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August 2011

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

In this issue we share our first-hand experience visiting the tar sands (it literally does stink there!). We have also shared a few environmental law alerts on issues that affect British Columbians, as well as a useful tool we have created to protect BC’s watersheds. Happy summer reading!


The tar sands stink. Literally.

West Coast lawyer Josh Paterson recently went to Alberta to witness first hand what’s happening in the tar sands. After reporting it was even worse than he expected, West Coast is more adamant than ever that job number one is for us to protect BC’s coast and our rivers from the risk of oil spills.

  • Read Josh’s description of how seeing and smelling the tar sands in person was an eye-opening (and nose-closing) experience.


Halalt First Nation court win raises fundamental questions about water management

West Coast is proud to have supported the Halalt First Nation in their successful challenge to the proposed pumping of water from the Chemainus Aquifer. This Court decision quashes society’s assumption that we can log right down to the edge of one water source because there are always more clean sources of water the public can turn to.

  • Click here to read about what this court decision says about the way our government manages our water.


BC is (still) not enforcing its environmental laws

Data quietly released in BC’s cool, new searchable environmental enforcement database reveals that fewer and fewer people are being convicted of environmental offences. West Coast’s analysis demonstrating that 2010 had the lowest number of environmental convictions since prior to 1990 appeared on the front page of the Victoria Times Colonist.


BC’s environmental assessment process slammed

Two recent reports have criticized BC’s Environmental Assessment process.  A study by Mark Haddock on behalf of the Northwest Institute for Bioregional Research (funded by our Environmental Dispute Resolution Fund) exposes the weaknesses of the provincial assessment of the controversial Prosperity Mine.  And BC’s Auditor General, in a hard-hitting audit, found that the province does not do a good job of tracking what happens after an environmental assessment is completed.

  • Click here for our environmental law alert explaining the Auditor General’s conclusion.
  • Click here to learn about the fundamental differences and weaknesses in the environmental assessment processes for Prosperity Mine.


West Coast's Watershed Guide is now a Wiki!

Our popular BC Guide to Watershed Law and Planning has been updated and re-launched as a “Wiki.”  If you’re looking to understand how BC’s laws and policies can help protect our watersheds, check it out!  Or if you’re a lawyer with expertise in this area, consider registering so that you can help us keep the wiki up to date.

  • Click here to visit the new BC Guide to Watershed Law and Planning Wiki.


IN THIS ISSUE

The tar sands stink. Literally.

Halalt First Nation court win raises fundamental questions about water management

BC is (still) not enforcing its environmental laws

BC’s environmental assessment process slammed

West Coast's Watershed Guide is now a Wiki!
 

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