News from West Coast Environmental Law

Today’s share is a newsletter email from West Coast Environmental Law:

Dear Eldy,

We’ve been keeping you in the loop about proposed changes to the Fisheries Act that will have major implications for the protection of fish and fish habitat, and to date the efforts of countless Canadians (signing petitions, sending letters to the government) have held these amendments at bay. However, we have now learned that the federal government intends to bring these changes – that could affect the survival of iconic Canadian species like salmon – into force on November 25th. Please join us in a telephone town hall on November 21st to learn more about the amendments and what you can do.

Also this month: take action by December 8th on BC’s (in)action on cosmetic pesticide use; BC’s and Alberta’s supposed ‘deal’ to build tar sands oil pipelines; in depth analysis on BC’s proposed Water Sustainability Act and what it really means for nature and BC’s communities; and 2 exciting opportunities for law students.


Changes to Canada’s Fisheries Act and what they mean for fish – please join us on November 21st

Now more than ever, our fish need your help ensuring they are protected.

Please join our Telephone Town Hall on Thursday November 21st at 7:30 pm with former Fisheries Minister John Fraser, biologist Dr. Ken Ashley and West Coast lawyers Anna Johnston and Jessica Clogg to learn more about impending changes to the Fisheries Act and what they mean for fish and fish habitat. NOTE: You must register by noon tomorrow (Wednesday November 20) to participate.

  • Click here to register for the Telephone Town Hall on November 21st at 7:30 pm.
  • Click here to learn more about what gutting Canada’s fisheries law means for fish and what needs to be done to protect our fish and waters.
  • Protection of fish and fish habitat are not the only things at risk because of these changes to the Fisheries Act click here to read an op-ed by West Coast Environmental Law staff lawyer Anna Johnston on how Canada is gutting its international reputation by gutting its environmental laws.

Say no to cosmetic pesticide use before December 8th

Two years ago Premier Christy Clark promised that the province would ban cosmetic pesticide use – pesticide use on lawns and ornamental plants. West Coast and British Columbians have repeatedly called for a ban on cosmetic pesticides, but nonetheless the BC government has unveiled (and is consulting the public on until December 8th) rules that will allow lawn care companies to apply pesticides for cosmetic purposes. It’s time to remind Premier Clark of her promise of a province-wide ban on cosmetic pesticides.

  • Click here for more information on the current consultations and to send a message to the Ministry of Environment and the Premier to tell them that you “say no to cosmetic pesticide use”.

BC is (still) not for sale

In early November, Alberta and BC held a joint press conference at which Alberta Premier Alison Redford agreed in principle to BC Premier Christy Clark’s five pre-conditions for supporting tar sands tankers and pipelines in BC. The only thing this announcement appears to have changed is that Alberta has accepted that BC may seek to negotiate with the oil patch for additional economic benefits for allowing new pipelines to transport tar sands oil across BC’s rivers and through our coastal ecosystems. The underlying issues that have led to such staunch public opposition to tar sands tankers and pipelines in BC, however, remain as unresolved as ever. In addition, neither the Enbridge or Kinder Morgan proposals have actually met any of Premier Clark’s five pre-conditions and the BC government already issued a scathing rejection of the Enbridge proposal in its final argument to the Joint Review Panel this summer.

  • Click here to read more about how the Alberta-BC announcement does not move tar sands tanker and pipeline projects any closer to reality in BC.
  • Click here for an article in The Province quoting West Coast staff on the many barriers to Enbridge’s proposal ever being built.
  • Click here for an inspiring video about what it looks like when Canadians in communities across Canada come together to #DefendOurClimate.

Wanted: a truly sustainable Water Sustainability Act

So what’s in the BC government’s proposed Water Sustainability Act? Well, regulating groundwater and increased requirements to consider water for nature are positives. But in many other ways the Act doesn’t really live up to the promise of “sustainability.” The final legislation is supposed to be introduced in Spring 2014, and in the meantime West Coast along with others will continue to advocate for a strengthened Water Sustainability Act.

  • Read how the proposal focuses on private benefits from water, at the expense of environmental flows and other public benefits.
  • Read about how, under the proposed Act, current water use trumps protection for water for nature.
  • Read about how the proposed Act will lock in unsustainable ground-water use.
  • Read about what the proposed Act says, and doesn’t say, about Hydraulic Fracturing (Fracking).

Looking for a few good law students

West Coast has exciting opportunities for law students who are passionate about environmental and Aboriginal law!

We’re currently recruiting law student volunteers for summer 2014 (deadline December 15, 2013), and we are seeking law students who are keen on social media to audition to participate in Twitter Moot 2014 on February 28, 2014 – our 3rd ground-breaking social media competition/public education event for law students (deadline December 6, 2013).

  • Click here to learn how to audition for Twitter Moot 2014, and click here for more information about Twitter Moot 2014.
  • Click here to learn more about being a West Coast law student volunteer.

This was a newsletter full of vitally important information for those of us who care about the environment and what is being done to solve the problems.  I hope everyone takes the time to follow their links to read all of the articles.

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