Water issues, including drinking water, source water protection, contamination of surface waters. Groundwater quality issues may also be found under Contaminated Sites

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?

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…

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…

Can the threat of personal liability stop fluoridation?

Opponents of fluoridation have started to threaten councillors with personal liability for fluoridated water, in the hope of changing municipal policy on water treatment. The province created this problem, and they should fix it.

Huge manure spill fines: $120,000 plus surcharge

Two hog farming businesses and a Director must pay manure spill fines of $120,000, plus $30,000 victim fine surcharges, for discharging pig manure into the Thames River and Sweets Creek. The manure impaired the quality of water, contrary to the Ontario Water Resources Act. The individual Director also pleaded guilty and was fined for failing to…

Best practices for wells in Ontario?

Ontario’s Ministry of the Environment continues to adopt “best management practices” documents as guidance for environmental consultants and industries. The proposed draft guidance on Test Holes and Dewatering Wells: Requirements and Best Management Practices Manual is now formally adopted. The Manual also provides a plain language summary of the Wells Regulation (O. Reg. 903/90

Anti-fracking bylaws: US Lawyer wins green Nobel prize

Helen Slottje, a lawyer in Ithaca, New York, was recently awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize for her work “helping towns across New York defend themselves from oil and gas companies by passing local bans on fracking” (the US equivalent of anti-fracking bylaws).  Her legal research concluded that individual townships could use zoning laws, through “home rule”, to…

Ontario Election call kills proposed environmental laws

The Ontario election forced by the NDP has killed three long-awaited proposed environmental laws: the Great Lakes Protection Act, the Waste Reduction Act, and the anti-SLAPP Bill 83, Protection of Public Participation Act, 2014 that the Ontario Bar Association has so long requested. I don’t understand why the NDP let these Bills die before triggering the election.…

Climate change: yes, it’s getting worse fast and it matters

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has issued its Summary for Policy Makers. Based on thousands of scientific studies since 2005 into the growing impacts of climate change, it concludes that key dangerous changes are already underway around the world, and will hurt the poor the most. You should read it, click here. Then demand…

Another small step for environmental research at the Experimental Lakes Area

The long, painful process of rescuing the irreplaceable Experimental Lakes Area of fresh water environmental research has taken another small but essential step. The Ministry of the Environment has made the decision to proceed with  proposed regulations under the Environmental Protection Act (EPA) and Ontario Water Resources Act (OWRA) to create a mechanism to authorize experiments…

Blue Box funding arbitration pleadings

As promised yesterday, here are the  Ontario Blue Box funding arbitration pleadings, that is, the position and opening explanation of each side. The arbitration will decide how much stewards (brand owners) must pay to municipalities for the cost of running Blue Box programs in 2014, under the Waste Diversion Act 2002. The parties are about $19 to…

Ecuador oil pollution claim can try again to collect from Chevron in Canada

Indigenous Ecuadorian villagers can try again to enforce a controversial $18 billion environmental damage award against Texaco (now merged with Chevron Corp., one of the world’s largest corporations) in Canada. This is part of a worldwide legal battle between the villagers, seeking to collect the money and have the pollution cleaned up, and Chevron, which argues that…

Quebec court strikes down municipal anti-fracking bylaw

A Quebec court has struck down a Gaspe municipal bylaw that tried to prevent exploratory oil wells being drilled and fracked uncomfortably close to its drinking water supply. The court ruled that the bylaw was invalid because it prevented Petrolia Inc. from carrying out drilling specifically authorized by the province. 

A film that is worth your time

Congratulations to Canadian filmmaker, Rob Stewart, for his moving and urgent film, Revolution.Click here for the trailer.  It is focussed on the fast -moving threat of ocean acidification, and features spectacular underwater photography. The film came out in the spring, but I did not have a chance to see it until this weekend.