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Now’s our chance for smarter environmental and energy reviews

Right now, we’ve got a once-in-a-generation opportunity to raise our voices for stronger environmental protections. The federal government is reviewing key laws and processes including the environmental assessment process and the National Energy Board.

These changes will impact Canada’s environmental and energy decisions for years to come. Please add your voice. Together we can let our MPs know we care about making these changes!

Let’s make sure Canada fixes the National Energy Board

The NEB review of Kinder Morgan was hopelessly biased towards corporate interests and denied many people the chance to speak. Sierra Club BC’s Credibility Crisis report outlined its many flaws, revealing an industry-captured regulator determined to approve the project.

Right now, the NEB review process makes it almost impossible for community voices to be heard. The NEB has far too much power when it comes to reviewing projects like pipelines. It should respect the rights and authority of Indigenous peoples and work for people, not industry.

You can help make sure upcoming changes to the National Energy Board go far enough to restore public trust in the NEB.

Tell your MP: “Keep Canada’s climate promise and fix the NEB” 

Let’s make sure environmental reviews of pipelines, dams and mines are strong and fair

We also have an opportunity to provide input into the federal environmental assessment review to improve protection of Canada’s natural environment.

It’s time for governments to get serious about climate action by incorporating a scientifically rigorous climate test in environmental assessments. A climate test would analyze greenhouse gas emissions related to a project (both upstream and downstream) and assess whether a proposed new energy project fits within national action towards decarbonization, or if instead it will prevent us from hitting climate targets. It asks “does it make climate change worse?” If the answer is yes, the project doesn’t get built.

Environmental assessments should also advance reconciliation and co-governance with Indigenous peoples, respecting Indigenous rights by engaging communities early in the process.

Tell your MP: “I want a next-generation environmental assessment law for Canada” 

Want to do more?

The federal government has also mandated reviews of other environmental laws. Learn how you can advocate for strengthening Canada’s Fisheries Act and the Navigation Protection Act.

This public comment period closes August 28. To learn more about this process, visit the government’s feedback website.

Want to help take Sierra Club BC’s climate action work to the next level? Sign up to volunteer or become a member today.

Statement from Sierra Club BC on NASA data showing unprecedented increase of global temperatures

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

VICTORIA—In response to new NASA data showing global temperatures are rising faster than measured ever before, Sierra Club BC released the following statement from climate and energy campaigner, Larissa Stendie:

“The data from NASA shows an alarming acceleration of global temperature increase. We are in a state of climate emergency and our governments need to act even more rapidly than previously thought. If our governments goes ahead with just a fraction of the proposed fossil fuel projects we will be contributing in a major way to pushing global temperatures into uncharted, very dangerous territory.

“The B.C. government needs to halt all climate damaging projects until a scientifically rigorous climate test is implemented in environmental assessments. A climate test would ensure that new infrastructure projects would only be approved if they allow us to hit our climate targets, thus helping us move investments towards a post-carbon economy.

“While the B.C. government is currently accepting public input into a new climate action plan, they continue to push an LNG program that is incompatible with the climate emergency we face.”

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The NASA data can be found HERE

Contact:

Larissa Stendie

Climate and Energy Campaigner

Sierra Club BC

(250) 891-8245

Statement from Sierra Club BC on the federal government’s intention to unveil a climate test

Statement from Sierra Club BC on the federal government’s intention to unveil a climate test

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 26, 2016

VICTORIA—Sierra Club BC released the following statement from communications director and acting campaigns director Tim Pearson in response to news that the federal government intends to unveil a climate test next month:

“It’s encouraging news to hear that the federal government plans to unveil a climate test that will be applied to Kinder Morgan’s pipeline, fracked gas exports and other emissions-intensive proposals. A climate test, if done right, can help Canada meet its Paris commitment to keep global warming below 1.5⁰C.

“The federal government, however, needs to show that it stands clearly on the side of curbing emissions. Prime Minister Trudeau has signalled that his priority is to create the social license to get resources, including tar sands oil and fracked gas, to overseas markets. A climate test designed simply to provide cover for projects that will massively increase emissions would betray the climate commitments on which the governing Liberals campaigned and the government’s Paris commitment.

“Sierra Club BC has shown how a robust climate test can be achieved in our report, Blind Spot: the Failure to Consider Climate in British Columbia’s Environmental Assessments. These principles and approaches are easily applied at the national level and should inform the design of a federal climate test.

“Sierra Club BC wrote to the Honourable Stéphane Dion, chair of the Cabinet Committee on Environment, Climate Change and Energy, in November drawing his attention to the report and advocating its implementation at the federal level.

“As outlined in the report, Canada needs to implement climate test that combines scientific rigour with real teeth to deliver measurable progress on emissions reduction and encourage a rapid shift to an economy based on climate-friendly renewable energy sources.”

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A copy of Blind Spot can be downloaded here.

Contact:

Tim Pearson

Communications Director and Acting Campaigns Director

250-896-1556

 

A Chance for Premier Clark to Say No to Kinder Morgan

On Tuesday Jan. 12, B.C. will be making its submission to the National Energy Board (NEB) on the proposed Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain project and we expect her to reject the pipeline and tankers project.

She’s done it before: in May 2013, Christy Clark rejected the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline. This helped pave the way for Prime Minister Trudeau to kill the project once and for all with a tanker ban on the north coast.

Premier Clark has five conditions that must be met before the Province would approve the project. Enbridge does not and can not meet those conditions, and neither can the proposed Kinder Morgan pipeline.

Condition 1: Successful completion of the environmental review process.

The NEB process for this project has been widely criticized as flawed and biased in favour of the proponent. Among other failings, the NEB review process has curtailed public participation, denied participants adequate and timely funding, allowed Kinder Morgan to submit incomplete information and ignore information requests, disallowed the consideration of upstream and downstream impacts, disallowed the consideration of climate and failed to ensure Kinder Morgan’s environmental and risk assessment conformed to best practices. You can read our detailed report on this utterly flawed process here.

Condition 2: World-leading marine oil spill response, prevention and recovery systems for B.C.’s coastline and ocean to manage and mitigate the risks and costs of heavy oil pipelines and shipments.

Condition 3: World-leading practices for land oil spill prevention, response and recovery systems to manage and mitigate the risks and costs of heavy oil pipelines.

A recent study commissioned by the B.C. government showed that effective spill response is impossible much of the time on the B.C. coast.  Even under the best and most accessible of conditions, 10 to 15 per cent clean-up is the industry standard, leaving the rest of the oil behind in the marine ecosystem, poisoning coastal and marine life and the communities that depend upon it. No amount of safety precautions can justify the extreme risk of increasing tanker traffic on B.C.’s coast. The state of land spill response is little better.

Condition 4: Legal requirements regarding Aboriginal and treaty rights are addressed, and First Nations are provided with the opportunities, information and resources necessary to participate in and benefit from a heavy-oil project.

Along the proposed pipeline path, many First Nations peoples have vocally opposed this proposal, including twelve nations who signed an open letter challenging the NEB process. The Tsleil-Waututh Nation went to court in October 2015 to challenge the NEB consultation process, calling it unconstitutional and highlighting rights, title and consultation concerns.

Condition 5: British Columbia receives a fair share of the fiscal and economic benefits of a proposed heavy oil project that reflects the level, degree and nature of the risk borne by the province, the environment and taxpayers.

An oil spill could cost $1.23 billion, that does not include costs associated with health, property, non-tourism businesses, spill response, clean-up, and litigation, nor does it look beyond the lower mainland.

Regardless of the financial cost of oil spill clean-up efforts, it is British Columbians who will live with the consequences. There is no social license for this project. First Nations, Municipalities, unions, scientists, business owners and members of the general public have all stood up against this project.

And there is one more condition, not mentioned in the Premier’s five, that must be considered, especially after the Paris climate talks committed Canada to keeping global warming to 1.5ºC: that is climate.

As part of the environmental assessment process, every energy project must be put to a climate test. It’s a simple question: does it make the climate worse?  If it does, we don’t build it. Simple as that.

The Kinder Morgan pipeline simply cannot pass a climate test. The project would completely undermine our capacity to achieve emissions reduction targets to fulfill international obligations.

Now is the time for the provincial government to demonstrate meaningful climate leadership by clearly opposing Kinder Morgan’s proposal. In its final submission to the NEB, our provincial government  must remember who it works for and what is best for this province. It must say No!

 

For more information:

May 31, 2013 B.C. government news release.

Report: Credibility Crisis: Major flaws threaten credibility of NEB assessment process for Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain tankers and pipeline proposal

 

 

Photo credit: Andrew S. Wright

 

 

 

A tanker ban is within reach

In his federal mandate letters, Prime Minister Trudeau ordered key cabinet ministers to “formalize a moratorium on crude oil tanker traffic on British Columbia’s North Coast.”

Stopping crude oil tanker traffic on the north coast will put an end to Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline for once and for all. This move is undoubtedly due to the years of effort, strength and determination of so many – up and down the coast, across the north, and across the province.

We are closer to victory than we’ve ever been but we are not quite there yet.

It is important to consider exactly how the federal government will formalize the ban.

Environmental groups, First Nations and coastal communities are united in the believing that the ban has to be a permanent, legislated one. It’s the surest way to provide clear and lasting protection from the threat of catastrophic oil spills for this spectacular, abundant part of the world.

Let Prime Minister Justin Trudeau know that you appreciate his commitment to protecting this coast and that a permanent, legislated ban is what’s needed and what British Columbians expect from his government.

Prime Minister Trudeau also instructed cabinet ministers to overhaul Canada’s broken and discredited environmental assessment process.  This is on top of his campaign promise to reassess Kinder Morgan’s pipeline and tankers proposal. Both are welcome moves.

A credible process needs to incorporate meaningful public participation; it needs to respect indigenous rights and it needs to consider every proposal’s greenhouse gas emissions. Building a ‘climate test’ into how we make decisions about energy infrastructure proposals will ensure we only approve projects that do not make climate change worse.

Let Prime Minister Justin Trudeau know, just before he heads to the Paris climate talks, that he has the opportunity to demonstrate real climate leadership by:

  • implementing a legislated oil tanker ban for B.C.’s north coast; and
  • putting the Kinder Morgan pipeline review on hold until an overhauled federal review process considers climate impacts.

It’s time for a new approach to pipelines in Canada that takes our coast and climate change seriously. Because it’s 2015.

 

 

Let’s put the environment on the election map

On October 19, Canadians go to the polls. We want to make sure the environment—and in particular climate change—receives the attention it deserves from federal candidates.

Sierra Club BC has released a report, prepared by the University of Victoria’s highly respected Environmental Law Centre, detailing how British Columbia’s Environmental Assessment (EA) process fails to consider climate change. Blind Spot: The Failure to Consider Climate in British Columbia’s Environmental Assessments also shows how climate considerations can be built into the EA process.

We call it the Climate Test. Projects that fail the test will not proceed, helping B.C. achieve desperately needed emission reductions. LNG terminals and tar sands pipelines, for example, would not pass the test.

The need for a Climate Test is not just a B.C. issue. Other provinces can adopt something similar. And so can the federal government.

Canada’s environmental laws and regulations have been severely weakened, over the last few years. Re-instating, and enforcing, strong environmental laws and strengthening our national environmental review process are crucial steps to climate action.

Climate is not currently being considered in federal reviews of projects such as Enbridge Northern Gateway or Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline and tankers.

Ask your local candidates where they stand: Will they commit to ensuring climate impacts are considered when energy projects such as pipelines are reviewed?

Our election page lays out a number of questions, in addition to the Climate Test, we think local candidates should answer on the environment. It also shows how you can make sure you are registered to vote.

Click here to visit our election page

Let’s talk to our candidates now so we can hold them accountable after the election!

Want to do more? Let the B.C. Government know that the Climate Test needs to be a priority! 

Photo by TJ Watt