Common Sense Canadian
 

Harper guts more fish protections: NEB takes over habitat along pipelines

Posted January 11, 2014 by Damien Gillis in Energy and Resources
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National Energy Board takes over fish protection along pipelines

It’s the latest in a long line of efforts by the Harper Government to dismantle Canada’s environmental laws in order to facilitate energy development. In a memorandum of understanding between the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the National Energy Board – quietly released just before Christmas – DFO relinquished much of its oversight of fish habitat in pipeline corridors.

The decision means that Enbridge and Kinder Morgan – which formally filed its own pipeline application on December 16, the same day the NEB memo was made public – will no longer need to obtain permits from DFO to alter habitat for their projects. “Fish and fish habitat along those pipelines is now the responsibility of the Alberta-based, energy friendly National Energy Board,” notes Robin Rowland of Northwest Energy News, who broke the story yesterday.

NEB takes point on fisheries, species at risk

Under the terms of the agreement, the NEB becomes the lead agency in determining issues that relate to the Species at Risk Act or the Fisheries Act and, only involving DFO should they deem it necessary:

The NEB will assess a project application and determine if mitigation strategies are needed to reduce or prevent impacts to fish or fish habitat. If the project could result in serious harm for fish then the NEB will inform DFO that a Fisheries Act authorization under paragraph 35(2)(b)  is likely to be required. DFO will review and issue an authorization when appropriate, prior to project construction. Authorizations issued by DFO would relate to those watercourses impacted, not the entire project.

This MOU better integrates the Government of Canada’s initiative to streamline application processes by eliminating the requirement for duplicate reviews.

Asks Rowland, “Just how much expertise, if any, in fisheries and fish habitat can be found in the Calgary offices of the National Energy Board?”

First Nations consultation impacted

The memo – particularly the following passage – is likely also to provoke legal challenges from First Nations over the dimishing of their constitutional rights to consultation and accommodation:

When the Crown contemplates conduct that may adversely affect established or potential Aboriginal and treaty rights in relation to the issuance of authorizations under the Fisheries Act, and/or permits under SARA, the NEB application assessment process will be relied upon by DFO to the extent possible, to ensure Aboriginal groups are consulted as required, and where appropriate accommodated

The move hardly comes as a surprise, given the gutting of the Fisheries Act, Navigable Waters Protection Act, and many other longstanding Canadian environmental laws in order to push forward the Conservative energy policy. Yet it is sure to provoke a serious backlash amongst British Columbians and First Nations as the ramifications of this quiet deal sink in.

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About the Author

Damien Gillis

Damien Gillis is a Vancouver-based documentary filmmaker with a focus on environmental and social justice issues - especially relating to water, energy, and saving Canada's wild salmon - working with many environmental organizations in BC and around the world. He is the co-founder, along with Rafe Mair, of The Common Sense Canadian, and a board member of both the BC Environmental Network and the Haig-Brown Institute.

36 Comments


  1.  

    Hi Damien,

    Would you have a copy of the MOU between DFO and NEB that you could post?

    Best regards,
    Michael




  2.  
    Anne LaRocque

    I have been trying for the last 4 years to get through to people.Stephen Harper is a complete egomaniac who gets all his propaganda and ideas from an American right wing think tank. All his dirty political rhetoric comes as a result of his continuous use of American Republican tactics. He doesn’t give a damn about the people or the environment as long as his oil business buddies (who put a lot of money in Cons coffers) don’t get roadblocks put in their way. He has systematically reduced environmental protection on water which he will probably give control of to Nestle Corp, to animals who have been put on the endangered list he has refused to sign to recognize their near extinction. There is nothing that he has done that really benefits most Canadians. He hates our parliamentary system and idolizes the American system(it works so well). Time for Canadians to take back our country from this sociopath. Don’t let the Cons con us again.Next election “NOT ONE SEAT”




  3.  
    Justanothervoice

    How can Harper still be allowed to represent Canada? Hasn’t he done enough to get fired?

    It’s sad to see millions of Canadians just sit back and watch Harper destroy Canada, bit by bit. It saddens me that so many Canadians can celebrate Canada Day and wear poppies on their jackets for soldiers, but can’t standup against Harper. Lots of people have died and spent much of their lives fighting for laws that are being dismantled by Harper. People will sing the Canada anthem at hockey games to “show” how proud they are to be Canadian, but when it really matters, where are they? Canadians need to get off their butt and fight back!




  4.  
    Crystal

    The best thing to do now is take all of your lovely responses and send them in an e-mail to parliament right now. Find out who your local MP is and write. Write a letter every day if you must. Do everything you can in your community to inform people Get organized, get educated and help put a stop to the nonsense of the Harper Government.
    You must stand up and actively do something, we all must.
    And is all else fails. light your torches and gather your pitchforks. Old school revolution never fails to get the point across.




  5.  
    Damien Gillis

    DFO, fisheries critic respond:

    http://commonsensecanadian.ca/fisheries-critic-questions-handover-habitat-protection-along-pipelines/

    DFO: “The National Energy Board is best placed to deliver regulatory review responsibilities under the Fisheries Act for activities relating to federally regulated energy infrastructure (such as pipelines).”

    Really?!




  6.  

    The Ostrich
    As a species I sometimes wonder if we most resemble the ostrich. If we duck our heads, ignore the problem for long enough, it will just, maybe, hopefully, please, go away. Or perhaps our approach is more like Bill Clinton’s solution to gays in the military – don’t ask, don’t tell! After all, if nobody talks about it, it isn’t there, is it?
    My brother-in-law, a house painter and his friend, who is working in the Alberta oil patch sum it up this way: “it’s been about 150 years since the Industrial Revolution and we’ve done this much damage to the environment. We might get another 100 years out of it all.”
    At a church luncheon, a fellow parishioner relates to me his experience of reading about the poisoning of the St Clare River at Sarnia. “I was there the night the company put that stuff in the ground and supposedly sealed it off.” There was pain in his eyes and no doubt, in his heart and in his soul. I stated that it was amazing how many people I speak with, ordinary people, blue collar workers, who understand that we are gradually destroying the planet. He casually observed, “there will be a revolution.”
    It’s hardly unlikely that for some inexplicable reason, I am the only guy who has these conversations. It is more likely that most of us see the truth for what it is. We are gradually, speeding up, speeding up, speeding up, destroying the very planet that gives us life. Suicide or madness? Take your pick, I can’t figure it out.
    I wonder who our political leaders talk to? Do they have these conversations or are they shielded for their own protection? They don’t appear to be losing much sleep about it all as the oil companies drill away, as the auto manufacturers continue to turn out the gas combustion engine, as poisons are released into our rivers, lakes, oceans, landfills – anywhere the millions upon millions of barrels of poisonous waste can be hidden for awhile. Long enough, they hope, to finish making the money, packing up and leaving the deadly stuff behind. Perhaps, like Chernoble, the animals will have another paradise, free of humans, in a future that may be as inevitable as the prediction of my house painter friend – a hundred years or so.
    Is it possible to change a future that is rushing towards us virtually unhindered except for sporadic demonstrations and vocal minorities who are often perceived as “radical”, “inhibiting progress”, “tree-huggers”, “terrorists”, “trouble – makers”, etc? Most days are like today – I simply have no idea whether we have the rational or empathetic ability to slow down, stop and possibly reverse the race to the “end of the human race.”
    Joe Wiseman
    Citizen




  7.  

    Conscious ethical citizens must realize that politicians are capable of ecocide
    Cross posted from CBC Docs Face book +
    In striving for economic security is Stephen Harper undermining our nation’s ecological security? We know what financial accounting fraud looks like. We also have to figure out what ecological accounting fraud, negligence by political leaders is. Where we draw the line on criminal negligence by politicians in stewarding our nations and our planet’s ecosystems, will determined how many citizens and the web of life will survive.
    The extensive damage to fish, forest, soil, water, to ocean and terrestrial ecosystem, to our planet’s climate threatens our future.
    The UNEP before the UN Sustainability Conference in Rio reported that despite repeated environmental laws we are not on a sustainable path.
    UNEP Rio, 6 June 2012 – The world continues to speed down an unsustainable path despite over 500 internationally agreed goals and objectives to support the sustainable management of the environment and improve human well being, according to a new and wide-ranging assessment coordinated by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
    The fifth edition of the Global Environmental Outlook (GEO-5), launched on the eve of the Rio+20 Summit, assessed 90 of the most-important environmental goals and objectives and found that significant progress had only been made in four. Ref http://www.unep.org/newscentre/Default.aspx?DocumentID=2688&ArticleID=9158&l=en

    The campaign has begun to prosecute ecocide under either the International Criminal Court or an International Environmental Court. Prosecuting ecocide has been debated at the World Congress on Law Justice and Environmental Governance for Sustainability http://www.unep.org/delc/worldcongress/Home/tabid/55710/Default.aspx held during the UN Sustainability in Rio in 2012 and at the UN Food and Agriculture Headquarter in Rome. The UN has committed to research ecocide. The UNEP had brought together 7 Supreme Court Judges, the US EPA Chief Council and Canada’s Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development to study how environmental laws need to be improved to address the unsustainable path that we are on.
    I have written to PM Harper repeatedly about this concern, his correspondence department has informed me they have not evidence of my correspondence. Is someone tampering with correspondence from Canadian Citizens? What values is Stephen Harper using in the performance of his duties as the Prime Minister of Canada?
    Having complained to the RCMP they referred me the Clerk of the Privy Council, who has yet to respond to my recent correspondence. It is not with integrity or transparency that Stephen Harper is performing the duties of the leader of our nation. Secrecy demonstrates dishonesty, negligence by which he is addressing the concerns of Canadians.
    CBC The Fifths program raises concern about what vital information is being discarded, or systems being dismantled that are critical to Canadians making sound environmental and economic decisions by the Harper Conservatives? Are they capable of ecocide?
    To find out more about ecocide visit http://www.eradicatingecocide.com
    Share this campaign if you are concerned that politicians, corporations and organized crime are capable of ecocide.




  8.  
    BC

    People need too stop being sheep and letting the government send raw products to other places to be finished just so they get rich quick. There is enough problems in this world already caused by man made problems that we haven’t cleaned up or fixed like the big oil spill in the ocean that ran for months the radiation from Japan . Does Canada need to have a disaster in bc the nicest place in Canada . Northern Alberta is gross and any clown that says different is greedy and only cares about money. To say people don’t know what they are talking about is bullshit because they don’t work or haven’t seen the oil sands . Well I have seen them and worked in them and I sure don’t want my home province to start looking like northern Alberta. To say there won’t be a spill won’t happen is a lie its like sand paper going threw the pipes it’s not a finished product. Who is monitoring the line for that long the pipes need to be changed ever 3 months or so due to wear. I don’t want the life veins of my province the rivers and creeks getting polluted . Losing tourism dollars that northern Alberta will never have, also they won’t have the sites and clean drinking water we have but as soon as the people let this pipeline slide in. You can start the count down to destruction that will happen in bc!

    They already ship enough raw logs out to other countries just to pay more for it when we get it back. We have all the resources of the world and there are other options then polluting everything and destroying for greed . There are lots of hush hush technology that has been crushed buy governments and big business . Eg : hydrogen powered cars , electric cars the technology has been around for a hundred years but keep closing your eyes and watch the world be a waste land piece by piece if we live that long!

    We need to learn and take lessons from places like Germany and Iceland ,other old countries and learn from there progress and stop making the same mistakes they have already been threw . We all have to live here with nature lets be different and try make it better not worse!

    Are the few jobs created worth all the tourism ones that will be lost forever to have a few more jobs for a few years till the little clean up crew if they even decide to use one gets hired?




  9.  
    Dee

    What the hell is the matter with people…The oil is oozing out of the ground, what do you want to do with it….If you all dont want or cant handle progress then you need to move…Where do you think the gas and oil comes from for your cars, plains, boats that haul frieght to and from other countries, trains that are transporting goods,The quads that you use for hunting and fun.The jets that the big shot idiots that come from the States with or the helicopters…Where in the hell do you think it comes from…What about the jobs people rely on to survive..That would be great for the economy wouldnt it….If you dont know enough about the tar sands and pipeline then shut the hell up.




    •  
      deacon

      Tell you what, sunshine, The next time you feel thirsty, drink a nice cold can of 10-40 instead of water.

      I’m sure your understanding of the problem will change as the fine folks in Emergency pump it out of your stomach.

      But if money and oil are all you’re about, you are of all people the most pathetic.




    •  
      Eva

      Where do you think the air you breathe comes from? The water you drink? If you don’t know enough about how important it is to breathe clean air and drink clean water then shut up the hell up.




    •  
      Corkey

      What hell is wrong with you, how can any sane person think that the NEB is best positioned to determine how to protect fish and wildlife habitat. Destroying the environment for the sake of making billionaires richer is absurd




    •  

      Aaaaaaand again the only argument this twit Dee has is about oil in our cars and blah blah blah. We are against ramping up the tarsands in order to ship the oil to China, more pollution and carbon emissions for what? China??? Maybe you need to shut the hell up Dee and start reading about all the damage being done to our environment so Harper and his cronies can kiss China’s ass.




  10.  
    Paul

    Until this country is shut down for a few days or more nothing will change. Whine on!




    •  

      Paul thinks the only solution in street protest . I suggest those interested in addressing the negligent conduct by the Harper Cons also be aware of the numerous legal challenged against many aspects of this government agenda
      From the Tarsands First Nations
      From failing to protect endangered species
      from curtailing public comment on Line Nine Env Assessment
      judges rejecting the mandatory sentencing




  11.  
    Darren Mauthe

    Who is going to start this process, someone needs to take the lead, hopefully it’s started already, time to protect what is ours, I don’t care about the riches.




  12.  
    Elizabeth Christie

    Harper is becoming a dictator his disregard for the environment his firing and closing of environmental facilities and preventing our scientists from publishing their findings is criminal he needs to be impeached it’s time the people of BC and Canada get involved in protecting our Canadian environment ! We need to speak out now !




  13.  
    Erika Grebs

    “DFO will review and issue an authorization when appropriate, prior to project construction.”
    Interesting, so the project will occur without DFO’s input and they will just hand out authorizations willy-nilly. Sounds like a recipe for disaster.
    Do politicians stop and think of the big picture and how the clean air we breathe, the water we drink and the ecosystems in which we depend for recreational, ceremonial and commercial fisheries also has a price tag? It’s worth trillions and you can’t find it in a barrel.




  14.  
    Carolyn Budd Goertzen

    I am sick and tired of this governments complete disregard for the wishes of this country–which is to be an active member of the world in reducing the toxic footprint on the earth.

    This is simply another way that we are being mocked and disrespected by the Conservatives and the big money elite.

    Enough is enough.




  15.  
    Petra Harris

    We need to have the ability to impeach the PM, when all he seems to do is sell us out to foreign countries, took a blind eye to the Sentors who stole funds, and most of us Canadains are struggling to make ends meet, while they live high on the hog. Their pensions alone is more in one year then most of us make in 5 years, and we cant save with most jobs at mininmal pay, we the people need help




  16.  
    Marc

    It’s time Harper goes. His shortsightedness is mind-blowing. When our water, soil, and air are so polluted that nothing can live, how will we eat? This man sees only dollar signs.

    We should chase Harper down like the villagers did Frankenstein. He is a monster.




  17.  
    R j thompson

    This government is looking more like big brother all the time .They are like watching a sci-fi movie of the future.Canada has been a haven of pristeen wilderness and mixture of progress.There is no need to rush forward without thought of consiquence.We have the resources to forge ahead and be a responsible voice in the world.




  18.  
    Alan Hoover

    Placing the rights of corporations above the rights of citizens is inappropriate and misguided. Letting NEB trump Fisheries is dispicable.




  19.  
    Steve Cooley

    It will stop when the mp’s are deliged with email, snail mail, phone calls and personal visits to their offices demanding them to govern te country for the benefit of all citizens. Companies and corprations are taxpayers, but not citizens. What is good for General Bullmoose, is not necessarily good for the citizens.




  20.  
    Shirley Morneau

    When is this craziness gonna stop?





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