2013: environmental law and policy, the year in brief ….may 2014 bring us greater environmental protection

2013: environmental law and policy, the year in brief ….may 2014 bring us greater environmental protection

Reflecting on 2013 one is struck with some noteworthy developments in environmental law and policy.  Here are some highlights (or in most cases low lights)

Federal law

  • the federal Fisheries Act amendments to the “HADD” (Harmful, alteration, disruption and destruction) prohibitions (s.35) came into force.   An unfortunate event if you rely on fish habitat (or care about aquatic ecology); and
  • the continued emasculation of federal environmental assessments through changes to the Regulations Designating Physical Activities  under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act 2012 (to which the ELC responded with its model environmental assessment law).

Provincial law

  • the long awaited provincial wetland policy is finally released  but is short on substantive measures that will ensure wetlands and their functions will be conserved for future generations (the ELC Blogged about it here);
  • the issue of standing and public interest participation in environmental decision making remained front and centre with the Alberta Court finding that the Government Alberta had displayed bias in deciding not to grant the Pembina Institute them standing in an oilsands hearing; and
  • a single energy regulator was armed with regulations and legislation was passed to form an arms length environmental monitoring agency (the results of both remain to be determined).

This is my short list to be certain, and with it I will bid adieu to 2013 with a song:

(sung to “Walking in a Winter Wonderland”)

Obed mine, what you missin

Coal mine waste, won’t be fishin

A sorrowful sight

Dam breach is not right

Sediment in winter wonderland


Drained away, is a lake

Bitumen leaks, hard to take

Did we drill Primrose wrong?

Won’t have answers for a song

Oil in a winter wonderland


In Alberta we can build a Regulator

Then pretend that all is fine and grand

They’ll say “are you crazy?”

We’ll say “no man”.

but  will it protect,

the air, water, and land.


Later on
We’ll Conspire

To build pipelines to fuel their fires

The risks, we’re afraid

Will be down played

Economy in the winter wonderland…


Seeking stronger environmental laws in the winter wonderland, Happy New Year from the ELC.

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