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Fracking Sand to Come from Manitoba 6 March 2015

As oil prices rise and fall, producers search for means to increase production in existing wells, and exploit new oil and gas fields, This trend to maximize production has caused an unprecedented demand for hydraulic fracturing sand (frac sand).

Frac sands are used as a proppant, or sized particles mixed with fracturing fluid to hold fractures open after a hydraulic fracturing treatment. This treatment, known as hydrofracing, is the forcing of a concoction of frac sands, viscous gel and other chemicals down a well to prop open fractures in the subsurface rocks thus create a passageway for fluid from the reservoir to the well.

Toronto-based Claim Post Resources Inc. is fast becoming a provider of premium white silica sand proppant to the oil and gas industry in the U.S. and Canada. Claim Post Resources, Manitoba center is near Seymourville on the southeast shore of Lake Winnipeg, some 200 km northeast of Winnipeg. Immediately east of the property is the Hollow Water First Nation, adjacent to Lake Winnipeg.

Manitoba will be adding another project that increases climate change, the development of frac sands for hydraulic fracturing. Hydraulic fracturing is a method of extracting liquid natural gas that causes earthquakes and contaminates aquifers and drinking water.

View July 30, 2014 The Northern Miner article
View July 12, 2013 Winnipeg Free Press article
View Victory Nickel Inc. Frac Sand at Minago page
Visit Claim Post Resources Inc. website

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Obama Vetos Keystone XL Bill 6 March 2015

President Barrack Obama only vetoed a bill from Congress that would have forced approval of the pipeline project. Hhe did this because he wants to retain the power to make the Keystone decision himself and this can still go either way.

The TransCanada Corp pipeline would carry 830,000 barrels a day of mostly Canadian oil sands crude to Nebraska en route to refineries and ports along the U.S. Gulf. It has been pending for more than six years.

Obama, who rejected the bill hours after it was sent to the White House, said the measure unwisely bypassed a State Department process that will determine whether the project would be beneficial to the United States.

"Through this bill, the United States Congress attempts to circumvent longstanding and proven processes for determining whether or not building and operating a cross-border pipeline serves the national interest," he wrote in his veto message.

In a message to President Barack Obama, Robert Redford, actor, director and trustee of the Natural Resources Defense Council shared some insights; ‘President Obama was right to veto a bill that would have forced approval of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline – and the Senate was right to vote Wednesday to let the veto stand. That bill was not in our national interest: it was political payback to big oil.’

View 350.org's response to President Obama’s veto
View March 4, 2015 MSNBC article
View February 25, 2015 Huffington Post article
View February 25, 2015 Democracy Now! article
View February 24, 2015 Rolling Stone article
View February 24, 2015 The Washington Post article
View February 24, 2015 The Hill article

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Ontario Choosing Climate Leadership 20 February 2015

A strategy paper from Ontario Environment Minister Glen Murray says a carbon pricing system “is the most cost-effective approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.” Following the release of a climate change strategy discussion paper on Thursday February 12th, Environment Minister Glen Murray told reporters his ministry will take the next several months to craft a carbon pricing policy. Whether that will be a cap-and-trade system or a carbon tax remains to be seen.

Engaging the public in a conversation about climate change builds on Ontario's recent achievements including closing coal plants, curbing the use of cosmetic pesticides and protecting 1.8 million acres of land. These initiatives have resulted in fewer smog days and cleaner water.

Ontario’s role in the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME) and First Minister’s Conference with respect to climate change will be known this Spring.

View Ontario’s Climate Change Discussion Paper 2015
View February 13, 2015 Association of Corporate Counsel article
View February 12, 2015 CTV News article
View February 12, 2015 The Star article
View February 12, 2015 NorthumberlandView.ca article
View January 20, 2015 The Brock Press article

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Boreal Summit - White Elephant 20 February 2015

A provincial government summit on the future of the Boreal Forest in Manitoba was held in The Pas February 17th. Representatives of First Nations, government, northern communities and conservation groups gathered in Opaskwayak Cree Nation to discuss development and protection of the boreal forest.

Around 60 people attended this invite only summit. Only one Chief attended – Ron Evans from Norway House. All other First Nation representatives were councilors and proxies. Several environmental organizations attended as did the Honourable Gord Mackintosh, Minister of Conservation. The Honourable Eric Robinson arrived late in the day.

Before the summit a poll of Manitobans was released showing an apparent 88% in favour of protecting 50% of the remaining boreal forest in Manitoba. An invite only summit cannot define nor constitute community engagement or provide open dialogue for proper protection and conservation of the boreal forest in Manitoba.

Manitoba Wildlands hopes our government keeps its commitments regarding establishment of parks and protected areas. Our boreal regions are under-represented in Manitoba’s Network of Protected Areas.

View February 19, 2015 Thompson Citizen article
View February 17, 2015 Manitoba Government news release
View February 17, 2015 Market Wired article
View June 16, 2014 Global News article
View June 16, 2014 CBC News article

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NEB Loses All Credibility Ignoring Climate Change 20 February 2015

More than 100,000 messages from people across Canada were hand delivered today to the National Energy Board's (NEB) office in Calgary demanding climate change be included in the NEB's review of the Energy East tar sands pipeline. With participation from 350.org, Leadnow.ca, the Council of Canadians, Greenpeace & Avaaz, it is the largest petition ever delivered to the National Energy Board.

"Peter Watson, the head of the NEB, needs to listen to the tens of thousands of Canadians demanding the huge climate impacts of the Energy East tar sands pipeline be included as part of the pipeline review," said Mike Hudema, Climate and Energy campaigner with Greenpeace Canada.

The Energy East pipeline would transport 1.1 million barrels per day of toxic tar sands oil from Alberta to the Atlantic Ocean, traversing at least 90 watersheds and 961 waterways between Alberta and New Brunswick—including some protected by Indigenous treaty rights.

Recent changes to Canada's environmental review processes, including the language of the National Energy Board Act, mean that only people who the NEB considers to be "directly affected" by the pipeline and The who choose from a pre-determined list of issues are allowed to provide input into the review. Climate change is not on the list of issues, although participants are invited to share their concerns related to marine shipping.

View February 4, 2015 Toronto350.org article
View February 2, 2015 The Council of Canadians article
View December 11, 2014 The Star article
View November 25, 2014 CBC News article
View August 21, 2014 The Globe and Mail article
View July 29, 2014 City of Vancouver article

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Manitoba Hydro Denied Rate Hikes 7 February 15

Manitoba Hydro said in its general rate application it wants to finalize a 2.75 per cent interim rate increase that was effective May 1, 2014, and a further interim 3.95 per cent rate increase, effective April 1, 2015. It also wanted the PUB to approve a further 3.95 per cent rate increase effective April 1, 2016.

The Public Utilities Board (PUB) said it was "extremely reluctant" to be asked to approve a rate increase for next year in such a period of volatility. The PUB also recommends that the Manitoba government subject Hydro’s plans to build the Bipole III transmission line and two new generation stations, Keeyask and Conawapa, to a review by an independent panel.

The full decision, available on PUB’s website, can be seen as a public rebuke of Hydro’s plan to spend $20 billion over the next decade -- a plan supported by the Selinger government -- and the risk it poses to Manitobans.

Hydro said in its application it needs the rate increases at double the rate of inflation over the next two years to help ensure its financial integrity under its $20.1-billion development. Ratepayers help pay for the construction of the Keeyask dam, the Bipole III transmission line, the Manitoba-Minnesota Transmission Project (MMTP) and other upgrades to the electricity distribution system.

To put it in very basic language, Manitoba Hydro wants to raise its rates in order to be able to pay for its already substantial debt and stay afloat as a business while it builds Bipole 3, Keeyask and MMTP.

View January 29, 2015 The Carillon article
View January 25, 2012 Mondaq article
View January 17, 2012 Winnipeg Free Press article
View January 16, 2015 Manitoba Hydro General Rate Application
View Manitoba Hydro 2014/15 Interim Rate Application Information Requests of The Public Utilities Board of Manitoba

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WHS - Lands Not Protected 7 February 15

A second attempt to see a large selection of boreal landscape on the east side of the province designated as a United Nations World Heritage Site has moved closer to becoming reality. A new application by five First Nations in the area to get Pimachiowin Aki recognized for natural and cultural value for indigenous people was delivered by hand to UNESCO headquarters this past January.

The first submission suffered a setback when UNESCO's world heritage committee deferred its decision on Pimachiowin Aki’s original bid more than a year ago. The UNESCO committee said was unclear if the area is unique. When it made its decision about the first World Heritage Site proposal, UNESCO said it wanted more information on the cultural value the 33,400-square-kilometre area has to First Nations people.

‘Unfortunately the lands three of these First Nations have identified for protection are still not protected from mining. The Manitoba regulatory steps for protected lands have been consistent since 1989. The state, or in this case, the province, is responsbile to UNESCO and the IUCN to get this done.’ Reported Gaile Whelan-Enns, Director, Manitoba Wildlands.

View January 26, 2015 Winnipeg Free Press article
View January 26, 2015 CBC News article
View June 19, 2014 Winnipeg Free Press article
View Manitoba Wildlands Manitoba's World Heritage Site page

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Planetary Boundaries Now Crossed 7 February 15

According to the new study released by the Stockholm Resilience Centre , four of nine planetary boundaries have now been crossed as a result of human activity, says an international team of 18 researchers in the journal Science (16 January 2015). The four are: climate change, loss of biosphere integrity, land-system change, altered biogeochemical cycles (phosphorus and nitrogen). Two of these, climate change and biosphere integrity, are what the scientists call "core boundaries". Significantly altering either of these "core boundaries" would "drive the Earth System into a new state".

"Transgressing a boundary increases the risk that human activities could inadvertently drive the Earth System into a much less hospitable state, damaging efforts to reduce poverty and leading to a deterioration of human wellbeing in many parts of the world, including wealthy countries," says lead author, Professor Will Steffen, researcher at the Stockholm Resilience Centre and the Australian National University, Canberra. "In this new analysis we have improved our quantification of where these risks lie."

"Planetary Boundaries do not dictate how human societies should develop but they can aid decision-makers by defining a safe operating space for humanity," says co-author Katherine Richardson from the Center for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate, University of Copenhagen.

View Stockholm Resilience Centre publication
View January 15, 2015 The Washington Post article
View January 15, 2015 American Association for the Advancement of Science report
View International Chronostratigraphic Chart
View January 16, 2015 The Washington Post article
View January 15, 2015 The Washington Post article

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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 ChrisD.ca 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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Manitoba Wildlands2002-2014