Gravel Pit – Desolation Sound Saved
The gravel quarry has been nipped in the bud. Lehigh Hanson Materials, Ltd. have decided not to pursue the extraction of aggregate at a site adjacent to Desolation Sound Marine Park. The decision came six weeks after the company accepted an offer from the BC Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources of a permit for limited exploratory surface drilling in the Lloyd Creek watershed in Homfray Channel.
The investigative licence had conditional approval from Tla’amin First Nation and the Powell River Regional District, but opposition was widespread and included the Klahoose First Nation, the Save Desolation Sound Society, local communities, ecotourism operators, and yachters who frequent the marine park.
—CG; Powell River Peak, August 11, 2016
Munduruku – Brazil Halts Huge Dam for Tribes
Plans to build a giant hydroelectric dam in the heart of the Amazon rainforest have been halted by Brazil’s environmental protection agency. Regulators ruled that the dam’s backers failed to supply information to show its social and environmental impact.
The 8,000-megawatt São Luiz do Tapajós (SLT) dam would have been the sixth-largest hydroelectric dam in the world, spanning the five-mile wide Tapajós river and drowning 376 sq km of rainforest that is home to 12,000 Munduruku Indians.
Leaders of the Munduruku people, who stood to lose much of their ancestral land and would have been forced to move, welcomed the announcement. Environment minister José Sarney Filho said that the Tapajós dam was “entirely dispensable” and could be compensated by energy from smaller power generators and other sources such as wind.
Under Brazil’s constitution, indigenous people cannot be forced off their lands except in case of war or epidemics.
—www.theguardian.com, August 5, 2016
Cherry Point – No to New Fuel Shipments
An emergency moratorium was passed by Whatcom County, Washington on new fossil fuel shipments through Cherry Point – a major export hub – citing environmental and safety issues. The county council is expected to hold public hearings during the 60-day moratorium as the county finalizes an update to its 20-year comprehensive plan, which could include a permanent ban on exporting coal or natural gas.
The local environmental community, which has been demanding such a ban, celebrated the moratorium as a precedent-setting victory.
—www.ecowatch.com, August 11, 2016
Lemon Creek – Charges Laid in Fuel Spill
Three years after a tanker truck spilled jet fuel into Lemon Creek, federal prosecutors have approved eight charges under the Environmental Management Act and the Fisheries Act against Executive Flight Centre, the driver, and the BC government. In 2013 a truck took a wrong turn onto a logging road and overturned. Thirty-three thousand litres of fuel entered Lemon Creek and then the Slocan, Kootenay, and Columbia rivers, resulting in a mass evacuation and orders not to swim in or drink from the water.
The charges come after Slocan Valley resident Marilyn Burgoon launched a private prosecution – the federal government subsequently took over the case and stayed her charges but in late July laid its own. A first court appearance is set for Sepember 13, 2016, in Nelson.
—www.mykootenaynow.com, July 26, 2016
Kiggaviktory! No to Nunavut Uranium Mine
The uranium mine has gone away, for now. More than a year after the Nunavut Impact Review Board (NIRB) recommended that the Areva Canada Resources’ Kiggavik uranium mine project should not proceed, the federal government has agreed Kiggavik “should not proceed at this time.”
The Kiggavik scheme, near Baker Lake, Nunavut, comprised four open pits and one underground operation, at two sites, with an estimated lifespan of about 12 years. Opponents of the proposal, such as the Nunavummiut Makitagunarningit group, said the Kiggavik mine project posed a serious risk to the long-term viability of the Kivalliq region’s caribou herds and that its environmental risks outweighed its economic benefits.
—www.nunatsiaqonline.ca, July 26, 2016