained that precious little goes their way.
A landmark U.N. report on August 4 last year slammed multinational oil companies, particularly leading operator Royal Dutch Shell, and the government, for 50 years of oil pollution that has devastated this region of the Niger Delta, a fragile wetlands environment.
By Stephen Leahy, August 6, 2012, Source: IPS News
At this Bonaire reef, the olive-green coral is alive, but the mottled-gray coral is dead. Credit: Living Oceans Foundation/IPS
CAIRNS, Australia, Jul 24 2012 (IPS) - Most corals thrive only in shallow waters, where there is enough light for them to grow. But the rapid rise in sea level, due to the melting of polar ice, is making these conditions increasingly scarce.
Measurements from tropical seas around the world reveal that the rise in sea level (3.3 mm/year) is happening at a faster rate than many corals have grown in the past 10,000 years, according to new research released at the 12th International Coral Reef Symposium (ICRS).
“The Caribbean once had 60 percent coral cover, and that has now collapsed to 10 percent,” said Jeremy Jackson, professor emeritus at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in California, in a special address to the symposium, held Jul. 9-13 in Cairns, Australia. “Corals are critical and endangered ecosystems.”
Sea-level rise is just one threat to corals, which have been decimated by overfishing, pollution, and bleaching from warmer sea temperatures due to climate change, Jackson added.
A colorful piece of coral is made up of thousands of tiny animals called polyps, which create cup-like limestone skeletons around themselves using calcium from seawater. Coral gets its beautiful colors from microalgae that live symbiotically with it.