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Gulf spill exploited to paint oil sands green

In the wake of the oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, federal Environment Minister Jim Prentice has joined Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach to beat the drum for the oil sands. Prentice recently portrayed the oil sands as a less environmentally risky alternative to offshore drilling. The Pembina Institute's Danielle Droitsch takes Minister Prentice and Premier Stelmach to task for "using their positions to sell the oil sands" rather than acting "as stewards to province's resources, ensuring responsible development of the oil sands and proper regulation of oil sands operators." She concludes:

The Gulf oil spill is not an opportunity to claim the oil sands are something they're not - safer, cleaner or more secure. The spill should serve as a grave reminder of what can happen if oil is not developed responsibly. Moreover, the spill should set in motion a cleaner, carbon-free energy future, where we don't depend on risky, environmentally damaging fossil fuels at all.

Link to posting on the Oil Sands Watch website.

Posted May 10, 2010 by Anonymous

Climate Change and the Integrity of Science

The Pembina Institute's PJ Partington gives us the highlights of the letter in defence of climate research from 255 members of the U.S. National Academy of Science. The letter was published in the May 7, 2010 issue of the journal Science. You can read the full text of the letter here.

Society has two choices: We can ignore the science and hide our heads in the sand and hope we are lucky, or we can act in the public interest to reduce the threat of global climate change quickly and substantively. The good news is that smart and effective actions are possible. But delay must not be an option.

Read more »

Posted May 7, 2010 by Anonymous

Canadian Environmental Bill of Rights debated for first time

A reminder that Bill C-469, An Act to establish a Canadian Environmental Bill of Rights, gets it Second reading (first time debated) in the House of Commons today. According to the Environmental Law Centre, the Private Members' Bill, introduced by Edmonton—Strathcona MP Linda Duncan, would:

…provide Canadians with access to environmental information, substantive environmental rights and rights to appeal federal decisions that might harm the environment.

You can watch the "action" on ParlVU. According to the projected order of business, Bill C-469 will be debated around 3:30pm MDT.

Posted May 6, 2010 by Anonymous

Climate Change Accountability Act passes third reading

With Bill C-311, the Climate Change Accountability Act, passing third reading in the House of Commons, AEN groups reacted to this historic event.

Matthew Bramley, Director of the Pembina Institute's Climate Change Program said:

By passing the Climate Change Accountability Act today, a majority of MPs have voted for strong, science-based action on climate change. This groundbreaking bill would set a target for Canada's 2050 emissions that lines up with our G8 commitments and with U.S. legislation, and would require the government to move immediately to put in place the policies needed to get on track towards that target.

And according to the Sierra Club's John Bennett:

The passing of the Climate Change Accountability Act is a huge victory for climate change policy in Canada. The environmental movement has supported this Bill from its inception as one of the strongest piece of climate change legislation in Canadian politics.

Posted May 6, 2010 by Anonymous

Premier Stelmach Goes to Washington

Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach recently announced that he would "force" an end to tailings ponds. The recent ruling by the Alberta Energy and Resources Conservation Board (ERCB) on Syncrude's tailings management plan seemingly contradicts the Premier's comments (and it's own rules for that matter).

With the Premier headed to the U.S. capital, the Pembina Institute's Danielle Droitsch weighs in:

This week Premier Ed Stelmach jet set his way to Washington, D.C. He's talking oil sands and based on the premier's recent statements, he might be inclined to overpromise (and under-deliver).

Link: Oil sands PR blitz heads to Washington, D.C. Read more »

Posted May 5, 2010 by Anonymous

The economics of an oil spill

More reaction from AEN groups on the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The Pembina Institute's Mike Kennedy writes about the economics of an oil spill on Pembina's Green Economics blog.

Link: The economics of an oil spill

Posted May 5, 2010 by Anonymous

Update on federal Environmental Bill of Rights

The Environmental Law Centre has posted an update on the progress of the federal Environmental Bill of Rights.

On Thursday, May 6th, a private members’ bill, C-469, An Act to establish a Canadian Environmental of Rights, will have its first hour of debate in the House of Commons. The Bill would provide Canadians with access to environmental information, substantive environmental rights and rights to appeal federal decisions that might harm the environment.  It also enshrines the concept of public trust.  The Bill is comparable to, but goes further than, many provincial environmental rights laws. For more information see our previous post: Environmental Bill of Rights Enters Parliament.

Read more »

Posted May 4, 2010 by Anonymous

Gulf Oil Spill: AEN Groups Weigh In

With the BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico dominating the environmental news, AEN member groups are weighing in on the spill and the potential implications on Canada and Alberta.

The Pembina Institute's Karen Campbell posts an op-ed on the implications of the spill on Enbridge's proposed Northern Gateway pipeline. This pipeline is proposed to run from Edmonton to a new tanker terminal in Kitimat, B.C.; and will help bring the products of Alberta's oilsands industry to new markets.

Meanwhile, Sierra Club Canada has called for a moratorium on offshore oil drilling  in Canada.

The oil spill in the Gulf is a catastrophe,” said John Bennett, Executive Director of Sierra Club Canada.  “Canada should fully understand the causes of the explosion in the Gulf and the failure of the clean up before allowing any more drilling in Canadian waters. In the meantime a moratorium should be put in place.

Greenpeace Canada urges Canadians to email the pm [at] pm [dot] gc [dot] ca (Prime Minister )and tell him:

…the threat of such a catastrophy [sic] in our waters is unacceptable. We must cut our addiction to oil and support renewable energy

 

Posted May 3, 2010 by Anonymous

Environmental Law Centre on the Syncrude duck death trial

If you've been following the Syncrude duck death trial, check out this post by the Environmental Law Centre's Adam Driedzic. In it he answers common questions about the trial, and helps to clarify the implications of the pending verdict.

The prosecution has delivered its closing arguments in the case of R. v. Syncrude.  Syncrude’s non-suit application was dismissed, and it will be forced to plead a defence against evidence that could see it convicted.   The public interest this case has generated is warranted, but after two months of tar and feathers it can be hard to distinguish political debate about the oil sands from the actual legal issues.

Muddy Water II: Syncrude Ducks The Issue

Posted April 30, 2010 by Anonymous

Delays to U.S. climate law no excuse for Canada to stall

Matthew Bramley, Director of the Pembina Institute's Climate change Program blogs about recent delays in the U.S. Congress to pass climate legislation, and how Canada shouldn't use these delays as an excuse for inaction.
Read the post on the Pembina website.

Posted April 27, 2010 by Anonymous

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