Pipeline development was ‘top of mind’ in Stephen Harper’s budget bill, say “secret” records Publish Date: 26-SEP-2012 09:46 AM Pipeline development was a “top of mind” consideration factoring into the Harper government’s regulatory reforms adopted in a 400-page piece of legislation supporting the 2012 budget, reveals an internal briefing note prepared for Environment Minister Peter Kent. Nearly one third of the budget legislation was dedicated to changing Canada’s environmental laws, offering new tools for the government to authorize water pollution, investigate environmental groups, weaken protection of endangered species, and limit public participation in consultations and reviews of proposed industrial projects.
Canada losing ground in environmental and resource science, report says Publish Date: 26-SEP-2012 09:43 AM Canada is no longer a powerhouse in environmental and natural resources science, according to a comprehensive report to be released Thursday. “The overall decline in these fields is real,” reports a blue-ribbon panel asked by the federal government to assess the state of Canada’s science and technology.
It says the country continues to excel in health sciences and information and communications technologies and many other fields, but is losing ground in natural resources and environmental sciences, which were considered two of the country’s top four scientific strengths in 2006.
Scientists shocked after Harper government assigns IT staff to monitor ozone data Publish Date: 15-SEP-2012 09:54 AM Atmospheric scientists from around the world are asking Environment Canada to back down from a plan that they believe would compromise ozone and radiation monitoring by putting it into the hands of an Information Technology computer expert.
On the eve of the 25th anniversary of the Sept. 16 signing of the Montreal Protocol, an international treaty to reduce ozone-depleting pollution in the atmosphere, the scientists said they were shocked to learn about the budget cuts and staffing changes made by the Harper government.
Ottawa propose des mesures moins contraignantes sur le charbon (French) Publish Date: 06-SEP-2012 10:12 AM Le document rendu public par le ministre fédéral de l'Environnement, Peter Kent, propose des mesures moins contraignantes que celles contenues dans la version précédente, présentée l'été dernier. De Saskatoon, M. Kent a expliqué que les nouvelles usines de charbon devaient désormais produire moins de 420 tonnes de dioxyde de carbone par gigawatt-heure d'électricité produite. Dans la première version de la réglementation, cette limite était située à 375 tonnes.
Coupes fédérales en science: l'homme qui parle (French) Publish Date: 03-SEP-2012 10:16 AM En septembre, d’autres scientifiques à l’emploi du gouvernement fédéral sont censés recevoir à leur tour la confirmation que leurs postes seront abolis. Mais il est bien difficile d’en trouver un seul qui ose en parler. « Je cours des risques si je parle aux journalistes, je n’ai pas de permission », admet Peter Ross, qui ne s’est pourtant pas privé de parler : en mai et juin, on a pu le lire et l’entendre dans plusieurs médias, francophones et anglophones. Et si les journalistes scientifiques sont nombreux à se tourner vers lui, c’est parce qu’il est à peu près le seul. (…)
Scientists fight to save library from federal cuts Publish Date: 27-AUG-2012 10:30 AM Scientists are continuing to fight to save the library at the St. Andrews Biological Station from federal funding cuts. The library is used by Fisheries and Oceans Canada scientists, outside researchers and by university students for teaching and research in southwestern New Brunswick. (…)
D’un océan à l’autre, le gouvernement fédéral coupe dans la recherche scientifique (French) Publish Date: 27-AUG-2012 10:28 AM Avec les coupes budgétaires dans la recherche sur les contaminants chimiques, l’avenir s’assombrit pour le suivi à long terme et la conservation des espèces marines du Saint-Laurent. Laboratoires démantelés, postes de chercheurs supprimés: depuis la fin 2011, le gouvernement fédéral effectue des coupes budgétaires drastiques et ciblées dans son ministère chargé de l’environnement aquatique et de la recherche. Quant à la volumineuse loi budgétaire C-38 en vigueur depuis le mois de juillet, elle modifie la Loi sur les pêches et abolit des évaluations environnementales. (…)
Enbridge cleanup plans not specific for diluted bitumen, says scientist Publish Date: 26-AUG-2012 10:35 AM Enbridge Inc.'s response plan for a potential spill of Northern Gateway oil into the pristine waters off British Columbia doesn't take into account the unique oil mixture the pipeline would actually carry, documents show. However, documents obtained under access to information show a scientist at the Department of Fisheries and Oceans argued vigorously for a chance to do more research. "The Northern Gateway pipeline proposal lacks key information on the chemical composition of the reference oils used in the hypothetical spill models," wrote Ken Lee, head of DFO's Centre for Offshore Oil Gas and Energy Research, or COOGER. (…)
Green battles damaging economic prosperity, says former Harper strategist Publish Date: 24-AUG-2012 10:38 AM In a wide-ranging interview with Postmedia News, David McLaughlin, a former Harper government staffer who headed the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy, suggested that it would be in Canada’s best interests for these groups to learn to work together as they debate major infrastructure projects such as Enbridge’s Northern Gateway Pipeline and the development of energy resources such as the oilsands.
Harper government cancels 3,000 environmental reviews on pipelines and other projects Publish Date: 23-AUG-2012 02:48 PM The Harper government’s budget legislation has forced the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency to cancel nearly 3,000 screenings into potential environmental damage caused by proposed development projects across Canada, including hundreds involving a pipeline or fossil fuel energy, according to published records.
Editorial - Ottawa still has a role to play in environmental regulation Publish Date: 09-AUG-2012 02:36 PM In this year’s federal budget, Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government outlined a plan to streamline federal and provincial environmental regulations, to reduce overlap and delays in resource development. It’s a sensible premise, but news this week that Ottawa plans to effectively defer to Alberta on greenhouse-gas rules - allowing it to place fewer limits on carbon emissions from oil-sands development than might otherwise be the case - raises concerns about what it will lead to.
Editorial - Drilling for oil in the Gulf of St. Lawrence without a clue Publish Date: 05-AUG-2012 02:32 PM Buried within the more than 400 pages of this spring’s federal omnibus budget bill is an invitation for resource companies to open a new frontier in Canadian oil: the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Now, due to measures deep in the federal budget, that ecosystem may be under threat. The bill explicitly highlights the region’s potential for petroleum extraction and includes amendments to the Coasting Trade Act that give oil companies greater access to exploration vessels.
Newly released federal documents state Canada needs energy diversity Publish Date: 04-AUG-2012 02:27 PM A dependence on fossil fuel resources is making the country vulnerable to a planetary “mega trend” toward low-carbon energy that “will affect the whole of Canada’s economy,” Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver was told in newly released internal briefing notes.
Climat: une mesure d'Harper trop laxiste, croit Environnement Canada (French) Publish Date: 29-JUL-2012 02:24 PM Environnement Canada craint que les efforts du gouvernement Harper pour encourager ses fonctionnaires à examiner de plus près les risques et possibles répercussions des changements climatiques ne tombent dans l'oreille d'un sourd. C'est du moins ce que révèle une note d'Environnement Canada datée de juillet 2011, et dont La Presse Canadienne a obtenu copie en vertu de la Loi d'accès à l'information. La note d'Environnement Canada révèle toutefois les craintes de l'équipe chargée de l'application du cadre de travail, qui s'inquiète des possibilités que la mesure ne soit reléguée sur une tablette dans certains secteurs du gouvernement ne se préoccupant pas, de façon générale, des impacts environnementaux de leurs décisions.
Scientists warn it’s the ‘new norm’ after worst drought in 800 years Publish Date: 29-JUL-2012 02:20 PM The signs of drought were everywhere, from shrivelled rivers and lakes in the American West to brittle brown lawns and parched farm crops in the Canadian Prairies. Anyone who weathered the stubborn dry spell that enveloped western North America from 2000 to 2004 knows it was harsh, but now a group of researchers has concluded it was the most severe drought in 800 years – bone-dry conditions that the scientists believe could become the “new norm” in this vital agricultural region.
Climate change plan easy for bureaucrats to ignore Publish Date: 29-JUL-2012 02:15 PM Environment Canada is worried that the Harper government's own effort to encourage public servants to more carefully consider the risks and possible impacts of climate change is falling on deaf ears. Internal documents show that the team implementing the plan fears it may be dismissed in some corners of the bureaucracy, since officials won't have to keep track of how their decisions deal with climate-related risks.
Harper rethinking myopic decision to close research lakes: Selinger Publish Date: 27-JUL-2012 02:03 PM Ottawa’s controversial decision to close down the world-renowned research facility known as the Experimental Lakes Area may not be final, according to Manitoba premier Greg Selinger. At the Council of the Federation (COF) meetings in Halifax, Premier Selinger said he had a “bilateral” meeting with federal Environment Minister Peter Kent at the recent Rio+20 Conference that left him with the impression that there was a “glimmer of hope” at the political level that Ottawa’s decision was not final.
Death of Evidence: Birth of a Movement?
Publish Date: 20-JUL-2012 02:05 PM
On July 10th, well over one thousand scientists and their supporters, many wearing their lab coats, marched through the streets of Ottawa and on to Parliament Hill to send a strong message to the federal government.