Environmental Laws

Statutes and regulations, federal and provincial

Energy East Pipeline v Belugas, Part 2

The threatened white beluga whales of the St. Lawrence or high-noise pipeline work? Earlier this month we blogged about Justice Claudine Roy’s decision granting a temporary injunction to environmental groups, blocking Energy East Pipeline Ltd. and TransCanada Pipelines Ltd. from conducting exploratory work in the St. Lawrence River near Cacouna, QC until October 15, when a…

U.S. Pentagon: Climate Change an Immediate Security Threat

The U.S. Pentagon’s latest report, the 2014 Climate Change Adaptation Roadmap, calls climate change an immediate threat to national security. The forward, by U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, sets the tone: “Rising global temperatures, changing precipitation patterns, climbing sea levels, and more extreme weather events will intensify the challenges of global instability, hunger, poverty, and conflict. They will…

Fossil fuel divestment catching on?

Is the tide turning on fossil fuel divestment? Climate Week featured promises, by some big mainstream investors, to start divesting from fossil fuels. Notable announcements included the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, which was built on the Standard Oil fortune. Europe has more than nine fossil fuel divestment campaigns underway. And now Bank of England governor, Mark…

New Biodiversity Treaty in effect this week

Fair sharing of biodiversity: The Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization, under the United Nations Convention on Biodiversity (CBD), enters into force this week. The Protocol is an international environmental agreement intended to ensure that those, who share access to genetic resources and associated traditional…

Quebec Court Recognizes Precautionary Principle for Belugas

Quebec Superior Court Justice Claudine Roy granted a temporary injunction on September 23, 2014, stopping Energy East Pipeline Ltd. and TransCanada Pipelines Ltd. from conducting exploratory work in the St. Lawrence River near Cacouna, QC until October 15, after a critical period for beluga whale reproduction has passed. The injunction was sought by environmental groups…

Powerful reports by environmental commissioners

Congratulations to both the federal and provincial environmental commissioners, who continue to strenuously remind our governments how far they fall short on environmental stewardship, and who both issued powerful reports this week. Bees, Algonquin Park, “Chemical Alley”, urban sprawl, climate change, weak environmental assessment, inadequate commitment to environmental monitoring in the oil sands: there is no…

Can municipal bylaw stop Hydro One Transformer Station?

Can the Municipality of Clarington, Ontario, by bylaw, force Hydro One to submit a groundwater study in order to build a $296 million transformer station, that has been directed to be built by the Ontario Power Authority, and approved by the Ministry of the Environment?

Ontario Targets for Greenhouse Gas Emissions

The Ontario government has released its Climate Change Update 2014 to coincide with Climate Week that was held in New York City from September 21-28. Climate Week involved mass gatherings to demonstrate the public demand for action on climate change, as well as roundtables highlighting the latest strategies to reduce our carbon footprint, all leading up…

Ontario Anti-SLAPP law soon after all?

Yesterday,  we noted that Environment Minister Glen Murray’s mandate letter includes no reference to a new anti-SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit against Public Participation) law: http://envirolaw.com/environment-minister-murrays-mandate-letter/, even though SLAPPs are often directed against environmental protection groups.  A faithful reader has helpfully pointed out that, thankfully, that is because bringing the anti-SLAPP law back to the Legislature is mandated to…

Environment Minister Murray’s mandate letter

Every Cabinet minister gets his or her marching orders from the Premier or Prime Minister. These “mandates” used to be top secret, but Ontario now makes them public. Here is the mandate letter for the new Minister of Environment and Climate Change, with our emphasis added. On environmental legislation, note the commitment to reintroducing the…

Port Authority biased in approving coal port?

This month, Ecojustice filed an application for judicial review of the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority’s decision to permit a coal transfer facility. They claim that the Port Authority failed to consider some environmental effects, including climate change, and that the decision of the Port and its officers and staff was affected by bias. Bias is a serious…

Urban Forests Across Canada Valued at $51B

TD Bank issued a report on September 24, 2014, providing an economic valuation of urban forests in the greater Halifax, Montreal and Vancouver areas, estimating that these forests contain more than 100 million trees which carry an estimated worth of $51 billion (Halifax: $11.5B; Montreal: $4.5B; Vancouver: $35B). TD claims that for each dollar spent…

Herbicide Spray Drift a “Normal” Farm Practice?

Organic farmers in Nova Scotia filed a lawsuit against a neighbouring farm for damages allegedly caused by a herbicide which drifted onto their property. In particular, the plaintiffs claimed that the herbicide caused damage to their crops, the miscarriage of four horses, and personal injury. The defendant farmer claimed immunity under section 10(1) of Nova…