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22 October 2014


Environment Act Review - Manitoba Wildlands Responds 22 October 14

Two reviews of the Manitoba Environment Act, proclaimed during the election writ after the Pawley government fell in 1988, are ongoing in Manitoba.

The Manitoba Law Reform Commission was directed to review the Act in late 2013. Their review included a discussion paper no longer available, one public event, and a series of in person in depth interviews with Manitobans who have interacted with the law in various capacities.

Manitoba Conservation and Water Stewardship (MCWS) also issued a discussion paper, and solicited review comments. The paper is posted in the online public registry. The folder on the registry refers to the Environment Act Consultation. To date there is little indication that a consultation will be conducted.

Both discussion papers had a specific set of goals, or agenda. MCWS did not hold any focus groups, interviews, workshops or discussions. The goals outlined in the department’s discussion paper are based on faulty assumptions about current environmental conditions in the province.

The risk arising from this process is that a changed Environment Act with numerous amendments will be handled only in the Legislature from this point. Further ‘consultation’ is required, especially about the Classes of Development definitions, and the Clean Environment Commission.

View Manitoba Wildlands Cover Letter, and Recommendations for changes to Manitoba Environment Act.
View Manitoba Government Conservation and Water Stewardship Public Registry
View Discussion paper on government website
View Manitoba Law Reform Commission, current projects page
View more on Manitoba Wildlands Governments page

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Pimicikamak Occupy Jenpeg Hydro Dam 22 October 14

Pimicikamak protesters have forced employees of Manitoba Hydro out of the Jenpeg generating station in Northern Manitoba, only emergency staff remain at Cross Lake. The Pimicikamak delivered an oversized eviction notice September 29th, to staff at the station and the employee housing complex, both of which are located on the Nelson River in Pimicikamak territory. Several hundred Pimicikamak citizens carried out the eviction notice with the support of the four traditional councils that comprise the elected government of Pimicikamak.

"The building is empty, locked, undamaged and under the Pimicikamak flag," states a release from the Cree Nation, which is located approximately 525 kilometres by air north of Winnipeg.

'The project has turned a once bountiful and intimately know homeland into a dangerous and despoiled power corridor.'- said Cross Lake First nation Chief Cathy Merrick on the Jenpeg generating station. Pimicikamak guarantees the safety and well-being of these people, and ensures that hydro facilities will not be damaged."

"This is our home; we will not let it be trampled," said Chief Cathy Merrick. "This dam has been great for the south but for us it is a man-made catastrophe. Hydro needs to clean up the mess it has created in our homeland. Hydro needs to treat us fairly."

Premier Selinger is taking over negotiations after a visit to Cross Lake by Minister Struthers and Hydro CEO Thompson last week.

View October 21, 2014 Winnipeg Free Press article
View October 17, 2014 Aboriginal Peoples Television Network News article
View October 17,2 014 CBC News article
View October 17, 2014 Official Pimicikamak Statement on the Takeover of Jenpeg
View October 17, 2014 Winnipeg Free Press article
View October 16, 2014 Global article
View October 16, 2014 The Globe and Mail article

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Bayer Busting Bees Again 22 October 14

Bayer - the company that makes Bayer aspirin, seems to not care that it's chemicals are killing bees or affecting the bird population of North America. As the toxic reality of neonicotinids began to surface in mainstream media and lawsuits began to happen, Bayer promptly rolled out another chemical insecticide, equally potent and toxic to the environment; Flupyradifurone.

Flupyradifurone can enter the environment through a number of different insecticide applications covering a large number of 'pests' in a variety of crops. It can also enter groundwater and the aquatic environment through surface run-off. Flupyradifurone can be applied as a plant spray, as a soil drench and as a seed treatment, and can persist in the environment through "carry-over" from one growing season to the next.

Ottawa has moved to approve the new Bayer insecticide even with Health Canada's Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) issuing a warning about the risks of introducing it into the environment. "Flupyradifurone may pose a risk to bees, non-target beneficial arthropods, and freshwater and saltwater invertebrates when used for foliar application. Flupyradifurone may pose a risk to birds and small wild mammals when used for soybean seed treatment."

Studies have proven that long term exposure to neurotoxins like neonicotinids impair bees' ability to find their hives and changes the pollen collecting behaviours of honey bees – leading to colony collapse.

View October 10, 2014 Sierra Club Canada article
View October 4, 2014 CBC Radio article
View September 5, 2014 CBC News article
View July 9, 2014 Nature article
View July 7, 2014 Functional Ecology article
View March 26, 2014 PLOS One research article
View Flupyradifurone Toxicology report by the Californian EPA

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BC Oil Tanker Disaster A Matter Of Time 22 October 14

The Russian carrier Simushir lost power, Thursday October 16th, off Haida Gwaii - also known as the Queen Charlotte Islands a national park and homeland of the Haida Nation-as it made its way from Everett, Washington to Russia. The Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (JRCC) in Victoria confirmed they received a call at 11:21 p.m. on Thursday that a Russian deep see bulk carrier called the Simushir, was adrift in the ocean. The ship was carrying mining minerals, 400 tonnes of Bunker C fuel oil and 50 tonnes of diesel fuel.

The memory of the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill has yet to fade in the minds of Canadians. A current proposal to the Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline that would carry oil from the Alberta oilsands to a terminal in Kitimat for shipment to Asia is doing nothing to ease the memory of the Exxon Valdez spill. The proposed pipeline would bring about 220 large oil tankers a year to the province's coast, something few want to see other than the owners of the oil companies.

Canada's inability to rescue the drifting Russian freighter highlights the dangers of oil tanker traffic on B.C.'s coast, said Living Oceans Society executive director Karen Wristen. "The failure (for Canada) to provide tug capacity on the North Coast puts these incredibly sensitive marine ecosystems at unacceptable risk from shipping," said Wristen. "The Simushir was following the same course intended for oil tankers leaving the proposed Kitimat terminal of the Northern Gateway project."

View October 20, 2014 The Vancouver Sun article
View October 18, 2014 CBC News article
View October 18, 2014 National Post article
View October 17, 2014 WC Native News article
View Resource Development in the North Fact Sheet
Visit Haida Gawaii website

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Environment Commissioner Audits Canada - Issues Failing Grade 7 October 14

In her first report as Environment Commissioner of Canada, through the Auditor General of Canada offices, Julie Gelfand brings focus to the failure of Canada with respect to climate change initiatives, green house gas regulation, and all targets set for reduction of emissions.

"Environment Canada effective planning process for how the federal government will contribute to achieving the Copenhagen target."

"Two years later (after the 2012 audit), the evidence is stronger that the growth in emissions will not be reversed in time and that the target will be missed."

"Given its commitment to be a world-class regulator, Environment Canada should publish its plans for future regulations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, such as the oil and gas regulations, with sufficient detail and lead time, so that consultations with interested and affected parties can be transparent and broadly based, and the parties can plan effectively."

Sierra Club executive director John Bennett commented on the report: "Canada is treading water on climate change, Tar Sands pollution and arctic shipping. We need legislation, regulation and enforcement."

Clean Energy Canada posted a blog upon release of the report and indicated: "The overall conclusion of the report can only be seen as a failing grade. Auditors know what it means to make a plan and put systems in place to meet it. The federal government still isn’t taking those basic steps when it comes to tackling climate disruption."

View October 7, 2014 CBC News article
View October 7, 2014 article
View October 7, 2014 CBC News article
View October 7, 2014 Clearn Energy Canada article
View 2014 Fall Report of the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development
View more on Manitoba Wildlands Canada Initiatives page

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David Suzuki Blue Dot Tour On The Road! 7 October 14

The Blue Dot Tour is the celebration of a simple yet powerful idea: that all Canadians should have the right to drink clean water, breathe fresh air and eat healthy food.

Canada's most famous environmentalist is travelling across Canada as part of a national campaign to enshrine environmental rights into the Constitution. David Suzuki says he believes most Canadians support the idea and the tour is designed to ignite grassroots support. Suzuki, now 78-years-old, says this is his last national tour.

The Blue Dot Tour includes 20 stops from St. John's to Vancouver. David Suzuki is joined by guests like Margaret Atwood, Neil Young and wildlife artist Robert Bateman. Suzuki said he's seen a lot of social progress over the years.

"In 1969, it was illegal to be gay in Canada," Suzuki said speaking to a crowd in New Brunswick on September 30, 2014, "Now's the time to enshrine basic rights to clean air, soil and water, into Canada's constitution."

The Blue Dot Tour started in St. John's, New Brunswick, September 24. The tour stops in Winnipeg, Manitoba on October, 24th and wraps up in Vancouver on November 9th.

View October 6, 2014 NOW Magazine article
View October 1, 2014 Huffington Post article
View September 30, 2014 CBC News article
View September 29, 2014 The Guardian article
Watch September 24, 2014 David Suzuki Foundation video video
View September 22, 2014 CTV News article
View September 16, 2014 The Province article
View The Blue Dot Plan

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Solar Next Big Thing 7 October 14

The International Energy Agency (IEA) has released two reports saying solar could be the world’s largest source of electricity by 2050. Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) president and CEO Rhone Resch, indicated solar is already the fastest growing renewable energy source in the U.S. and accounted for more than 50 percent of new generation capacity in the first half of 2014.

"As these reports show, the future of solar is strong," Resch said. "Today, the solar industry employs 143,000 Americans and pumps nearly $15 billion a year into the nation’s economy."

Since early 2010, the average price for solar panels has dropped 64% in the United States, one of the largest solar energy markets, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association in Washington, D.C. Over 150 megawatts of solar panels had been installed by early 2014.

Solar photovoltaic (PV) panels constitute the fastest-growing renewable energy technology in the world since 2000, although solar is still less than 1% of energy capacity worldwide.

View October 3, 2014 Computer World article
View September 29, 2014 Solar Energy Industries Association article
View September 29, 2014 International Energy Agency article
View September 29, 2014 Forbes article
View September 29, 2014 The Guardian article
Visit Solar Energy Industries Association website
Visit America Supports Solar website

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Loss of Wildlife Catastrophic 7 October 14

The 2014 Living Planet Report gives an index that tracks the numbers of animals in selected populations of vertebrates—mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fish—across the globe.

This "Living Planet Index" declined by 52 percent between 1970 and 2010, "a much bigger decrease than has been reported previously," according to the report. The 52 percent figure refers to a general trend of vertebrate species populations shrinking, on average, to about half the size that they were 40 years ago, according to WWF spokesperson Molly Edmonds. The report attributes the declines primarily to habitat loss and degradation, hunting and fishing, and climate change.

The previous WWF report analyzing animal populations, published in 2012, suggested a decline of 28% over a similar period. The latest report uses 15% more data than the previous one, is more representative of tropical species and applies an improved methodology.

"We were surprised by the extent of the decline. It means we are not effectively reducing biodiversity loss," said Robin Freeman, a researcher at the Zoological Society of London, which compiled the population database on which the study was based.

View October 1, 2014 RT article
View September 30, 2014 World Wildlife Fund article
View September 30, 2014 The Wall Street Journal article
View September 30, 2014 National Geographic article
View September 29, 2014 The Guardian article

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Hydro to Build Conawapa Dam - CEO Says So 26 September 14

Manitoba's Public Utility Board(PUB) held hearings over four months in 2014 to review Manitoba Hydro's development plan. The PUB grudgingly agreed to the Keeyask dam being built, largely based on the significant amount already spent on the project. The Clean Environment Commission report regarding its Keeyask hearings came out after the PUB was finished its review, and Keeyask received its environmental licence during summer 2014.

The Manitoba government, according to CEO Thompson, accepted 14 of the extensive recommendations in the PUB report. including the recommendation to not build Conawapa.

During the annual Crown Corporation Committee meetings of the Manitoba Legislature Wednesday September 24, Hydro CEO Scott Thompson referred repeatedly to the future Conawapa project during his answers to questions from Opposition MLAs.

"The construction power station at Keewatinoow, the northern converter station, was put in service in July, and as I'd mentioned, site preparation is well under way"

The northern converter station, inside the Bipole III licence is for Conawapa, not for the Keeyask project, which will utilize an upgraded existing converter station. Continuing to build the northern converter station is essentially building for the Conawap generation station. This is occurring regardless of the PUB review and recommendation to government.

The additional $ 1 Billion cost for Bipole III, for a total of $ 4.6 Billion, which Manitoba Hydro announced recently, would be significantly less if the Conawapa converter station was not built.

View more information on Manitoba Wildlands Manitoba Hydro Projectspage
View September 24, 2014 The Standing Committee on Crown Corporations transcript
View Jon Gerrard's Blog
View Manitoba Government Public Utilities Board NFAT documents
View Manitoba Government Public Utilities NFAT Report

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People's Climate Action: Canadian Scientists Act 26 September 14

A group of prominent Canadian academics has signed a letter that says the nation is "running a sustainability deficit" when it comes to climate change. "Unlike budgetary deficits, it does not seem to preoccupy our politicians," said the letter, penned by at least 53 frustrated scientists and academics in advance of the People's Climate March held in New York City and many other centres around the world on Sunday.

"On Sept. 21, more than 1,000 events around the world were planned to demand stronger action on climate change, echoing New York's People's Climate March. As Canadian researchers who study climate change and sustainability, we strongly support this global mobilization.

Canada is running a sustainability deficit. Unlike budgetary deficits, this does not seem to preoccupy our politicians. Canada has repeatedly missed its own climate change emission reduction targets. Last January, Environment Canada acknowledged that Canada won't meet its least ambitious target to date, proposed in 2009 as part of international climate negotiations coined the Copenhagen Accord."

View September 23, 2014 United Nations Environment Programme article
View September 20, 2014 DeSmog Canada article
View September 16, 2014 The Gazette article
View May 8, 2013 Daily Kos article
View May 8, 2013 CBC News article

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Burnaby Defiant In Face of Kinder Morgan Pipeline 26 September 14

In a huge win for the City of Burnaby's legal battle to stop the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, the National Energy Board (NEB) struck down the company's application to forbid Burnaby city staff from blocking the pipeline company's test drilling on Burnaby Mountain.

The NEB's federal decision made public September 25th means Kinder Morgan will not proceed with its pipeline test drilling work in a protected forest area of Burnaby Mountain, until the company returns with a much larger legal offensive, with thorny constitutional implications. This legal battle could have a huge ripple effect for pipeline projects across Canada. Deciding if local city governments, and not just the federal Harper government, can have a say in oil pipeline approvals.

Protesters flocked to Burnaby Mountain on Saturday, September 13 to oppose Kinder Morgan’s survey, which was investigating how to triple their pipeline operation in Burnaby. Kinder Morgan was conducting the survey despite the city’s opposition to the project.

View September 25, 2014 Vancouver Observer article
View September 25, 2014 National Energy Board Ruling
View September 19, 2014 CBC News article
View September 17, 2014 CTV News article
View September 4, 2014 Vancouver Observer article
Visit Burnaby Pipeline Watch website

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UN Climate Summit 2014 26 September 14

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon hosted the Climate Summit to engage leaders and advance climate action and ambition. The Summit will serve as a public platform for leaders at the highest level – UN Member States, as well as finance, business, civil society and local leaders from public and private sectors. The Summit’s aim is to catalyze ambitious action on the ground to reduce emissions, strengthen climate resilience and mobilize political will for an ambitious global agreement by 2015. The new climate agreement must limit the world to a less than 2-degree Celsius rise in global temperature.

The UN Climate Summit was be about action and solutions focused on accelerating progress in areas that can significantly contribute to reducing emissions and strengthening resilience – such as agriculture, cities, energy, financing, forests, pollutants, resilience and transportation.

The Summit is not part of the UNFCCC negotiating process. By promoting climate action, it aimed to show that leaders across sectors and at all levels are taking action, thus expanding the reach of what is possible today, in 2015, and beyond.

Visit UN Climate Summit 2014 website
View September 23, 2014 CBC News article
View September 23, 2014 United Nations article, Mayors at UN climate summit announce pledges towards major carbon cuts in cities
View September 23, 2014 United Nations article, Leaders at UN summit take steps to ensure food security for 9 billion people by 2050
View September 23, 2014 United Nations article, Investors commit to decarbonize $100 billion in investments
View September 21, 2014 People's Climate March press release

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