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People power killed Energy East. Next up: Kinder Morgan

Ricochet by Jason Mogus /October 5, 2017

The fall of 2012 was a tough time to be a tar sands activist, even though an amazing new movement was showing exciting signs of growth. With the fight against Enbridge’s Northern Gateway in B.C. emerging as a “campaign of a generation,” Keystone XL gathering a surprising amount of steam, and awareness of the human rights and environmental disaster in Northern Alberta growing, tar sands pipelines were developing faster than movements could even track, much less build enough power to slow down or stop.

At that point, with the Harper Conservatives in full attack mode on environmentalists, spending tens of millions on PR and other dirty tricks, we realized we were fighting as many as five massive new tar sands pipelines, crossing almost every province in Canada. At one point I even bought a domain name, PipelinesEverywhere.com. The many-headed hydra of the fossil fuel industry was in full strike mode.

While we had a strong movement in B.C. and the United States, and some pockets of activism emerging in the Prairies, we were struggling to make the tar sands an issue of national concern, and badly losing the Enbridge Line 9 fight across Southern Ontario.

“If you want to get really depressed, read these focus group transcripts,” a colleague told me, showing me what the people whose drinking water would be directly affected by Line 9 said was most important to them. Jobs. Investments. Stability. Not climate change. Not a safe environment. And certainly not challenging a powerful federal government hell-bent on pushing a petro-based economy.

Along comes the giant

When the big oil execs and their buddies in the federal cabinet cooked up Energy East, they may have thought they had learned some lessons from the botched job Enbridge did in B.C. Unfortunately for them, they designed their whole campaign within a Toronto- and Calgary-centric, colonialist, neoliberal worldview. Either that, or they can’t read a damn map.

The hundreds of kilometres that Energy East would have had to traverse through La Belle Province apparently never made a big impression on the geniuses in Calgary, Toronto, and Ottawa, as they made misstep after misstep selling the project in Quebec. To be fair, a “foreign” Alberta project, connected to the brand-damaged tar sands, imposed by outsiders, and vigorously promoted by the despised Harper government had a lot of black marks against it from the get-go.

From unacknowledged effects on beluga whales to untranslated documents, leaked creepy PR strategies to suppressed and ignored climate impacts, TransCanada helped us do what we had so far failed to: they made the tar sands a national issue, highlighting the industry’s complete lack of morals to the mainstream. That, and uniting a very passionate — and extremely well organized — province to do whatever it took to block the project. Energy East was a game-changer for the tar sands campaign.

The next few years were exciting and perhaps unprecedented in Canada. Record turnout at hundreds of marches and rallies, massive crowdfunding campaigns, public hearings packed or even shut down, civil disruption, even toppling a powerful and well-funded Harper Conservative government, were all, in my eyes, tied to the climate movement, which was fueled in a significant way by Quebec’s anger towards Energy East.

People power and Indigenous power stopped this pipeline.

So Thursday morning’s announcement of TransCanada pulling the plug didn’t surprise me. The economics of high cost oil have fundamentally changed. Paris happened. Renewable energy costs dropped below those of new fossils. Maybe even Trudeau’s weak “climate test” of new infrastructure helped. But let’s not forget something the likes of the Globe and Mail will never admit: People power and Indigenous power stopped this pipeline.

So where does this leave us on Kinder Morgan?

So while we rightly celebrate the toppling of the giant, the fight against Kinder Morgan just got even tougher. Predictably, Alberta’s Premier Notley told the Globe today, “There is an even greater urgency in completing the Trans Mountain project.”

There is no “thinking man’s pipeline” in the era of the climate crisis.

Since Trudeau approved Kinder Morgan almost a year ago, our options for blocking it have diminished. But we still have options, and they must be taken. First Nations court challenges contesting lack of consultation and consent are being heard in federal court in downtown Vancouver right now. The Pull Together campaign has raised almost $600,000 to pay for four of these nations’ legal bills, with hundreds of Canadians and now Americans in Washington state organizing community events, open mic nights, and other events to raise money and build power. Funding the priorities of Indigenous leaders is, in my opinion, one of the best ways to put reconciliation intentions into action.

Environmental cases arguing against the certain extinction of the southern resident orca population, also started this week. Either or both of these legal strategies have a chance to stop or slow the pipeline, like they did with Enbridge’s Northern Gateway.

If that fails, the Coast Protectors group and their allies have amassed an army 50,000 strong, who have pledged to “do whatever it takes” to stop Kinder Morgan on the land. Structures are being built along the pipeline route. If you have any doubts as to the certitude of these people, watch B.C. Grand Chief Stewart Phillip outside the courthouse on Monday. This man does not mince words.

There is no “thinking man’s pipeline” in the era of the climate crisis. To keep a habitable planet, almost all new fossil fuels must be left in the ground. Now, not in 30 years. The oil sands won’t be growing as planned, or we doom our children to a world of chaos and pain. Canada needs to invest in clean energy, re-train workers for jobs with a future they can be proud of, and live its values by going from climate criminal to real climate leader. We’re not going to get there by keeping our emissions growing every year, and we’re not going to get there by building new pipelines, against the wishes of local communities and Indigenous populations.

So, people, feel your power today. Now let’s get on with the job of stopping Kinder Morgan and building a safe future for everyone.

See article here………..https://ricochet.media/en/1971/people-power-killed-energy-east-and-now-kinder-morgans-next

 

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Vanguard names climate risk as defining investment theme

The Vanguard Group, a major American investment management company, revealed details of its voting record for the last six months — details which showed that the firm, for the first time, defied management to vote in favor of enhanced climate disclosures in a number of key shareholder votes, including at oil giant ExxonMobil.
Greenbiz by Madeleine Cuff
shutterstock_110425607

You’ll be forgiven for missing it. You may have been enjoying what now seems to have been the last gasp of summer — having a long weekend on the beach or snatching the last couple of days with the children before they headed back to school.

But late last week, as offices across the country stood quiet, came the clearest sign yet that the global investment community is waking up to smell the, ahem, climate risk coffee.

The Vanguard Group, a major American investment management company, revealed details of its voting record for the last six months — details which showed that the firm, for the first time, defied management to vote in favor of enhanced climate disclosures in a number of key shareholder votes, including at oil giant ExxonMobil.

Vanguard said the voting record reflects its intention to take more “public positions on select governance topics,” naming climate risk and gender diversity as the two defining themes of its investment approach in the coming years.

It’s hard to overstate the financial muscle of Vanguard and what this move towards a more progressive climate stance could spell. It boasts more than $4.4 trillion in assets under management. It owns at least 5 percent of 468 components of the S&P 500. As of May, it was the world’s second-largest fund company, beaten only by BlackRock.

A warning from Vanguard that climate risk is now one of its top priorities should make board members at companies of all stripes sit up and take notice. The firm holds much of its assets in large index-tracking funds and views itself as a de facto permanent investor in the world’s largest companies, a situation that has made it traditionally cautious of public spats with board management, preferring to try to nudge company governance in public.

A public vote against management on any issue, let alone climate change, carries serious heft from a firm such as Vanguard — more so than an activist investor, however large. Not least because in many cases — including Exxon — it owns enough of the company to hold the deciding vote.

In the United States, where Vanguard is based, climate is a politically and ideologically divisive topic. But Vanguard is at pains to stress the increased focus is not for political or ideological reasons, but because it threatens the long-term economic value of a company. “Regardless of one’s perspective on climate, there’s no doubt that changes in global regulation, energy consumption and consumer preferences will have a significant economic impact on companies, particularly in the energy, industrial and utilities sectors,” said Glenn Booraem, Vanguard’s investment stewardship officer.

That was backed up by fresh warnings from fellow investment giant Schroders, which this week warned industries such as construction, steel and commodity chemicals could see up to 80 percent of their profits wiped out if carbon prices rise to the levels needed to hit Paris Agreement goals.

Vanguard’s stance follows similar positions outlined in recent months by its investment rivals, in what is emerging as a major shift of asset managers in favor of greater disclosure. Investment giant BlackRock offered explicit warnings to companies earlier this year that it will vote against management if its concerns over climate risk are consistently ignored.

Aviva revealed to BusinessGreen back in November that it will vote against reports issued by high-carbon firms that fail to apply the climate risk disclosure guidance at their annual meetings.

And while the work of the Financial Stability Board’s Task Force on Climate Risk (TCFD) is not explicitly mentioned by Vanguard, Booraem makes clear in its Investment Stewardship annual report that greater transparency is urgently needed to correct potential market failures on this topic.

“Our concern is fundamentally that in the absence of clear disclosure and informed board oversight, the market lacks insight into the material risks of investing in that firm,” he said. “It’s of paramount importance to us that the market is able to reflect risk and opportunity in stock prices, particularly for our index funds, which don’t get to select the stocks they own.”

Vanguard makes it clear its fresh focus on climate risk will not mean an end to its preference for more private engagement, but it does spell the end of the road for companies that fail to listen and take action to their concerns. And faced with not just Vanguard, but also fellow asset managers such as BlackRock and Aviva all adopting similar stances, it soon may be untenable for companies to refuse climate disclosure proposals from shareholders out of hand, even without the TCFD’s voluntary guidelines adopted by governments as mandatory requirements.

A new dawn is breaking on the investment world as firm by firm, asset managers accept the real, credible threat of climate risk to the financial system. For board executives, it’s time to put down the holiday reading and start work on the climate risk factors threatening future profits — before investors force the issue.

See article here…….


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China to ban sale of fossil fuel cars in electric vehicle push

 

China will set a deadline for automakers to end sales of fossil-fuel powered vehicles, a move aimed at pushing companies to speed efforts in developing electric vehicles for the world’s biggest auto market.

Xin Guobin, the vice minister of industry and information technology, said the government is working with other regulators on a timetable to end production and sales. The move will have a profound impact on the environment and growth of China’s auto industry, Xin said at an auto forum in Tianjin on Saturday.

A ban on combustion-engine vehicles will help push both local and global automakers to shift toward electric vehicles, a carrot-and-stick approach that could boost sales of energy-efficient cars and trucks and reduce air pollution while serving the strategic goal of cutting oil imports. The government offers generous subsidies to makers of new-energy vehicles. It also plans to require automakers to earn enough credits or buy them from competitors with a surplus under a new cap-and-trade program for fuel economy and emissions.

Honda Motor Co. will launch an electric car for the China market in 2018, China Chief Operating Officer Yasuhide Mizuno said at the same forum. The Japanese carmaker is developing the vehicle with Chinese joint ventures of Guangqi Honda Automobile Co. and Dongfeng Honda Automobile Co. and will create a new brand with them, he said.

Internet entrepreneur William Li’s Nio will start selling ES8, a sport-utility vehicle powered only with batteries, in mid-December. The startup is working with state-owned Anhui Jianghuai Automobile Group, which also is in a venture with Volkswagen AG to introduce an electric SUV next year.

China, seeking to meet its promise to cap its carbon emissions by 2030, is the latest country to unveil plans to phase out vehicles running on fossil fuels. The U.K. said in July it will ban sales of diesel- and gasoline-fueled cars by 2040, two weeks after France announced a similar plan to reduce air pollution and meet targets to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit).

See article here……

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-09-11/vw-ceo-vows-to-offer-electric-version-of-all-300-models-by-2030


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Activists in B.C. gear up for ‘the next Standing Rock’ with tiny house protest

Plan to build 10 houses on Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline route

“We’re standing in the way of the pipelines,” said Manuel. “We’re occupying and claiming back our traditions and establishing our traditional villages.”

By Brandi Morin, CBC News Posted: Sep 07, 2017

Kanahus Manuel is leading a group of activists and volunteers in a unique project to block the expansion of Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline on Indigenous territory.

Kanahus Manuel is leading a group of activists and volunteers in a unique project to block the expansion of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline on Indigenous territory. (Carrie Cervantes)

An activist from the Neskonlith band of the Secwepemc people in British Columbia is preparing for what she believes is the next Standing Rock, with a unique project aiming to block the expansion of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline on Indigenous territory.

Kanahus Manuel is leading a growing group of activists and supporters from the Secwepemc tribes in B.C. opposed to the pipeline expansion who are constructing tiny houses to place in its path.

“We’re standing in the way of the pipelines,” said Manuel. “We’re occupying and claiming back our traditions and establishing our traditional villages.”

The building of the first tiny house began earlier this week near Kamloops, B.C. Manuel, the daughter of the late political leader and activist Arthur Manuel, is spearheading the “Tiny House Warriors” project.

Tiny house warriors

Work has begun on the Tiny House Warriors project, a protest against the expansion of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline. Activists expect to build 10 homes which will lie on the route of the Kinder Morgan pipeline. (Greenpeace)

Ten tiny houses will be built and placed strategically along the 518-kilometre stretch of the Trans Mountain pipeline route that runs through Secwepemc territory, to assert Secwepemc law and jurisdiction and block access to this pipeline, Manuel said.

She was a constant at the Standing Rock protests in North Dakota, which saw hundreds of activists and self-described water protectors from around the globe come together to protest the Dakota Access Pipeline expansion, arguing it threatened the Missouri River.

She views the protest against the Kinder Morgan pipeline as another Standing Rock starting to unfold.

“It’s going to take everyone to protect our lands and waters. We have the whole world watching because of Standing Rock,” Manuel said.

“Many people from Standing Rock want to come and help fight this — we have a lot of support. And we have a new generation that wants change. It’s coming from the youth and the young people. It’s their future.”

Consent never given for pipeline: Manuel

​Secwepemc territory covers a vast area of unceded land in which the pipeline would threaten Indigenous lands, wildlife and waterways, she said, and consent was never given for the Kinder Morgan expansion.

Ida Manuel

Ida Manuel painting a banner for the ‘Tiny House Warriors’ project. (Greenpeace)

“We, the Secwepemc, have never ceded, surrendered, or given up our sovereign title and rights over the land, waters and resources within Secwepemcul’ecw [traditional Secwepemc territory],” Manuel said.

“We collectively hold title and governance regarding Secwepemcul’ecw and the collective consent of the Secwepemc is required for any access to our lands, waters and resources.”

CBC has contacted Kinder Morgan to request comment.

Trans Mountain announced Wednesday it has finalized agreements with six contractors to build portions of the pipeline expansion, which will carry crude oil from a terminal near Edmonton to Burnaby, B.C. Construction is set to begin later this month.

At a community gathering in Secwepemc territory in June, a declaration was signed to move forward with tiny house building project as the best action to take against the pipeline expansion.

The houses will be outfitted with solar power and efforts will be made to use recycled materials, to minimize environmental impacts.

The houses will be moved and placed strategically along the route of pipeline construction.

“People will be living there. We plan to utilize the spaces for language camps, traditional tattooing,” said Manuel.

The Secwepemc Nation is made up of 17 bands. Manuel said three of the bands have signed some sort of agreement with Kinder Morgan, but it’s hard to find out exactly which bands those are because the deals were not made public.

But Neskonlith Chief Judy Wilson supports the tiny house blockade.

“Neskonlith opposes the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain tar sands pipeline because of the damage we know it would bring,” said Wilson.

“Issues of bitumen being piped across waterways should be everyone’s concerns. We’ve seen with Mount Polley [the site of a 2014 tailings pond breach] that our governments aren’t ready to deal with a spill and the effects are left for us to deal with for years or decades. We won’t let that happen again.”

Manuel estimates that each tiny home will cost under $5,000 and expects all 10 to be finished before the end of September. Greenpeace Canada is sponsoring the first one.

“The Secwepemc Tiny House Warriors are creating community and building homes for their people,” said Mike Hudema, a climate and energy campaigner at Greenpeace Canada.

“This is why we stand with them — the rightful defenders of their lands and waters — in this peaceful and courageous act of defiance. Every step of the way, we will continue to oppose Kinder Morgan and the financial institutions bankrolling this climate-killing, Indigenous rights-bulldozing pipeline.”

Ultimately, Manuel said the tiny house protest is a peaceful act of resistance. Its goal is building something “beautiful that models hope, possibility and solutions to the world,” she said.

“We invite anyone and everyone to join us.”

See article here……..


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Irma won’t “Wake Up” Climate Change-Denying Republicans. Their whole ideology is on the line.

As one of the most powerful storms ever recorded bore down on the continental United States, with much of Florida under evacuation order, President Donald Trump was focused on a matter of grave urgency.
 
An infrared image taken on Sept. 7, 2017, by Suomi NPP, a weather satellite operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The Intercept by Naomi Klein September 11 2017

He gathered his cabinet at Camp David and said there was no time to waste. With Hurricane Irma set to potentially devastate huge swaths of Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina, now was the time, he said, to rush through massive … tax cuts.

Yes, that’s right. He wasn’t focused on getting massive aid to those most affected. He wasn’t focused on massive change to our energy and transit systems to lower greenhouse gas emissions so that Irma-like storms do not become a thrice-annual occurrence. His mind was on massive changes to the tax code — which, despite Trump’s claims that he is driven by a desire to give the middle class relief, would in fact hand corporations the biggest tax cut in decades and the very wealthy a sizable break as well.

Some have speculated that seeing the reality of climate change hit so close to home this summer — Houston underwater, Los Angeles licked by flames, and now southern states getting battered by Irma — might be some kind of wake-up call for climate change-denying Republicans.

US President Donald Trump speaks about Hurricane Irma watched by First Lady Melania Trump upon return to the White House in Washington, DC on September 10, 2017.<br /><br /><br /> Trump returned to Washington after spending the weekend at the Camp David presidential retreat. / AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump speaks about Hurricane Irma, as first lady Melania Trump looks on, upon return to the White House in Washington on Sept. 10, 2017. Trump returned after spending the weekend at the Camp David presidential retreat.

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

As Trump’s address to his cabinet makes clear, however, Irma only makes him want to double down on his reckless economic agenda. Flanked by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, he explained that they were going to discuss “dramatic tax cuts and tax reform. And I think now with what’s happened with the hurricane, I’m gonna ask for a speed up.”Some have pointed out that this is a classic example of what I have called the “shock doctrine” — using disasters as cover to push through radical, pro-corporate policies. And it is a textbook case to be sure, especially because when Trump made his remarks, Irma was at the very height of its potential threat.

But Trump’s timing is even more revealing for what it shows about what’s really driving climate change denial on the right. It’s not a rejection of the science, but a rejection of the consequences of the science. Put simply, if the science is true, then the whole economic project that has dominated American power structures since Ronald Reagan was president is out the window, and the deniers know it.

Because if climate change is driving the kinds of catastrophes we are seeing right now — and it is — then it doesn’t just mean Trump has to apologize and admit he was wrong when he called it a Chinese hoax. It means that he also needs to junk his whole tax plan, because we’re going to need that tax money (and more) to pay for a rapid transition away from fossil fuels. And it also means he’s going to have to junk his deregulatory plan, because if we are going to change how we power our lives, we’re going to need all kinds of regulations to manage and enforce it. And, of course, this is not just about Trump — it’s about all the climate-denying Republican governors whose states are currently being pounded. All of them would have to junk an entire twisted worldview holding that the market is always right, regulation is always wrong, private is good and public is bad, and taxes that support public services are the worst of all.

Here is what we need to understand in a hurry: Climate change, especially at this late date, can only be dealt with through collective action that sharply curtails the behavior of corporations, such as Exxon Mobil and Goldman Sachs (both so lavishly represented at Trump’s cabinet meeting). Climate action demands investments in the public sphere — in new energy grids, public transit and light rail, and energy efficiency — on a scale not seen since World War II. And that can only happen by raising taxes on the wealthy and on corporations, the very people Trump is determined to shower with the most generous tax cuts, loopholes, and regulatory breaks.

In short, climate change detonates the ideological scaffolding on which contemporary conservatism rests. To admit that the climate crisis is real is to admit the end of their political and economic project. That’s why the right is in rebellion against the physical world (which is what prompted hundreds of thousands of scientists around the world to participate in the March for Science in April 2017, collectively defending a principle that really shouldn’t need defending: that knowing as much as possible about our world is a good thing). Yet there is a logical reason why science has become such a battle zone: because it is revealing again and again that pro-corporate business as usual leads to a species-threatening catastrophe.

And this isn’t only about the right — it’s also about the center. What mainstream liberals have been saying about climate change for decades is that we simply need to tweak the existing system here and there and everything will be fine. You can have Goldman Sachs capitalism plus solar panels. But at this stage, the challenge we are up against is much deeper than that.

Lowering our emissions quickly enough to avoid catastrophic warming requires confronting the centrality of ever-expanding consumption in how we measure economic progress. It requires remaking our economy in fundamental ways, including battling the systemic economic and racial inequalities that turn disasters like Harvey and Katrina into human catastrophes. In one sense, then, the members of Trump’s cabinet — with their desperate need to deny the reality of global warming, or belittle its implications — understand something that is fundamentally true: To avert climate chaos, we need to challenge the free-market fundamentalism that has conquered the world since the 1980s.

Trump and his fellow climate change-deniers (and climate change-minimizers) see this challenge to their worldview as a crisis so existential, they are unwilling to let the possibility enter their brains. That’s understandable. Global warming really does have radical progressive implications. If it’s real — and it manifestly is — then the oligarch class cannot continue to run riot without rules.

As the reality of climate disruption shows its menacing face, more and more people will come to understand its obvious political and economic implications. In the meantime, we need to stop waiting for disasters to “wake up” hardcore deniers. The dream they are in is just too damn good, too comfortable, and too profitable. But as Trump uses overlapping disasters of Harvey, Irma, North Korea, and whatever other hell he can exploit to smuggle through his cruel economic agenda, the rest of us should be wide awake to the reality that stopping him, and the worldview he represents, is a matter of humanity’s collective survival.

Partially adapted from “No Is Not Enough: Resisting Trump’s Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need.”

Top image:

See article here………..


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A Legal Toolbox to Defend BC from the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline & amp; Tankers Project June 2017

A Legal Toolbox to Defend BC from the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline & Tankers Project

Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain project, BC Government
Author(s):

Jessica Clogg, Eugene Kung, Gavin Smith, Andrew Gage

Summary:

The historic NDP/Green alliance in British Columbia has committed to “Immediately employ every tool available to the new government to stop the expansion of the Kinder Morgan pipeline, the seven-fold increase in tanker traffic on our coast, and the transportation of raw bitumen through our province.”

In light of this commitment, many people have been asking: “What can BC do about Kinder Morgan?”

In our opinion, the relevant question is not: “Does BC have tools to stand up to Kinder Morgan?” Rather, it is: “What are the best tools for BC to stand up to Kinder Morgan?”

This brief outlines concrete legal options that a new government could use with respect to Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline and tankers project.

Publication Date:

June 2017

Full text:
 A Legal Toolbox to Defend BC from the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline & Tankers Project
The historic NDP/Green alliance in British Columbia, which is poised to form BC’s next provincial
government, has committed to:
Immediately employ every tool available to the new government to stop the expansion of
the Kinder Morgan pipeline, the seven-fold increase in tanker traffic on our coast, and the
transportation of raw bitumen through our province.
In light of this commitment, many people have been asking: “What can BC do about Kinder
Morgan?”
This question raises important issues that in many ways eclipse a single pipeline and tanker
project: global climate change, Indigenous rights and reconciliation, and Canadian federalism, to
name a few.
In our opinion, the relevant question is not: “Does BC have tools to stand up to Kinder Morgan?”
Rather, it is: “What are the best tools for BC to stand up to Kinder Morgan?”
This brief outlines concrete legal options that a new government could use with respect to Kinder
Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline and tankers project. It is not a laundry list – while there are
many tools available, we have focused here on what we believe are the best tools that are:
a) available immediately; and
b) in our view the most likely to withstand legal and political challenges.
2017 Confidence and Supply Agreement between the BC Green Caucus and the BC New Democrat Caucus, at 2.c.
Photo: BC NDP
LEGAL BACKGROUND
1) The Province of British Columbia has the constitutional authority to:
• conduct its own studies and assessment(s) of projects like the Trans Mountain pipeline
and tankers project, even if the process requirements imposed have the potential to
result in a “no”; and,
• attach conditions related to areas of provincial authority that go beyond those imposed
by the federal government in its approval of the project.
2
2) The Province of British Columbia also has a constitutional and moral obligation to fulfill its
duties to consult and accommodate potentially affected First Nations before issuing provincial
approvals and permits required for the Trans Mountain project.
3
3) Furthermore, the Province of British Columbia: (i) cannot authorize an unjustifiable
infringement of Aboriginal title or rights; and (ii) must, where a claim is particularly strong take
steps to preserve the underlying Aboriginal interest pending final resolution of the claim.
• In this context, proceeding with the BC approval – which was granted in January 2017 –
could make BC vulnerable to further legal challenges.
4) The Province can set aside existing provincial approvals and prohibit future provincial approvals
until additional process steps and/or conditions – related to areas of provincial authority – are
fulfilled. Such legal steps can, in our opinion, be taken without offending constitutional provisions
related to the division of powers between the federal and provincial governments.
• This is particularly relevant because of the high-profile problems with the federal
National Energy Board (NEB) process, and the federal Crown’s failure to meet its
constitutional duties to First Nations, as set out in 10 legal challenges brought by First
Nations to the federal approval and NEB recommendation.
5) An outright final rejection or prohibition of the Trans Mountain project by the provincial
government could result in a legal challenge by the federal government on division of powers
grounds,
which would then take many years to resolve in the courts.
• However, we note that if multiple legal challenges
to the federal approval of the Trans Mountain project by First Nations and others are successful in setting the federal
approval aside, then the operational conflict between the federal and provincial decisions
would be removed. This would eliminate one basis for a potential legal challenge by the
federal government.
• The potential of a future legal challenge, which may not occur, should not discourage BC
from taking principled steps to safeguard matters squarely within provincial jurisdiction
(such as drinking water, health and safety, provincial lands and resources etc.), and to
meet its own constitutional duties to First Nations.
Coastal First Nations v British Columbia (Environment), 2016 BCSC 34 at paras 51-56, 71-74.
In R v. Sparrow [1990] 1 SCR 1075, the Supreme Court of Canada recognized that section 35 is a limit on both federal and provincial
powers. More recently, Grassy Narrows First Nation v. Ontario (Natural Resources), [2014] 2 SCR 447 and
Coastal First Nations, supra have confirmed that a province must satisfy the duty to consult First Nations.
See Tsilhqot’in v. British Columbia, 2014 SCC 44 at para 91.
See:
See e.g., Canadian Western Bank v. Alberta, 2007 SCC 22;
British Columbia (Attorney General) v. Lafarge Canada Inc., [2007] 2 S.C.R.86, 2007 SCC 23, Coastal First Nations, supra.
See:
LEGAL TOOLBOX
The provincial government has the authority and obligation to meet its duties to First Nations,
and to protect the interests of British Columbians from this risky project. Below we have set out
four high-potential legal approaches for doing so. They are not mutually exclusive and in some
cases may be mutually enforcing.
Regardless of which legal approach is used, we recommend that the provincial government:
a) Add further processes and conditions related to matters within provincial jurisdiction;
b) Prohibit the issuance of any provincial approvals or permits to Trans Mountain, and
include a provision that any such approvals (i.e., that may have already been issued) are
without effect until the processes and conditions have been satisfied; and,
c) Establish a requirement, with reference to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights
of Indigenous Peoples, that the proponent demonstrate to the Province’s satisfaction
that every First Nation whose territory is potentially impacted by the Trans Mountain
project, including by the risks of spills or malfunctions from either pipelines or tankers,
has provided its free, prior and informed consent for the project (FPIC).
Approach 1:
Cabinet order under section 7 of the Environment and Land Use Act encompassing points a-c above Section 7 of the
Environment and Land Use Act empowers Cabinet to make any order considered “necessary or advisable respecting the environment or land use.” Such an order applies despite any other Act, and a Minister, ministry or agent of the Crown specified in the order may not exercise its power under any other Act or regulation except in accordance with the order.
• Action: Make a Cabinet order establishing additional conditions and processes, beyond
those currently set out in Trans Mountain’s environmental assessment certificate, which
must be satisfied before relevant provincial permits can be granted.
• Effect: This approach does not depend on overturning the existing environmental
assessment certificate per se, but could suspend it until further conditions are met
and processes occur. A condition requiring FPIC from potentially impacted nations
is particularly relevant, as it aligns with commitments also made by the federal
government.
Approach 2:
Court order setting aside the provincial environmental assessment certificate
This approach would involve reviewing the current legal challenges to BC’s Trans Mountain
approval, and issuing new instructions to Crown counsel, on the basis that the former government
did not meet its constitutional duty to consult and accommodate, cannot justify potential
infringements of Aboriginal title and rights from the project, and must take steps to preserve
underlying Aboriginal interests while claims are resolved.
• Action: Instruct counsel for British Columbia in Squamish Nation v British Columbia
(Minister of Environment) to review the application filed and relief sought by the
Squamish Nation, in light of the position of the new government. If the Province of
BC concludes that the previous government did not fulfill its constitutional duties,
then consider seeking a court order based on points of agreement with the Squamish
Nation. Relief sought by Squamish includes overturning the provincial environmental
assessment certificate on the basis that the Province did not meet its duty to consult and
accommodate, and prohibiting further permitting or approvals until the duty is met.
• Effect: Trans Mountain would likely oppose such an order, potentially requiring the
parties to present arguments to a judge before a decision is made. However, given that
consultation and accommodation is an issue between the Crown and First Nations, if
the provincial Crown and the Squamish Nation agree that the environmental assessment
certificate should be set aside, this would provide a highly compelling basis for the Court
to make such an order.
This option has the potential to judicially set aside Trans Mountain’s existing provincial approval,
and could result in a judicial prohibition on issuance of further provincial permits or approvals.
Even if pursuing this option does not immediately overturn the Trans Mountain approval (because
the court wishes to hear argument from Trans Mountain first), it would swiftly signal the new
government’s intention to take seriously the provincial Crown’s constitutional obligations to First
Nations impacted by the project.
In our view, this would greatly increase the likelihood that the environmental assessment
certificate would be set aside by the Court following argument. This approach would open up
opportunities for BC to engage meaningfully with First Nations, undertake additional review
processes and make a new decision on the environmental assessment certificate with additional conditions, if required.
Approach 3:
Order under section 31 of the BC Environmental Assessment Act to vary provisions of the Act as they apply to the Trans Mountain project.  This approach would involve using an existing variation provision in the Environmental Assessment
Act.
to enable changes to Trans Mountain’s environmental assessment certificate by order.
• Action: Make an order under section 31 of the
Environmental Assessment Act, which allows the Minister to order a variation of one or more provisions of the
Environmental Assessment Act or its regulations “in respect of a specified reviewable project” if “there
is or will be an emergency or other circumstance that warrants or will warrant the variation” and “the variation is in the public interest.”
8
Supreme Court of British Columbia Registry Number S-173649.
• Effect: There are a number of different ways this provision could be employed. For
example, the Minister could order a variation of section 37(2) of the Act, which could
broaden the scope of reasons for which the Minister may (by order) amend, suspend
or cancel the Trans Mountain environmental assessment certificate. This would, for
instance, enable the Minister to make further orders adding conditions to the Trans
Mountain certificate as per points a-c above (or even suspending or canceling the
certificate). As another example, the Minister could order a variation of sections 18
and 37 of the Act to enable the Minister to order that the certificate be amended to
significantly shorten its expiry date. Such orders could be made under the existing
Environmental Assessment Act without the need to introduce legislation.
Approach 4:
After existing permits have been altered, suspended or expired, collaboratively develop the
details of further processes and conditions that must be met before provincial permits can be
granted to Trans Mountain
• Existing assessment and review processes in BC are not up to the task of fully assessing
potential impacts on areas of provincial concern from the Trans Mountain project, nor
can they ensure that the Crown’s duties to First Nations met. Both the NDP and Green
Party have recognized the deficiencies in the current BC environmental assessment
(EA) process and have pledged to fix them. New legislation will ultimately be required
to ensure that things are done right in reviewing not just the Trans Mountain project
but future proposed developments. A new BC environmental assessment of the Trans
Mountain project, if required, should ideally occur under the revitalized EA process,
following the enactment of new EA legislation.
• Impacts on health, safety and drinking water have not been fully assessed in relation
to the Trans Mountain project to date. To do so, one option would be to pass a law
requiring an additional in-depth process reviewing impacts of the Kinder Morgan project
on community health and safety before any relevant provincial permits can be granted.
This approach could enable a detailed and in-depth review of Trans Mountain outside of
the current environmental assessment process.
• In general, we recommend that the time be taken to “get it right” in relation to the way
in which proposed projects like the Trans Mountain pipeline and tanker project, and the
cumulative effects of multiple human activities, are assessed in future in BC. However,
flexible tools such as those discussed above (e.g., under the Environment and Land Use Act) or the Public Inquiries Act could be used to design special review processes in the short term. West Coast has been deeply engaged in all four environmental law review processes currently ongoing at the federal level: environmental assessment law and processes, National Energy
Board, Navigation Protection Act, andFisheries Act. We look forward to contributing to similar BC
processes to strengthen our environmental laws and decision-making processes.
A note regarding BC’s protected areas and the Trans Mountain project.
We note that, to accommodate Kinder Morgan, the provincial government has already removed
land from Finn Creek Provincial Park and weakened protective designations for Finn Creek and
Lac Du Bois Grasslands Protected Areas in order to allow the granting of park use permits for
construction of the Trans Mountain pipeline.
9
There are indications that Trans Mountain may be seeking to have lands removed from the North Thompson River and Bridal Veil Falls Provincial Parks as well.
10
Parks are important and receive a very high level of legal protection under BC law. Indeed, the Park Act does not allow the government to approve industrial development within the boundaries of a Class A or C provincial park.
11
To the extent that Trans Mountain may request that the BC government pass legislation removing further land from provincial parks to accommodate its pipeline, the Province has no legislative obligation to do so.
12
The federal government arguably has the legal power to authorize the taking up of Crown land in a provincial park by Trans Mountain under s. 77 of the National Energy Board Act, but such an action needs to be authorized by the federal Cabinet.
13
Thus, if Trans Mountain seeks to have further land legislatively removed from provincial parks and BC does not change its existing laws to allow it, federal Cabinet would need to address the protected status of the lands explicitly and
would presumably have an obligation to consult impacted Indigenous nations before doing so.
Conclusion
It’s time for BC to hit the ‘pause’ button on Kinder Morgan, uphold its obligations to Indigenous
peoples, and properly assess the project’s impacts – before it’s too late. The legal approaches laid
out here are, in our view, the most reasonable, logical and moral options to ensure that Trans
Mountain does not jeopardize the environment, Indigenous rights and public health.
Prepared by:
Jessica Clogg, Eugene Kung, Gavin Smith & Andrew Gage
West Coast Environmental Law Association
Lands were removed from Finn Creek Provincial Park by amending the Protected Areas of British Columbia Act , through Bill 25 of 2016, the Miscellaneous Statutes Amendment Act 2016. Through Order in Council 216/2017 (March 6, 2017), the lands removed were then made subject to an order under the Environment and Land Use Act that provides that the lands will be managed as park-land, subject to the powers of the Lieutenant Governor in Council to approve the construction and operation of the Trans Mountain. Pipeline through a future park use permit. At the same time, in order in Council 117/2017, the government amended an existing Environment and Land Use Act Order related to Lac Du Bois Grasslands Protected Area to make similar provision for the future issuance of a park use permit to Trans Mountain.
10
Carol Linnitt, “Kinder Morgan asks B.C. to Remove Land from Provincial Parks to Make Way for Trans Mountain Pipeline Con-
struction” (September 11, 2014),  eSmog Canada, online: <https://www.desmog.ca/2014/09/11/kinder-morgan-asks-b-c-remove-
land-provincial-parks-make-way-trans-mountain-pipeline-construction >.
11
Park Use Permits are required for activities within a park:
Park Act , R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 344, ss. 8 -9. In relation to Class A and C
parks, Park Use Permits to disturb natural resources may only be issued where the Minister finds that it is “necessary for the preser
-vation or maintenance of the recreational values of the park involved” (s. 9).
12
Note that the approaches set out above would position the provincial government to refuse, for the time being at least, park
use permits for the pipeline until further processes and conditions are addressed. Ideally, the provincial government would also
permanently restore removed lands to Finn Creek Provincial Park by legislation, and make an order restoring the pre-existing level
of protection to Lac Du Bois Grasslands Protected Area by removing the ability to grant park use permits to Trans Mountain. How-
ever, this may more directly raise constitutional issues similar to those discussed in Burnaby (City) v. Trans Mountain Pipeline ULC,  2015 BCSC 2140 in which Burnaby unsuccessfully sought to restrict pipeline related activities in a local protected area.
13
National Energy Board Act
, R.S.C. 1985, c. N-7, s. 77, requires Cabinet to authorize the taking up of Crown land.


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How to revolutionize climate change storytelling

Climate change storytelling is undergoing a major transition, gaining the attention of politicians, countries and corporations around the world. However, with climate deniers newly emboldened and the upcoming Trump administration threatening to turn back environmental progress, will climate change keep capturing our imagination?

Greenbiz.com by  Anya Khalamayzer      Thursday, December 29, 2016

climate-wltc-article

Joel Bach (left) and David Gelber (right), the creators and executive producers of “Years of Living Dangerously”.

Joel Bach and David Gelber, the creators and executive producers of Emmy Award-winning television show, “Years of Living Dangerously,” not only think so —  they’re proving it. The National Geographic Channel show harnesses the power of blockbuster filmmaking to tell the saga of climate change playing out before our eyes.

“Years of Living Dangerously,” which debuted in 2014 and just wrapped its second season, brings together celebrities, politicians, business leaders and individuals impacted by climate change to dive deeper into angles of the story than one feature film can capture. Here, Bach discusses how the craft of storytelling can push momentum towards clean energy and sustainable business.

Joel Bach (left) and David Gelber (right). Anya Khalamayzer: What inspired “Years of Living Dangerously?”

Joel Bach: (Executive producer) David Gelber and I used to work on “60 Minutes” together. We did a couple of stories on climate change and quickly realized this was the most important story out there. We had a fantasy that we would do a feature film on it, but that’s not what we do.

At the time that we launched, it had been a while since “An Inconvenient Truth” had run. We thought there should be a big follow-up to this film that would wake people up to climate change. We wanted a big ensemble of people showing that climate change is happening now, affecting people in the U.S., and there are thousands of people trying to combat it and plan for it.

Khalamayzer: What makes for effective climate change storytelling?

Bach: Vibrant characters matter. And, ideally, a story where you care about the outcome. In season 2, Bradley Whitford did a brilliant story on the Citizens Climate Lobby, which has a stated missions to try to get Republicans to act on climate.

Whitford went to Washington, D.C. and over the course of many months got involved in the process of trying to get Republicans in the tent. There are some struggles and pitfalls, but in the end he succeeds — and you’re along for the ride. We are careful to position our characters so that they are proxies for the viewer. They begin on a journey; they learn things along the way; they continue to ask questions and they encounter people who can provide more information about how to solve the problem.

Khalamayzer: You take people known for their talent in other areas and turn them into climate journalists. How can that teach viewers to investigate their climate impact?

Bach: The show will hopefully encourage people to seek out answers in the way that our cast members seek out answers and find them. It’s always nice to meet people on the ground, but you can also use the Internet. If you’re curious about deforestation, you can begin your own investigation into why it’s on the rise in Indonesia while other areas have it under control.

You can learn, as we did in our story on Amazon deforestation (with Gisele Bündchen), that meat production is the driver. What are the alternatives: Using fake meat? Using land more effectively?

And then, of course, if you really have the inclination, go out there and go to these places and learn for yourself. Hopefully the show can do that heavy lifting for people.

Khalamayzer: How do you address the “doom and gloom” aspect of climate storytelling?

Bach: In season 1, we decided to show that climate change is happening now — not 50 or 100 years from now. In season 2, we wanted to tell a slightly different narrative: We are in a race against time. Each year, the science on climate change gets clearer while the impacts get worse, exceeding what climate scientists had predicted.

On the other hand, solutions to climate change are getting better in the form of technological developments and the falling cost of solar and wind energy solutions. Communities, individuals and governments are taking action to combat climate change. These two narratives playing out at the same time is where the tension exists.

We need to martial our collective will to make sure the good narrative wins at the end of the day — and it’s too soon to tell which one will win. [One example is journalist ] Thomas Friedman’s story on climate migrants fleeing the African continent because the conditions in which they normally grow crops no longer exist. By the end of the century, it’s expected that 60 million people are going to flee Africa. We don’t shy away from those stories because they’re coming at us hard and fast.

Khalamayzer: How do you measure the impact of climate change storytelling?

Bach:If you want people to act, you don’t just throw a bunch of data at them. You get them emotionally engaged. We did an impact survey with Participant Media and got a score of 95 in the category of emotional involvement with viewers.

The survey found that three out of four viewers came to realize that climate change was relevant to their daily lives. Nine in ten viewers learned something about climate change. Half of the respondents took some sort of action as a result of watching the show; a third shared information with others in person or on the phone; a quarter sought out more information. One in six viewers voted in the 2016 election as a result of watching the show and one in five viewers changed another person’s mind on climate change.

Khalamayzer: What key messages did you learn while making this show?

Bach: There are real grassroots solutions that people can get involved in. We have associated with our series a grassroots, millennial-led campaign to put a price on carbon. Any industry that creates carbon dioxide pollutes for free, although we know that CO2 is the most abundant greenhouse gas and the Supreme Court has ruled that it is a pollutant.

Khalamayzer: What should businesses learn about climate storytelling?

Bach: One of the things we are seeing from businesses is a commitment to put a price on carbon. We learned that 100 Fortune 500 companies have pledged to put a price on carbon. The car industry is going through real changes: We did a story in on the rise of autonomous and electric vehicles to completely revolutionize the automobile industry. Not just Tesla, but also Chevy, Cadillac and other companies are getting on board.

These are blue-chip companies that are taking climate change seriously. When companies have the right information to be better stewards of the environment, they jump at the chance because it’s better for business to do things more sustainably.

See article here…..