In April 2010, the government announced that it will proceed with the highly controversial Site C dam mega-project in the Peace River Valley. The Site C dam would flood almost 20 percent of class one to three farmland in the Peace River Valley and fails to meet minimum international standards for large dam construction.
In April 2010, the government announced that it will proceed with the highly controversial Site C dam mega-project in the Peace River Valley. The Site C dam would flood almost 20 percent of class one to three farmland in the Peace River Valley, according to a study by the West Moberly First Nations and the Peace Valley Environmental Association. The dam’s destruction of wildlife values is also cause for alarm, given the critical role of the Peace River’s islands and wetlands in wildlife breeding and wintering cycles.
Site C's environmental assessment entered the Joint Review Panel stage at the beginning of August, after the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency and the B.C. Environmental Assessment Office determined that B.C. Hydro's amended Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) was satisfactory.
If the joint review panel decides the EIS is sufficient, public hearings will be set for fall/winter 2013, with a final decision expected in fall, 2014.
However, the Site C Dam proposal has bypassed approval by the British Columbia Utilities Commission, spurring the Peace Valley Environmental Association to file a complaint with the BCUC asking for their regulatory oversight. Recently, BC MLA Vicki Huntington spoke out in support of PVEA's complaint.
Site C fails to meet minimum international standards for large dam construction, according to the World Commission on Dams. Although the B.C. government is presenting the $7.9 billion hydro project as a "clean energy project", Site C would increase annual greenhouse gas emissions in British Columbia by almost 150,000 tonnes. The project's carbon footprint derives from construction emissions, as well as emissions created by the flooded boreal forest as it decays. Much of the power from Site C will go to environmentally destructive fracking developments in B.C.’s northeast. Natural gas from fracking in turn will power the extraction of oil from Alberta’s tar sands.
Learn more about the Site C dam in Sierra Club BC's interactive web presentation.56.1914244928 -120.857162476
US energy company Kinder Morgan is proposing to build a new pipeline from Alberta to Burnaby, B.C. in order to export tar sands crude to international markets in the U.S. and Asia.
US energy company Kinder Morgan is proposing to build a new pipeline from Alberta to Burnaby, B.C. in order to export tar sands crude to international markets in the U.S. and Asia. The proposed new pipeline would increase the capacity of the system from the current 300,000 barrels per day to at least 890,000 barrels per day, bringing over 400 tankers a year across the Salish Sea and putting salmon rivers and the B.C. coast at risk of oil spills. The new pipeline would exclusively carry heavier oils such as diluted bitumen, destined for export.
This new pipeline rivals Enbridge Inc.’s proposed Northern Gateway oil pipeline, a project that would ship 525,000 barrels of crude per day from Alberta to Kitimat.Kinder Morgan's proposed Trans Mountain pipeline offers 50 new jobs while putting over 200,000 at risk according to report.
The larger tankers planned for Second Narrows can carry up to one million barrels of crude - three times the amount spilled in the Exxon Valdez disaster. And in this case, it would be diluted bitumen from the tar sands rather than conventional crude. Diluted bitumen—bitumen extracted from the tar sands and then diluted with natural gas liquids so that it can flow through pipes—differs from conventional crude: it is thicker, more acidic, more sulphuric, and more abrasive. Translation: diluted bitumen is more likely to cause corrosion in the pipelines through which it flows, as well as in the tankers that carry it through marine ecosystems. It is also harder to clean up. Conventional oil spill clean-up responses, which focus on containing and recovering oil floating on the surface of the water, are largely ineffective in the case of a bitumen spill, because bitumen will sink below the surface, as happened when an Enbridge pipeline sprung a leak in Kalamazoo, Michigan. In 2013, an Exxon pipeline leaked tar sands crude into an Arkansas suburb and here in B.C. the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline has been shut down twice due to leakage.
Diluted bitumen carries risks that we’re only beginning to understand. Read the article in the New York Times.
Watch the Global TV news clip featuring Sierra's Executive Director, George Heyman (on leave).
The project has drawn strong opposition from the Tsleil-Waututh First Nation of Burrard Inlet whose members still live with the consequences of a crude spill that dates back to the 1950s.
Sierra Lower Mainland is working with other groups to mobilize opposition to the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion. Read Shirley Samples' blog from the Save the Salish Sea Canoe Gathering in September 2012, hosted by the Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations, which Lower Mainland group attended as observers.
Local governments are also concerned about the risk of disasters in a densely populated area. In May 2012, Burnaby Mayor and Council unanimously opposed the new proposed Kinder Morgan pipeline, which would have "significant risks and impacts on Burnaby's economic, social and environmental well-being." Other local governments on the Kinder Morgan tanker route, such as the Island Trust and the municipality of Oak Bay in Victoria, have also passed resolutions against the proposed new pipeline.
In the past five years, Metro Vancouver has seen two pipeline spills in Burnaby (in 2007 and 2009) and, in January 2012, a spill in Abbotsford.
Conversations for Responsible Economic Development (CRED), a collaboration of business owners, academics, landowners and everyday residents of British Columbia who support responsible economic development, has released a report on the proposed Kinder Morgan pipeline that highlights the over 200,000 jobs that are at stake.
Even with a high-bar, unbiased environmental assessment, looking at each pipeline project separately would not give a true picture of its impact. Kinder Morgan’s proposed new pipeline is part of the tar sands rush - the push to more than double production from Alberta's tar sands by 2020.
We need to look at the big picture. According to the International Energy Agency, global warming requires urgent reduction and/or replacement of fossil fuel infrastructure within the next five years. We should be shifting investment toward energy efficiency and renewable energy, not building new infrastructure to expand the exploitation of the world's dirtiest oil - Alberta's tar sands.
Stopping the Kinder Morgan expansion is crucial to shifting Canada's energy sector away from dependence on fossil fuels and toward economic alternatives that protect communities and slow global warming.49.3096797111 -123.141975403
Imagine a remote, hurricane-swept landscape of stunted shrubs and tufted hairgrass, echoing with the voices of thousands of seabirds nesting on bare rock and in underground burrows. This is Triangle Island, part of the Scott Islands Archipelago off the north-western tip of Vancouver Island. It is home to about half of the world's population of Cassin's Auklets, the quirky Rhinoceros Auklet and BC's largest colony of Tufted Puffins.
Imagine a remote, hurricane-swept landscape of stunted shrubs and tufted hairgrass, echoing with the voices of thousands of seabirds nesting on bare rock and in underground burrows.
This is Triangle Island, part of the Scott Islands Archipelago off the north-western tip of Vancouver Island. It is home to about half of the world's population of Cassin's Auklets, the quirky Rhinoceros Auklet and BC's largest colony of Tufted Puffins.
Dubbed "penguins of the north", these seabirds of the alcid family are expert underwater swimmers. Unlike penguins, they are able to fly, fast and low, scanning the waters for small fish and krill - tiny shrimp-like creatures floating freely with oceanic currents.
But global warming is taking a toll on this globally significant seabird breeding colony. Monitoring data gathered by government scientists reveal that the abundance of seabird food declines in warmer waters - for some species up to 80 percent compared to fifty years ago.
The scarcity caused by global warming affects not just the hungry chicks and adults on Triangle Island, but fish stocks and the predators that depend on them - including us.
Fortunately, a recent proposal under the Canada Wildlife Act would establish a Marine Wildlife Area around the Scott Islands that would protect habitat for migrant and breeding populations of seabirds. A large area of the surrounding ocean will be protected in order to guarantee food supply. The islands themselves are already ecological reserves. Environmental groups have a seat on the advisory committee.50.8643275 -129.0819529
The Sacred Headwaters is the shared birthplace of three of B.C.’s most important wild salmon rivers: the Skeena, the Nass and the Stikine. Royal Dutch Shell plans to turn the Sacred Headwaters into a coalbed methane gas field scarred by a maze of wells, pipelines and roads.
The Sacred Headwaters is the shared birthplace of three of B.C.’s most important wild salmon rivers: the Skeena, the Nass and the Stikine. This remote alpine basin in northern B.C. is home to grizzly bears, wolves, moose, caribou, mountain sheep and other mammals that are part of the Spatsizi ecosystem, one of the largest intact predator-prey systems anywhere in North America. It is also home to the Tahltan First Nations, whose people have hunted and trapped in the Sacred Headwaters for millennia.
In 2004, Shell Canada (now Royal Dutch Shell) was awarded a 400,000 hectare tenure to develop coalbed methane (CBM) in the Sacred Headwaters in northwest British Columbia. The Sacred Headwaters was about to become a coalbed methane gas field scarred by a maze of wells, pipelines and roads. This sparked massive opposition throughout the region and province-wide. In August 2007, members of the Tahltan Nation and the Klabona Keepers blockaded the main access road to the Sacred Headwaters. Sierra Club BC and other environmental organizations took up the cause internationally.
In 2008, the B.C. government declared a four-year moratorium on oil and gas development in the Sacred Headwaters. The International League of Conservation Photographers visited the Sacred Headwaters in August 2011 to document what is at stake. Check out their photos. The Sacred Headwaters was also named the most endangered river in B.C., for the second year in a row, by the Outdoor Recreation Council. Learn more.
Finally, in December 2012, the B.C. government announced a permanent ban on oil and gas development in the Sacred Headwaters.
Shell Canada agreed to give up its rights to shale gas in the Sacred Headwaters, in part because it wanted to focus on its plans for fracking in northeastern B.C. In exchange, the B.C. government agreed to issue Shell $20-million in royalty credits, to be used by Shell to help build a new water recycling project, which will support its gas developments elsewhere in the province.
Despite the ban on oil and gas development, the Sacred Headwaters is still at risk of polluting mining projects, such as the proposed Red Chris mine, an Imperial Metals open-pit copper and gold mine. Coal mining proposals are also a concern.
"Shell Oil may be gone from our traditional lands, but new coal mining proposals are a major concern too," says Annita McPhee, President of Tahltan Central Council.57.7158851277 -130.001220703
The Flathead River Valley, tucked into B.C.’s southeast corner, is a hotspot for biodiversity and a Noah’s Ark for many species that have lost habitat elsewhere. Until recently, the Flathead was threatened by a land use plan that promoted mining and energy development above all other values.
The Flathead River Valley, tucked into B.C.’s southeast corner, is a hotspot for biodiversity and a Noah’s Ark for many species that have lost habitat elsewhere. The Flathead is home to a remarkable 16 carnivore species, ranging from the tiny marten to the mysterious wolverine. Six species of hoofed animals roam this spectacular Rocky Mountain wilderness, including bighorn sheep, moose and the hardy mountain goat. The Flathead has the greatest density of grizzly bears in the interior of North America, and some of the world’s purest water. B.C.’s Flathead has long been recognized as the missing piece of the adjacent Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park. Learn more about what makes the Flathead a special place.
Check out our interactive presentation on the findings of the 2012 Flathead BioBlitz.
Until recently, the Flathead was threatened by a land use plan that promoted mining and energy development above all other values. In November 2011, following an intense campaign by Sierra Club BC and other conservation groups, the B.C. government legislated a ban on mining and energy development in the Flathead. The legislated ban is a very welcome first step, but it does not permanently protect this globally-significant wildlife area.
Today, the Flathead is threatened by plans for industrial logging, new road access, and trophy hunting of grizzlies and other animals that are given sanctuary only steps away in Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park. Learn more about Flathead issues.
It’s time for B.C. to follow the lead of Alberta and Montana, and protect B.C.’s Flathead permanently with a National Park in the southeastern one-third of the valley—which would become part of the World Heritage Site and a separate UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. We also need a Wildlife Management Area in the rest of the valley and adjoining habitat, to preserve a vital link in North America’s longest remaining wildlife corridor. Learn more about solutions for the Flathead.49.1226464797 -114.495391846
From the northern tip of Vancouver Island northwards to Alaska, numerous bays, shores and current-swept passages nurture underwater kelp forests every bit as spectacular as groves of ancient cedar on land. Coral "gardens" create underwater homes where other marine animals can hide, reproduce, feed and grow. In Hecate Strait, 9,000-year-old glass sponge reefs grow five stories high, sheltering 36 species of long-lived rockfish. Every spring, wind-swept islands echo with the voices of thousands of breeding seabirds.
This area was named PNCIMA (prounced "pin-SEE-mah") by the Government of Canada in 2002, which stands for the Pacific North Coast Integrated Management Area. Sierra Club BC has been an active party in the initiation of a management process that will treat the region as an integrated whole, and consider the needs and interests of all people, animals and plants that both comprise and share our ocean resources.
In December 2008, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed by Coastal First Nations and DFO to initiate collaborative governance in PNCIMA. The Province of BC has been invited to participate but to date retains status as an observer to the process. This step is the first in fulfilling the obligations of the Oceans Act of 1997 on the Pacific Coast.
Sierra Club BC and other conservation groups are gratified that their recommendation that the marine-use planning process actively engage the people who live, work and play on the North Coast has been initiated. The process promises to bring the best available science to the table to inform decisions about the future of this magnificent region.
If done properly, marine planning in PNCIMA will integrate the needs of coastal industries, businesses and communities that use the ocean and its resources. The eventual designation of a network of Marine Protected Areas will improve ocean health generally, mitigate climate change by the sequestration ofand improve the productivity of fisheries. These are key strategies in maintaining ecosystem resilience in the face of oncoming climate effects.54.3419487262 -131.112556458
B.C.’s Great Bear Rainforest is a global ecological treasure. Until 2006, the Great Bear Rainforest was threatened by industrial logging. An historic land use consensus was achieved in February 2006. Now, as conservation groups work towards achieving full implementation of the five-year plan agreed to by stakeholders in 2009, the Great Bear Rainforest is facing new threats, including a proposed oil pipeline and tanker traffic.
B.C.’s Great Bear Rainforest is a global ecological treasure. It is home to 1,000-year-old western red cedars, trees as tall as 30-storey buildings and the rare white Kermode bear—or “Spirit” Bear. This dazzling coastal forest is intricately linked to the ocean in a maze of fjords and inlets. It stretches from on B.C.’s south coast to the Alaskan border to the north and is the traditional territory of First Nations who have lived in this ecosystem for thousands of years. Covering 6.4 million hectares, the Great Bear Rainforest represents 25 per cent of the earth’s remaining ancient coastal temperate rainforests.
Until 2006, the Great Bear Rainforest was threatened by industrial logging. Following a prolonged international campaign, an historic land use consensus was achieved in February 2006 by the B.C. government, Learn about the history of this important campaign., the forest industry, environmental groups and other stakeholders. The agreements legally two million hectares of the Great Bear Rainforest from logging—an area about the size of Belize. They also commit forestry companies to switch to lighter touch logging practices in the remainder of the forest. Sierra Club BC played a key role in achieving the Great Bear Rainforest Agreements.
As Sierra Club BC and other conservation groups work towards achieving full implementation of the five-year plan agreed to by stakeholders in 2009, the Great Bear Rainforest is facing new threats. Enbridge Inc. is proposing to build a pipeline from the tar sands of northern Alberta to Kitimat, B.C. The pipeline would transport tar sands crude to Kitimat, where it would be loaded onto supertankers destined for Asia and the US. More than 200 tankers a year—two to three per week—would weave a hazardous path through an obstacle course of narrow, reef-studded channels and inlets of B.C.’s Great Bear Rainforest. Learn more about the proposed pipeline and other threats to this world-renowned protected area.53.423919 -129.25351
Located on the west coast of Vancouver Island, Clayoquot Sound’s globally rare temperate rainforests are awe-inspiring dynamic ecosystems. Now, with few economic alternatives in sight, logging once again threatens the 60,000 hectares of Clayoquot’s remaining intact rainforest valleys that are still unprotected.
Located on the west coast of Vancouver Island, Clayoquot Sound’s globally rare temperate rainforests are awe-inspiring dynamic ecosystems. Three-quarters of Vancouver Island’s ancient forest has already been logged. Clayoquot Sound houses the largest tract of ancient forest remaining on the Island. Clayoquot’s forests store more carbon per hectare than almost any other forest on earth.
Clayoquot Sound made Canadian history in the early 90s when hundreds were arrested in a civil disobedience action aimed at protecting this ancient temperate rainforest from clear-cut logging. Since then, Clayoquot has become known around the world as a model for conservation and a test area for economic activities that don’t undermine the environment. In 2000, it became B.C.’s first UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve.
Yet little progress has been made in securing legislated protection for Clayoquot’s ancient forests and in advancing the title, rights and community aspirations of the Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations of the area. Now, with few economic alternatives in sight, logging once again threatens the 60,000 hectares of Clayoquot’s remaining intact rainforest valleys that are still unprotected.
Securing a Future for the Forests and People of Clayoquot Sound
Sierra Club BC and our partners in the Clayoquot Sound Conservation Alliance seek to work collaboratively with First Nations toward lasting conservation solutions for Clayoquot Sound’s remaining ancient rainforest valleys. The approach involves developing conservation financing for First Nation communities’ economic initiatives, along with agreements to protect the 60,000 hectares (148,000 acres) of unlogged rainforest valleys within First Nations’ traditional territories. Conservation financing raised would be used by the First Nations to create alternative and sustainable economic opportunities.
We support a new conservation model that protects Clayoquot’s ancient rainforest while offering a sustainable, diverse economic future for the region’s people. Together, with vision and determination, we can build an environmentally and socially just future in Clayoquot Sound.49.2875149391 -126.040649414
- Clayoquot Sound
Enbridge Inc. plans to pipe crude oil from Alberta’s tar sands to B.C.’s Port of Kitimat, and ship it in supertankers to Asian markets. More than 200 tankers a year would weave a hazardous path through an obstacle course of narrow, reef-studded channels and inlets of B.C.’s north coast. The vast majority of British Columbians are opposed to oil tanker traffic through the Great Bear Rainforest.
From the Tar Sands to the Great Bear Rainforest
Enbridge Inc. plans to pipe crude oil from Alberta’s tar sands to B.C.’s Port of Kitimat, and ship it in supertankers to Asian markets. More than 200 tankers a year – two to three per week – would weave a hazardous path through an obstacle course of narrow, reef-studded channels and inlets of B.C.’s north coast that have already claimed ships like the B.C. ferry Queen of the North. The vast majority of British Columbians are opposed to oil tanker traffic through the Great Bear Rainforest, the largest intact coastal temperate rainforest on the planet. Learn more.
A spill from just one of these supertankers could release up to one-half of the oil spilled in 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico. Spills would be devastating for coastal communities and First Nations that rely on tourism and fishing, as well as for marine and shore creatures like salmon and the rare spirit bear. An accident, triggered by weather, mechanical malfunction or human error, would be only a matter of time.
A Line in the Sand
A diverse alliance of First Nations, environmental groups and municipal governments has drawn a line in the sand: no oil tankers along B.C.’s north coast! In December 2010, Canada’s House of Commons passed a motion calling for a legislated ban on tanker traffic. While not binding, the motion expresses the majority will of Parliament and introduces a moral obligation for the Canadian government to ban oil tanker traffic on B.C.’s north coast.
Who is opposed?
- Coastal First Nations (Declaration March 2010)
- Many environmental groups including Sierra Club BC
- Haida Gwaii Municipalities (June 2010)
- Union of BC Municipalities (October 2010)
- 61 First Nations from the Fraser River Watershed (December 2010)
- Liberal, NDP and Bloc Quebecois MPs from across Canada who voted for a legislated tanker ban
- Countless grassroots and local citizens’ groups
Unless we stop them, hundreds of tankers a year will soon travel through grey whale migratory routes, along Great Bear Rainforest shorelines where foraging spirit bears provide ecotourism opportunities, and among salmon gathering to spawn. Together we can stop them. Please take action now.54.062911 -128.638353
The "Heart of Quadra Parks" is part of one of the most popular marine wilderness destinations on B.C.’s coast, and has been on the top of B.C. Parks' acquisition list for over a decade. A bid by the B.C. government to purchase the land was submitted by the final deadline of August 1, 2013.
Paddlers and boaters exploring the Octopus Islands Provincial Park off the northern tip of Quadra Island are drawn to sheltered Waiatt Bay. A short portage over flat terrain leads to Small Inlet Provincial Park on Quadra's north-western side, complete with moorage and wilderness camping. While waiting for slack water to launch into the tidal rapids of Discovery Passage, paddlers can enjoy a hike through hemlock forest to a delightful small lake perfect for an afternoon swim.
Though the B.C. government signed a purchase agreement in May 2012 to acquire the 395 hectare parcel of waterfront land connecting Octopus Islands and Small Inlet Provincial Parks, the purchase stalled after a number of missed deadlines. A sealed bid to purchase the land was submitted by the final deadline of August 1, 2013.
Now the purchase is one step closer after Merrill & Ring, the American forestry company who own the land, agreed to enter into a sales agreement with the government.
According to September 13, 2013 article in the Times Colonist, the provincial government has at least one outstanding condition to satisfy by the end of September to close the agreement,
The proposed park is part of one of the most popular marine wilderness destinations on B.C.’s coast, and has been on the top of B.C. Parks' acquisition list for over a decade. The property features an historic trail connecting the east and west shores of Quadra Island at its narrowest point. The area, with freshwater lakes and spectacular waterways, offers terrific hiking, camping and kayaking opportunities and contains important archaeological sites, including the portage trail and an aboriginal clam garden—one of the best preserved sites of its kind on the coast.
The 395-hectare parcel of land is already featured on the B.C. Parks website as the connection between the two marine parks, which contribute to a flourishing tourism economy in the Discovery Islands and many sustainable jobs in the region. Nature-based tourism in B.C. is a $1.5 billion a year sustainable industry employing more than 13,000 people directly and supporting more than 1,600 small businesses.
In the summer of 2012, Quadra Islanders and Sierra Quadra mounted a heroic effort and raised $200,000 in only a few months. When the government was not able to raise the balance of the purchase price by the original closing date of September 2012, the landowner agreed to wait first until Feb, 2013, and again until August 1.
Completion of the parks will enhance tourism and other economic benefits for Quadra Island and neighbouring communities such as Campbell River, and ensure valuable recreation opportunities for B.C. families in one of the most spectacular areas of our province.50.2616927898 -125.265426636
In March 2012, the BC Government approved a controversial luxury ski resort proposed for the wild Jumbo Valley. The 6,500-bed resort, on a receding glacier, would fragment critical grizzly bear habitat and threaten river flows. Local groups are challenging the B.C. government's decision in court.
In March 2012, the BC Government approved a controversial luxury ski resort proposed for the wild Jumbo Valley. The 6,500-bed resort, on a receding glacier, would fragment critical grizzly bear habitat and threaten river flows.
The decision met with strong opposition from local residents and the Ktunaxa First Nation. In response, the B.C. government passed amendments to the Local Government Act which allow for the creation of ski-resort municipalities with no residents. In November 2012 the B.C. government used these amendments to create a new municipality - the Jumbo Mountain Resort Municipality.
The Ktunaxa Nation has filed an application in the B.C. Supreme Court for a judicial review of the resort's approval, asserting the nation's right to consultation as holder of aboriginal title.
Jumbo is located in the heart of the wild and remote Purcell Mountains in south-eastern B.C. Set amidst breathtaking scenery of snowy peaks and majestic glaciers, the valley teems with wildlife, including the vulnerable trans-boundary population of at-risk grizzly bears. The area is part of a vital corridor grizzlies use to access the Purcell Conservancy.
The Ktunaxa First Nation Nation has been opposing the resort for years. Jumbo, Qat'muk to the Ktunaxa, is a place that the Ktunaxa hold in especial respect as the home of the grizzly bear. Sierra Club BC, Wildsight and many other environmental groups also oppose the project, as do Kootenay residents, back country skiers, heli-ski businesses and thousands of people who have signed petitions against it.
The proposed Jumbo Glacier Resort is a "recreational city" that would house more than 6,500 people in single-family chalets, townhouse units, and condo/hotel buildings, complete with all amenities, a network of ski lifts and access roads.
The impact on grizzly bears would be severe. The resort city would fragment a crucial wildlife corridor between the northern and southern Purcells, blocking wildlife access to the Purcell Conservancy. Grizzlies depend on this connected habitat to maintain healthy populations in the region.
The context for this development is a steadily warming climate, when many Canadian resorts are struggling to remain open through the winter. The development could hasten the melting of the Jumbo glacier, and disrupt the river flows in the Columbia basin.49.8532294 -116.1892117
The proposed Raven Coal Mine near Fanny Bay is one of three new coal mines proposed for Vancouver Island.
Coal mining was one of Vancouver Island’s earliest industries. Now coal—the worst fossil fuel offender when it comes to greenhouse gas emissions -- is making a dubious comeback. The proposed Raven Coal Mine near Fanny Bay is one of three new coal mines proposed for Vancouver Island. In all, 10 new coal mines are slated for B.C., doubling the number of coal mines in our province.
The proposed Raven mine would remove 44 million tonnes of coal over 20 years. Sierra Club BC is concerned about the impacts of harmful coal dust, noise from the 24-hour a day operation, loss of salmon habitat, the threat to the shellfish industry in nearby Baynes Sound, and potential contamination of aquifers that supply drinking water.
The coalmine will be located only five kilometres upstream from the Baynes Sound shellfish industry, which creates 600 full-time jobs for local people and produces $28 million of shellfish annually. The shellfish are harvested and processed in safe, sustainable ways.
Many harmful toxins can be found in the waste water from coal mines, including heavy metals and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Shellfish are filter feeders and need clean water to survive as they filter out nutrients from the water. If PAHs and heavy metals enter Baynes Sound, the shellfish will consume and store the harmful compounds. This could lead to unsellable shellfish and the destruction of shellfish populations. The B.C. Shellfish Growers Association is opposed to the Raven mine.49.5011340332 -124.849319458
Hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as fracking, is the controversial practice of blasting water, sand and toxic chemicals into deep, underground shale formations to release natural gas. Despite rising public concern over health, fresh water and environmental impacts, the controversial use of fracking in natural gas production is speeding ahead.
Hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as fracking, is the controversial practice of blasting water, sand and toxic chemicals into deep, underground shale formations to release natural gas. Despite rising public concern over health, fresh water and environmental impacts, the controversial use of fracking in natural gas production is speeding ahead in the Horne River Basin (north of Fort Nelson) and Monteney Shale Basin (around Hudson Hope, Fort St.John, and Dawson Creek areas, and the traditional territories of Treaty 8 First Nations).
Watch the video,, by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. Or, read CCPA's report, .
On November 24, Sierra Club BC hosted the panel discussion Fracking 101, featuring: Ben Parfitt, the author of Fracking Up Our Water, Hydro Power and Climate; Lana Lowe, Director of Lands and Resources with the Fort Nelson First Nation; Naomi Owens, Acting Land Director and Biologist with the Salteau First Nations, and; Irene Merrick, Rancher and Director with PESTS (Peace Environment and Safety Trustees Society) in Dawson Creek. A full house listened to the moving and alarming stories from the panel.
Sierra Club BC is calling on the B.C. government to consult and involve First Nations and impacted communities and to initiate a comprehensive science-based public inquiry of fracking impacts.58.8956015155 -122.713851929
This beloved regional trail, which every year attracts thousands of visitors, deserves to be permanently protected from encroachment by expanding the narrow buffer zone. Write a letter to Premier Christy Clark and ask her to take immediate steps to expand Juan de Fuca park including the former Tree Farm Licence 25 lands, from the ocean to Highway 14.
Bear Beach, wild and rocky, is about a 40 minute drive from Sooke en route to Port Renfrew on Highway 14, the West Coast Road along the south-western side of Vancouver Island. Proper access is from China Beach, the beginning of the Juan de Fuca Trail, but local knowledge will cut you in from the highway, down an old logging road, past Ministry of Transport storage of large and heavy items, to a plateau rich in the bloom of second growth recovering forest. Giant stumps of sitka spruce and cedar ghost the landscape.The Juan de Fuca trail is world‐famous and attracts tourists internationally.
When Juan de Fuca Provincial Park was created in the mid-1990s, the buffer zone around it was part of a Tree Farm Licence and couldn’t be developed. In 2007, the B.C. government allowed the Western Forest Products to sell the lands for development - a widely criticized decision that was slammed by the province's Auditor-General. A Vancouver developer promptly submitted a proposal to construct a massive resort--stretching along 16 kilometres of the trail, complete with 257 vacation homes, a luxury lodge, spa, restaurant, two recreation centres and other buildings.
After years of public process culminating with an amazing three-day public hearing, the CRD Board voted down the proposed Juan de Fuca development in September 2011. Together, hundreds of rresidents of the Capital Regional District voiced their opposition to the development in a marathon public hearing in which over 200 people from all walks of life and from across the CRD spoke in favour of protecting the trail.
Thanks to the commitment of thousands of citizens of the Capital Region, the Juan de Fuca Park is safe from a sprawling resort being built on its fringe - for now. But what about next time?
This beloved regional trail, which every year attracts thousands of visitors from Canada and all over the world, deserves to be permanently protected from encroachment by expanding the narrow buffer zone.48.5302216 -124.4422352
The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) announced in November 2011 that it would review a second proposal from Taseko Mines Ltd. for a Fish Lake gold and copper mine. Taseko’s revised project avoids draining picturesque Fish Lake. Instead, Fish Lake would be surrounded by the proposed open-pit mine and unusable for the life of the mine (up to 33 years).
The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) who announced in November 2011 that it would review a second proposal from Taseko Mines Ltd. for a Fish Lake gold and copper mine has now released their assessment of the "New Prosperity" mine proposal.
The panel found that the mine would have “significant adverse effects” on fish and fish habitat, water quality, Aboriginal use and the South Chilcotin grizzly bear population.
All parties are now waiting for the federal government to make a decision on whether the project will go ahead.
Taseko Mines Ltd’s original proposal for a gold and copper mine near Williams Lake was rejected in 2010 by then federal Environment Minister Jim Prentice, following a scathing environmental assessment that concluded the mine would cause irreparable damage to First Nations rights, as well as to fish stocks and at-risk grizzly populations.
“This repackaged proposal would be even more environmentally destructive than the original proposal, according to Taseko’s own statements,” said Sierra Club BC former Executive Director George Heyman after the November 2011 decision. “There is something seriously wrong with our assessment process when a company like Taseko can simply re-submit a mining proposal after it has been soundly rejected. It would be a far better use of time and money to focus on mining proposals that are more environmentally appropriate and have the support of First Nations.”
Taseko’s revised project avoids draining picturesque Fish Lake, home to 80,000 rainbow trout and once featured on a B.C. tourism brochure. Instead, Fish Lake would be surrounded by the proposed open-pit mine and unusable for the life of the mine (up to 33 years). Little Fish Lake, which is crucial to the ecosystem that supports the unique trout population, would be destroyed.
The proposed mine is on the traditional lands of the Xeni Gwet’in First Nation, a member of the Tsilhqot’in National Government, which won a court case recognizing its rights to the area and is staunchly opposed to the mine.51.4473743176 -123.610610962