This Week Was Bonkers

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From offshore oil to oil that's trying to get offshore — it was a big week.

We found out that the nasty "bloodwater" dump on the B.C. coast did contain fish viruses after all, confirming conservationists' fears.

We got a first look at the overhaul of the Fisheries Act gutted by the Harper government in 2012 — and the consensus is, it's good.

We shared the story of an intrepid scientist behind an epic trek to document leakage at gas wells in B.C.'s northeast.

We found out the mining company behind one of the largest environmental disasters in Canadian history will not face provincial charges.

We explained what's really going on with Alberta's boycott of B.C. wine.

While all this was happening, the federal government quietly approved a BP deepwater oil drilling project off Nova Scotia.


...and so much more. Seriously. Good luck scrolling all the way to the bottom.

Here’s What Alberta’s Wine Boycott is Really About

By Emma Gilchrist

No, it wasn’t a weird dream, Alberta actually announced a boycott of B.C. wine on Tuesday.

The announcement by Premier Rachel Notley is just the latest move in an inter-provincial spat over the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline, which would carry oil from Alberta to B.C.

You could be excused for being a bit confused by how we got to this point. How did a discussion about oil spill risk and pipelines so quickly degenerate into one about non-existent electricity negotiations and alcohol? What is this really about? What’s fact and what’s fiction? Read more.

New Fisheries Act Reverses Harper-era ‘Gutting’

By James Wilt

Canada’s fishery laws are back — well, on the first step to being back, at least. On Tuesday morning, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Dominic LeBlanc officially announced the introduction of a heavily amended Fisheries Act, the key piece of legislation that was gutted in 2012 by the federal Conservatives. And fishery law experts are thrilled. Read more.

‘Bloodwater’ Released into B.C.’s Coastal Water Contains Deadly Fish Virus, Government Tests Confirm

By Carol Linnitt

Laboratory testing by the B.C. government has confirmed tens of thousands of litres of bloody effluent released into the ocean from two fish processing plants contained a dangerous virus prevalent in farmed Atlantic salmon in B.C.

Two fish processing facilities that service the farmed fish industry, the Brown’s Bay Packing plant near Campbell River and the Lions Gate Fisheries plant in Tofino, were inspected by the province in early December and laboratory results confirmed the presence of piscine reovirus (PVR), the B.C. Ministry of Environment told DeSmog Canada. Read more.

This Vigilante Scientist Trekked Over 10,000 Kilometres to Reveal B.C.’s Leaking Gas Wells By Emma Gilchrist

If you’d met John Werring four years ago, he wouldn’t have been able to tell you what an abandoned gas well looked like.

“We had no idea whether they were even accessible,” said the registered professional biologist.

That was before the summer of 2014, when he headed up to Fort St. John, B.C., on a reconnaissance mission. At that time, much was known about leaking gas wells in the United States, but there was very little data on Canada. Read more.

The Weaver-Horgan LNG Kerfuffle Explained

By Judith Lavoie

We take a step back and look at what the debate over LNG is really about and why it's created such a firestorm. Read more.

Did BC Hydro Execs Mislead Public About Cost of Site C Dam?

By Sarah Cox

BC Hydro executives have mismanaged the Site C dam’s overall budget and cost control process, and they are “not capable” of accurate estimates or controlling costs on the $10.7 billion project, according to an affidavit filed this week by former BC Hydro CEO Marc Eliesen.

“The necessary experience and due diligence rigour required for managing a major hydro project such as Site C is deficient among the executive at BC Hydro,” says Eliesen in the affidavit, noting that it has been more than 30 years since BC Hydro constructed a major generating station. Read more.

It’s Official: No Provincial Charges for Mount Polley Mine Spill, One of Largest Environmental Disasters in Canadian History

By Carol Linnitt

When it seemed clear the newly minted B.C. NDP government would not pursue charges against Imperial Metals, owner and operator of the Mount Polley mine, for a 2014 tailings pond collapse, Bev Sellars decided to take matters into her own hands. But this week B.C.’s Crown Prosecution Service quashed the case, saying there wasn’t enough evidence to proceed. Read more.

‘We’re Under Assault’: Feds Quietly Approve Deepwater Oil Drilling Off Nova Scotia

By James Wilt

While much of the country’s attention was focused on the rapidly escalating stand-off between Alberta and British Columbia over the Trans Mountain pipeline this week, another major environmental announcement went largely unnoticed.

On Thursday, the federal government quietly approved BP Canada’s plan to drill up to seven deep exploration wells off the coast of Nova Scotia between 2018 and 2022. Read more.

‘This Might Get Nasty’: Why The Kinder Morgan Stand-Off Between Alberta and B.C. is a Zero-Sum Game

By James Wilt

The stand-off between Alberta and British Columbia over the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline seems to grow in intensity by the minute. DeSmog Canada chatted with David Moscrop — a political theorist, postdoctoral fellow at Simon Fraser University and regular contributor to Maclean’s magazine — about the unfolding situation. Read more.

Site C Dam Decision Causes Friction Within NDP Ranks Ahead of Provincial Council Meeting

By Sarah Cox

When B.C. cabinet members arrived at the NDP’s provincial council meeting on Saturday in New Westminster, they faced a group of “very concerned” delegates and party members who are urging the government to reconsider its decision to proceed with the Site C dam.

“We’re not going to let this rest,” said Jef Keighley, vice-president of the Surrey South NDP constituency association. “The NDP campaigned on the whole concept of transparency so let’s be transparent.” Read more.

Canada’s Offshore Petroleum Boards Under Fire for Conflict of Interest

By James Wilt

Rumoured changes to the way the federal government makes decisions about offshore oil and gas projects have fishermen and environmentalists crying foul on Canada’s East Coast.

“This is more than what the oil companies would have got under Stephen Harper,” Fitzgerald, director of Sierra Club Canada's Atlantic region chapter, told DeSmog Canada. Read more.

Fish Farm Lowballed Number of Escaped Atlantic Salmon, Misled Regulator: Report

By Christopher Pollon

It’s been a nightmarish year for Washington State’s only active Atlantic salmon farming company — Canada’s Cooke Aquaculture Inc.

On Tuesday, a Cooke subsidiary was found responsible for an August 2017 fish farm mishap that released up to 263,000 Atlantic Salmon into Washington’s Puget Sound — in addition to misleading the public and regulators about the cause, and lowballing the number of fish that escaped. Read more.

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