Jan 26, 2021. Transitioning from oil jobs, dangers of wood heating, climate accountability law isn’t accountability.

Economist Jim Stanford from the Centre for the Future of Work explains
how Canada can transition workers and communities out of fossil fuel industries.

This week on the show we find out how easy it could be to transition workers and families away from the dwindling oil industry.  Economist Jim Stanford says oil isn’t that big an employer in the big picture and he has drafted a plan for a soft landing for oil employees and communities.  

Lots of us in the Kootenay heat our homes with wood, or use wood for some part of our heating.  But wood smoke is a major health hazard.  Thompson Rivers University prof Dr. Michael Mehta explains how dangerous wood smoke can be for our families.  And he says we have much cleaner options.

In December the Trudeau government tabled Bill C-12 a Climate Accountability Act… it was what many people were calling for: a law making governments accountable for meeting climate emission targets.  Now there is a big push on to make the draft law a lot stronger than what Liberals propose.  In a recent webinar, Green Party MP Elizabeth May explained why the law is way too weak and how she seriously doubts the sincerity of the Trudeau government’s climate talk.  We have an excerpt.

Audio file for listening or downloading:

Environment News for week of Jan 26, 2021

Incoming US President Biden, on his first day, again cancelled the Keystone XL pipeline. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney had put $1.5 billion of public money into the project to carry Alberta bitumen to American refineries.  The on-again-off-again pipeline seems to be finally dead.

While Prime Minister Trudeau, Kenney and many others complained that it would hurt Canada’s oil economy, other observers say the additional capacity of the Keystone pipe would never be needed. Unless the extra capacity was needed because of major expansion of the tar sands production. In fact, the TransMountain pipeline, TMX, won’t be needed either if Canada sticks to emission targets.

The final end of the embattled pipeline is being celebrated by environmentalists on both sides of the border.


Castlegar City Council adopted the West Kootenay 100% Renewable Energy Plan at its Jan 18 meeting.

The Renewable Energy Plan is a collaboration with eight other West Kootenay local governments and West Kootenay EcoSociety. It represents a commitment to 100 per cent renewable energy by 2050 and recommended actions that can be taken at a local level to reduce GHG emissions and conserve energy.

The city has already committed to some of the recommended “Big Moves” through its recent participation in the Regional Energy Efficiency Program, implementation of BC Energy Step Code and on-going collaboration with the Regional District of Central Kootenay (RDCK) in curbside organics and resource recovery.


A Shoreacres couple Phil and Victoria Morley have built the first Canadian Home Builders Association certified net zero home in the Kootenays.

A net zero home produces as much energy throughout the year as it consumes. It connects to the power grid and when excess power is produced, it is uploaded to the grid. When power demand is more than the supply produced by the home, power is then taken from the grid.

The couple worked year building the house with traditional materials, lots of windows and lots of attention to detail.


The Conservancy Hornby Island citizens group has written to Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan Conservancy urging DFO to initiate a herring recovery plan for the Salish Sea. 

The are calling for a real ecological approach to managing the fishery, giving priority to First Nations, taking into account prey availability for marine species reliant on herring as a food source, prioritizing protection of herring habitat and rebuilding herring populations.

Each year, Northern Gulf Islands communities witness one of the last mass herring spawning events in the North Pacific Ocean, and the last spawn on Canadian shores which still supports a commercial fishery. The four remaining herring fishery regions from Haida Gwaii to West Coast Vancouver Island collapsed due to overfishing and have yet to recover despite over a decade of closures.


SkeenaWild and the BC Mining Law Reform network have released a new map pointing to over a hundred known and potentially contaminated mine waste sites that threaten to pollute waters, fish habitat and communities across the province.

Concerns over mining have been growing since the 2014 Mount Polley disaster and 2016 Auditor General report calling for significant reforms to protect BC’s waterways and communities. “The new map highlights the massive scale of the problem and provides information that has not been made available by the Ministry of Energy & Mines” stated Greg Knox, Executive Director, SkeenaWild Conservation Trust.

“This map highlights dozens of mine sites that are polluting or putting our waters and communities at risk of contamination. We need to reform mining laws in B.C. to put safety and clean water first,” said Nikki Skuce, Co-chair, BC Mining Law Reform Network. 

The BC Mining Law Reform Network represents 30 local, provincial and national organizations from a wide range of sectors calling for reforms to BC’s weak mining laws, and a lack of enforcement and oversight in a context of increased demand for minerals.

https://reformbcmining.ca/uncategorized/2021/01/new-map-shows-dozens-of-mine-pollution-threats-in-bc/ (facebook images & maps)


The Stop Ecocide Foundation, at the request of parliamentarians from the governing parties in Sweden, has convened an Independent Expert Panel for the Legal Definition of Ecocide.

The Panel is tasked with drafting a definition which may be considered by interested state parties for possible proposal to the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, as a potential 5th crime under that Statute.

The Panel is seeking to consult interested stakeholders in all regions, in order to obtain a wide range of perspectives to inform the drafting process.



B.C. collects far more money from tobacco taxes than natural gas royalties, the online magazine TheNarwhal.ca reports.

A review of four years of budget documents shows the B.C. government underestimated by $1 billion the amount of money it would lose from natural gas royalty credits.

The province brought in between $152 million and $199 million in natural gas royalties each year between the 2016-2017 and 2019-2020 fiscal years — a fraction of the more than $700 million in tobacco tax revenue raised each year during that same period.


In an open letter to Premier John Horgan, Chief Roland Willson of the West Moberly First Nations says work on the site c dam in northeastern B.C. should be suspended immediately until cabinet makes a decision on the project.

He is calling on the British Columbia government to release several reports on the Site C dam, claiming details of escalating costs and safety concerns have been “shrouded in secrecy.”

BC Hydro has withheld its two latest progress reports from regulators and the premier has refused to release a report prepared by special adviser Peter Milburn.


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