Category: Environmental

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B.C. Proposes to Significantly Broaden Requirements for Spill Reporting and Response

April 26, 2016

The British Columbia government is seeking further input on its proposed new regime for spill reporting, preparedness and response through the release of an intentions paper on April 5, 2016 and an open comment period until June 30, 2016. The proposed program is the government’s response to concerns around the potential impacts of spills from the two major oil pipelines…

Alberta Budget 2016: Climate Leadership Plan Implementation

April 21, 2016

Alberta’s Climate Leadership Plan (Plan) was released on November 22, 2015. The Plan represented a dramatic and fundamental shift in Alberta’s approach to climate change and greenhouse gas (GHG) issues, including to achieve the government’s stated objective of gaining support and “social licence” for the pipeline takeaway capacity needed to support Alberta’s oil and gas production and export industries. With…

Quebec’s Energy Policy: Ambitious Energy Goals for 2030

April 11, 2016

After extensive public consultations, the Government of Quebec announced Quebec’s energy policy for 2016–2030 (Policy) on April 7, 2016. By focusing on energy efficiency, innovation and renewable energy, the Policy aims to transition towards a low-carbon economy that will help fight climate change. Environmental organizations, businesses and First Nations thus far seem to be in favour of the Policy. The…

Species at Risk Putting Wind Projects at Risk

March 11, 2016

Ontario’s Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) has allowed another wind project Renewable Energy Approval (REA) appeal on the basis of environmental concerns. In doing so, it has made findings on the statutory test of “serious and irreversible harm to animal life or the natural environment” with respect to species at risk that could have significant impacts on future renewable energy projects….

B.C. Enters New Era of Water Regulation as Water Sustainability Act Is Brought into Force

March 10, 2016

Nearly two years after passing the Water Sustainability Act (WSA), the province of British Columbia has quietly brought it into force through the registration of five new regulations. Together, these implement a new regime that expands the authority of the province to take action on water use, management and conservation. For more information on what has effectively been a six-year…

Legal Trends 2016: Oil & Gas

March 9, 2016

ONE | LOW COMMODITY PRICES As depressed oil prices continue to dominate the headlines and natural-gas prices hover near record lows, sustained low commodity prices have had a cascading effect on the industry, compelling companies to fundamentally alter their business strategies. Cash-flow management is among the areas most impacted. Without a steady income stream, companies are left with few options….

Quebec’s Energy, Mining Sectors Searching for Clarity on Social Acceptability

March 7, 2016

On February 16, 2016, Quebec’s Energy and Natural Resource Minister Pierre Arcand tabled a green paper (referred to in French as the “Livre Vert”) at the National Assembly, outlining five guidelines regarding social acceptability as it relates to the use of public lands and the development of natural resource projects in Quebec (Green Paper). This Green Paper is the latest…

Ontario Announces Climate Change Mitigation and Low Carbon Economy Act and the Cap-and-Trade Program Regulations

February 26, 2016

The Ontario government (Government) has taken significant steps in its fight against climate change by introducing two significant pieces of climate change legislation: The Climate Change Mitigation and Low Carbon Economy Act (Act) on February 24, 2016 The Cap and Trade Program Regulations (Regulations) on February 25, 2016 BACKGROUND On April 15, 2015, the Government signed an agreement with Quebec…

Viewpoint: The Great Debate, Part I: Canadian Government Announces Review of Federal Environmental Assessment Process

January 29, 2016

In 2012, I wrote an article about the Conservative government’s enactment of CEAA 2012 called “Fixing the Energy Approval Process in Canada.” For people who aren’t involved in environmental assessment (EA) processes, CEAA 2012 is short for the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012. CEAA 2012 was one of the pieces of federal legislation that became a lightning rod for complaints…

B.C. Has Authority to Impose Conditions on Northern Gateway Pipeline

January 19, 2016

In its recent decision in Coastal First Nations v. British Columbia (Environment), the B.C. Supreme Court (Court) held that the provincial government retains authority to impose conditions on the proposed Northern Gateway Project (Project). As a result, the federal-provincial agreement to proceed with a single environmental assessment of the Project does not mean that federal approval, and the 209 conditions…

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