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30 January 2015


Pimicikamak Apology Too Little 30 January 2015

Premier Greg Sellinger travelled to Cross Lake January 20th, to apologize to the Pimicikamak who are also members of the Cross Lake Band and of the Northern Flood Agreement First Nations peoples for all the damage caused by the hydro dams up North. Agreements have been reached with many First Nations to address the effects, Selinger said. The province and Manitoba Hydro are committed to continuing to work respectfully with aboriginal people, he added.

Selinger agreed to visit Cross Lake following a six-week occupation of the Jenpeg generation station last fall by Pimicikamak. Protesters had said they wouldn’t leave the grounds of the dam until they received a personal apology from the premier.

“The apology does not fix the past. It does not even fix the present,” Chief Catherine Merrick of Cross Lake said. “Our lands, waters and resources are still a mess. Our people still lack a fair share of the opportunity generated by the river. Our people still have to face debilitating hydro bills.”

The real question is wether the Manitoba government understands that apologizing to a treaty created band is not addressing or apologizing to Pimicikamak? Aboriginal constitutional rights pre-date treaty rights.

View January 26, 2015 The Council of Canadians article
View January 26, 2015 Winnipeg Free Press article
View January 20, 2015 Winnipeg Free Press article
View January 20, 2015 Winnipeg Free Press article
View January 26, 2015 article
View November 28, 2014 CBC News article

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More Oil Means More Spills 30 January 2015

A huge pipeline leak in North Dakota, Thursday January 22nd has contaminated a creek and flowed into the Missouri River in North Dakota. State officials said the leak of 3 million gallons is its biggest-ever spill of “brine,” which in addition to high concentrations of salt often contains trace amounts of heavy metals that can be radioactive.

These kinds of spills can kill vegetation and ruin farmland, have been increasing in Western North Dakota as the state has become a leading oil producer, pumping more than a million barrels of crude a day from the Bakken Shale.

Another spill in Montana has contaminated the drinking water of the town of Glendive, leaking as much as 40,000 gallons of crude and fouled the drinking water of its 6.000 residents. That is two major spills in less than two weeks. The aging Poplar Pipeline that spilled oil into the Yellowstone River in Montana was built with pipe made using faulty welding techniques.

Dependency on oil means more oil to fuel consumption and more spills. More spills mean more environmental impact and more risk to our water and being able to live in a healthy environment. Using aging pipelines to cut costs is putting the public and the environment at risk.

View January 23, 2015 RT News article
View January 22, 2015 Inside Climate News article
View January 21 2015 Huffington Post article
View January 20, 2015 The Tree article
View January 19, 2015 The Salt Lake Tribune article
View December 26, 2014 Calgary Herald article

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Energy East Pipeline Too Many Risks Too Much Impact 30 January 2015

TransCananda’s Energy East pipeline, which is proposed to transport tar sands oil from Alberta to Quebec and New Brunswick, is a major expansion of our fossil fuel infrastructure. Expanding fossil fuel infrastructure leads to more extraction and exports from the tar sands, which facilitates the release of more climate-changing greenhouse gases, like carbon. Releasing more carbon into the atmosphere leads to climate chaos. Energy East is a direct link to the climate crisis, and it’s hitting us right here at home in Manitoba.

The more oil is extracted and transported, the more frequent spills are bound to occur and endanger communities. While certain infrastructures offer some degree of protection, when faulty, the consequences associated with oil spills are devastating.

Over the last few years, Canada’s federal government invested millions of dollars in an attempt to convince an American audience to buy into their expanding fossil fuel projects, even though most Canadians are unconvinced by their leadership’s ability to protect them from oil spills. With the recent pipeline failure in Montana and the diesel spill in Canada’s Saint Lawrence river, citizens have ample reason to have reservations the safety of fossil-fuel related projects.

All monies the Canadian government has put into marketing tar sands, at home and abroad, have been public funds.

View January 20, 2015 The Tree article
View December 22, 2014 Wilderness Committee article
View November 17, 2014 The Council of Canadians article
View October 29, 2014 CTV News article
View Environment Defence report

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Manitoba to Minnesota Transmission Route Selected 17 January 2015

Manitoba Hydro has announced the final preferred route for the new transmission project to Minnesota. The utility will start ‘Round Three’ of public engagement sessions about the project soon, continuing through spring 2015. A new newsletter with map showing the preferred transmission route are now posted on the Hydro website.

The environment act scoping document for the project, which will direct content of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the public reviews, hearings and decision about this transmission project, is currently under public review. It is posted in Manitoba Conservation’s public registry.

Several First Nations are affected by the project, and Aboriginal Consultations through the Manitoba government apparently will not start until the EIS is filed. Several communities, and numerous property owners are also affected. The final route does not use much public land, which are available for treaty land entitlement selections. Some existing road and transmission corridors lands are used for the route. The tall grass prairie preserve in south eastern Manitoba appears to not be affected.

Minister Mackintosh, Conservation and Water Stewardship, is responsible for the regulatory process and final decision about the transmission project. He will need the outcomes from the CEC hearings and the results from Aboriginal consultations in order to make a licensing decision.

View Manitoba Hydro Manitoba-Minnesota Transmission Line Project
View Manitoba government public registry – Scoping Document
View Great Northern Transmission Line website
View October 30, 2014 Manitoba Hydro News Release
View June 28, 2013 Manitoba Wildlands 2013 News Item
View more on Manitoba Wildlands Manitoba Minnesota Transmission Project page

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Tar Sands Impact On Climate Too Costly 17 January 2015

Oil prices have dropped sharply, causing proposed projects in the Alberta tar sands to be shelved until further notice. A new analysis of worldwide fossil-fuel reserves suggests that most of the Alberta oil the pipeline is meant to carry would need to remain in the ground if nations are to meet the goal of limiting global warming to two degrees Celsius.

The study, published in the journal Nature, includes Alberta oil sands and considers the geographic distribution of the world’s total fossil fuel supply, including oil, coal and natural gas reserves, and their potential impact on international efforts to curb global warming.

“I think the most sobering thing from this study is the gulf that it reveals between the declared intention of the politicians and the policy-makers to stick to two degrees, and their willingness to actually contemplate what needs to be done if that is to be even remotely achieved,” said Paul Ekins, a co-author of the study.

Canada, where the tar sands are located, repeatedly delays, or blocks regulation of oil and gas emissions.

View January 12, 2015 Environment Defence article
View January 8, 2015 Nature article
View January 7, 2015 The Globe and Mail article
View January 7, 2015 The Guardian article
View September 6, 2012 The Globe and Mail article

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Is Monsanto Killing Us? 17 January 2015

The government of the Netherlands just took a huge step to protect its citizens and banned Monsanto’s super-toxic pesticide Roundup – and it's time more countries did the same. The pesticide is widely known to contaminate soil and water, causing devastating health problems in humans who are exposed to it.

Where will it stop? The science is in. Monsanto’s Roundup and genetically modified seeds are killing us slowly. In a controlled bubble of pure laboratory isolation the compounds in Monsanto’s Roundup and the combination of genetically modified seeds appear to be a perfectly understandable equation. Roundup kills plants because it shutdowns the seven step metabolic system of plants called the shikimate pathway and keeps it from absorbing food. Genetically modified seeds designed to work with Roundup are the second half of this equation.

These two factors isolated at one end of the food chain do not readily show any risk factors. This view of the world is what has gotten Monsanto to where it is today and has convinced policy makers to not doubt Monsanto’s information. The United State Drug and Food Administration did not test the residual impact of glyphosphate – the only active ingredient in the most widely used herbicide in the world.

That same metabolic structure found in plants is also found in the mitochondrial workings of the good and friendly bacteria found in human digestive tracts. Our gut is where the enzymes needed for proper growth and brain function live. Glyphosphate kills friendly bacteria in our gut just as easily as it kills plants. A very strong correlation has been found between the rise in autism and the rise in the use of Roundup. Autism is all about a healthy gut – the ability of the body to process the amino acids necessary for brain development and function.

Cumulative impacts of glyphosphate being so widely used is taking its toll – especially when the combination of inert ingredients in Roundup can amplify the toxicity of glyphosphate 10-100 times. Glyphysphate is used on both corn and soy crops – the two most common ingredients used as both sweetener and filler in food products today.

View Petition to ban the sale of Roundup, Monsanto's toxic weedkiller
View January 16, 2015 Common Dreams article
View January 9, 2015 Global Research News article
View January 7, 2015 The Guardian article
View December 30, 2014 Raw Story article
View September 29, 2014 Inhabitat article
View September 23, 2014 CSGlobe article
View June 9, 2013 article

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North American Leadership On Reducing Emmissions 19 December 14

“The time to take swift, collective action on climate change is now. Ontario is proud to be among many jurisdictions in North America that recognize the urgent need to stop the irreparable damage caused by climate change. This statement affirms our resolve to lead by example, encourage other regions to do their part and leave our future generations with the legacy of a healthy, prosperous planet.” Glen R. Murray ,Minister of the Environment and Climate Change.

Ontario, together with California, Quebec and British Columbia, have issued a joint statement, demonstrating leadership and collective action on climate change. The four regions were in Lima, Peru, for the annual United Nations conference on climate change, COP 20

The Joint Statement on Climate Change, announced by respective environment and climate change ministers:

  • Identifies climate change as a serious environmental and economic threat.
  • Recognizes the immediacy and importance of taking action now to stop irreparable damage along with the opportunity to create a new, low-carbon economy, generate jobs and improve productivity.
  • Resolves to work together towards mid-term greenhouse gas reduction goals.

The statement builds on the leadership and collaboration shown by Ontario and Quebec through the climate change Memorandum of Understanding signed by both provinces in November 2014. The agreement commits both provinces to collaborate on a range of measures, including exploring market-based approaches to reducing carbon emissions and fostering a strong, green economy in central Canada.

View December 9, 2014 Electric Light & Power article
View December 8, 2014 Ontario Government news release
View December 8, 2014 British Columbia Government news release
View December 8, 2014 British Columbia Newsroom article

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Lake Winnipeg Hearings Schedule Released 19 December 14

Manitoba’s Clean Environment Commission (CEC) has posted its schedule for hearings to review the regulation of Lake Winnipeg by Manitoba Hydro in relation to generation of hydro electricity. The review and hearings include impacts from regulation of the lake, since the 1970’s. The mandate for the hearings is based on the Water Power Act interim licence, in place since the 1970s, with annual renewals.

Participants can register until end of January. Steps to apply for participant funding are outlined on the CEC website. The process to file formal written Information Requests for Manitoba Hydro is underway. There is no public registry for this review due to it not being held under the Environment Act.

Hearings in Winnipeg start March 9. In January and February the CEC will be holding hearings in several locations in Manitoba. They will also be visiting First Nations who have invited the CEC to hold a hearing in their community. Detailed schedule is posted on the CEC website.

Manitoba Wildlands is a participant in the Lake Winnipeg Regulation hearings, with similar activities and mandate as during the Wuskwatim, Bipole III, and Keeyask CEC hearings.

View Lake Winnipeg Hearings Schedule
View more on Manitoba Wildlands Lake Winnipeg page

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COP 20 Agreement Weak - Next Paris 2015 19 December 14

The latest round of climate talks just concluded in Lima, Peru (COP 20) after two days of overtime negotiations. A new document was created, the Lima Call for Climate Action that sets up framework for negotiations on a new climate treaty that will be decided in Paris next year. A binding global climate treaty that supports real change will depend on reaching agreements with the 20 nations that emit 80% of total global greenhouse emissions (GHG), and the economic sectors that have the biggest impact on the world’s climate.

Included in the text coming out of Lima is a goal of phasing out carbon emissions by mid-century, which was supported by over 100 countries. That this made it out of the COP 20 in Lima is significant. The only way to achieve this scenario is by moving away from fossil fuels - this pits the UNFCCC process directly against the fossil fuel industry.

The Lima Accord is different from other negotiations, because for the first time all nations agreed to cut carbon emissions. Each country is going to report how they will make this happen. However a big problem with the language means that participating nations will not be held accountable for reporting their plans – it’s as if each country “will be marking their own homework ahead of the critical Paris meeting.”

Elizabeth May was the only Canadian opposition elected representative attending COP 20 in Lima, Peru.

View article
View December 19, 2014 DeSmog Canada article
View December 16, 2014 The Tyee article
View December 15, 2014 Elizabeth May article
View December 13, 2014 CBC Radio article
View December 15, 2014 Democracy Now! article
View September 23, 2014 United Nations Development Programme article

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Whiteshell Park Borders Expanded 19 December 14

Whiteshell Provincial Park will be expanded by almost 3,000 hectares with more space inside the park to be protected from mining and development. This addition of land and water will expand the park's northwest boundary to the Whitemouth Bog Ecological Reserve and Whitemouth Bog Wildlife Management Area. Protecting the Whitemouth Bog wetlands will help clean water before it flows into Lake Winnipeg. Before this expansion the park was 272, 900 hectares.

In addition to the increased area, the province is increasing the protected areas within the park by 20,375 hectares - roughly six times the size of Birds Hill Provincial Park. This will bring the percentage of protected area within the park up to 44 from 35 percent.

Unfortunately the two regulations required under the Parks Act, and the Mines Act, were not available as of Friday, December 19, 2014.

“We will monitor this announcement to see wether newer land use zones are regulations are put in place,” commented Gaile Whelan-Enns, Manitoba Wildlands Director.

View December 16, 2014 Wilderness Committee article
View December 16, 2014 Winnipeg Free Press article
View December 16, 2014 CBC News article
View December 16, 2014 Metro article
View December 16, 2014 Ducks Unlimited Canada article

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Canada's National Energy Board - No Credibility 12 December 14

It took a Waterloo waitress to stop Enbridge's Line 9 pipeline reversal in Southwestern Ontario. One of only a handful of interveners allowed into the National Energy Board's review hearing of the Line 9 reversal, Louisette Lanteigne, pointed out the need for shutoff valve's on either side of major tributaries. This is the reason no oil is flowing in Line 9 at the moment.

Most recently, Louisette uncovered an internal e-mail, from the National Energy Board (NEB), through an Access To Information Request, that appears to boast about new Harper Conservative government rules that reduce the public's ability to ask questions at pipeline hearings. In the report attached to the memo, the NEB's Hearing Manager for Oil Pipeline Applications told colleagues about the "successes" of a recently concluded Line 9A pipeline hearing in the summer of 2012. The manager states that the public's inability to cross-examine witnesses at the hearing was one of several achievements.

The e-mail was written three weeks after the Harper government omnibus bill C-38 became law. Bill C-38 puts new limits on NEB hearings. Conservative Minister Joe Oliver said at the time that the reforms were necessary to halt "environmental and other radical groups" from hijacking pipeline reviews.

The new bill and the new limits on the NEB demonstrate a complete disconnect from due process and public participation. If the NEB is seeking to limit public participation - the same public whose best interests it is supposed to be safeguarding then it is obviously operating without any credibility.

View December 9, 2014 Vancouver Observer article
View December 3, 2014 The Commonsense Canadian article
View November 4, 2014 The Vancouver Sun article
View October 30, 2014 Vancouver Observer article
View April 23, 2014 The Tyee article

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Canada: Second Worst Environmental Performance - Germanwatch 12 December 14

The annual Climate Change Performance Index is an instrument to enhance transparency in international climate politics. Its aim is to encourage political and social pressure on those countries, which have failed to take ambitious actions on climate protection as well as to highlight countries with best-practice climate policies. Using standardized criteria, the index evaluates and compares the climate protection performance of 58 countries that are responsible for more than 90 percent of global energy-related CO2emissions. 80 percent of the evaluation is based on objective indicators of emissions trend and emissions level.

Global emissions have reached a new peak, but recent developments indicate a new readiness for action on climate protection. This is the message of the 10th edition of the Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI); a ranking of the climate protection performance of the 58 highest emitters worldwide published by Germanwatch and Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe at the UN Climate Conference in Lima.

"We see global trends, indicating promising shifts in some of the most relevant sectors for climate protection", says Jan Burck (Germanwatch), author of the Index. "The rise of emissions has slowed down, and renewables are rapidly growing due to declining costs and massive investments."

Canada is only outdone in poor performance by Australia. Making it one of the countries lacking the most action on climate change. Polls across Canada show a majority of Canadians are worried about the impact of climate change on future generations, and more than half support a carbon tax. Clear evidence of the gap between the people of Canada and the current Canadian government.

View Germanwatch The Climate Change Performance Index 2014
View December 8, 2014 Climate Action Network Europe article
View December 8, 2014 The Guardian article
View December 5, 2014 CBC News article
View November 21, 2014 The Guardian article

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