We are delighted to tell you that on 30 November 2012, the Federal Government through Governor in Council, issued a decision to DENY approval of the proposed project by Cenovus (formerly Encana) to drill 1,275 shallow gas wells in the Suffield National Wildlife Area.
The Government’s Decision Statement is at http://www.ceaa-acee.gc.ca/050/document-eng.cfm?document=83796.
SAGE has been part of the Suffield Environmental Coalition for five years now, working with other organizations to profile adverse environmental aspects of the project and to develop strategies for ensuring the project does not proceed. Cliff Wallis of the Alberta Wilderness Association has led this effort and deserves our thanks.
A media release from the Suffield Environmental Coalition follows & is available for download.
Calgary (November 30, 2012) –The seven-group Suffield Coalition today applauded the government’s decision to deny approval of Cenovus' (previously EnCana) proposal to drill 1,275 natural gas wells and construct associated infrastructure in the Suffield National Wildlife Area (NWA). Suffield NWA was established in 2003 to protect endangered native prairie and the many species of animals and plants at risk in the area, including at least 15 federally listed species threatened with extinction.
The Government responded today to the January 2009 recommendations of the Joint Review Panel that conducted an environmental review of Cenovus' proposed expansion. It agreed with the Panel’s conclusion that the proposed project would result in significant adverse effects on certain species at risk and would interfere with the conservation of wildlife. This decision sets a high bar for protecting the integrity of this unique area of fragile native prairie.
“We are greatly encouraged by this decision,” says Sandra Foss, past-president of Nature Alberta. The groups will now turn their efforts to addressing the many existing environmental issues within the NWA. “This decision reinforces the conservation value of Canada’s NWAs,” says Nature Canada’s manager of protected areas, Alex MacDonald, “and sets a great example of putting conservation first in the management of protected wild spaces.”
Because the NWA lies within Canadian Forces Base Suffield, the Department of Defence was delegated authority over the NWA when it was established under the Canada Wildlife Act. “The Government’s decision shows the Department is serious about its commitment to the protection of the NWA”, says Alberta Wilderness Association’s Cliff Wallis. “It is very good news for the species that rely on Suffield NWA and it also sets an excellent precedent about the Government’s commitment to preserving the integrity of other protected areas.”
For more information:
Cliff Wallis, Alberta Wilderness Association: 403-607-1970
Sandra Foss, Nature Alberta: 403-932-2947, firstname.lastname@example.org
Alex MacDonald, Nature Canada: 613-562-3447 ext. 300, email@example.com
The Suffield Coalition comprises seven groups: Alberta Wilderness Association, Federation of Alberta Naturalists, World Wildlife Fund Canada, Nature Saskatchewan, Southern Alberta Group for the Environment, Grasslands Naturalists, and Nature Canada.
Thank you volunteers, members & friends for all you do to help us succeed in our shared goals!
Are you concerned about the omnibus "budget" bill the Federal government has pushed through parliament?
Here is an overview prepared by the Environmental Law Centre:
An Overview of Bill C- 38:
The Budget Bill that Transformed Canada’s Federal Environmental Laws
By Brenda Heelan Powell, Staff Counsel for the ELC
In late April 2012, the federal government introduced Bill C-38: An Act to Implement Certain Provisions of the Budget tabled in Parliament on March 29, 2012 and Other Measures which received Royal Assent on June 29, 2012i and is now known as the Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act, S.C. 2012, c. 19. As its title suggests, Bill C-38 purports to implement the most recent budget of the federal government (the Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Economic Action Plan 2012).
Weighing in at over a hefty 400 pages, Bill C-38 does much more than implement budgetary objectives; it substantively changes federal environmental law in Canada. Over ten pieces of federal environmental legislation are amended or repealed by Bill C-38. Significant changes are made to federal environmental assessment law, fisheries law, and the operation of the National Energy Board. As well, Bill C-38 amends the charity provisions of the Income Tax Act which may have profound implications for many of Canada’s environmental organizations.
Read the rest by clicking here; link will open in a new window and in PDF format.
Water and wisdom: An Open Letter to Ottawa
JOHN P. SMOL, DAVID W. SCHINDLER, PETER J. DILLON, WARWICK F. VINCENT. ROBERT HECKY, STEPHEN R. CARPENTER, GENE E. LIKENS and BRIAN MOSS
The Globe and Mail, Tuesday, Jun. 05 2012, 10:00 AM EDT
Dear Prime Minister Stephen Harper; Keith Ashfield, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans; Peter Kent, Minister of the Environment:
On May 17, 2012, we learned that Canada’s Experimental Lakes Area (ELA), a world-renowned freshwater and fisheries research facility, will be terminated in March, 2013.
We are deeply concerned with this decision, as there is no comparable facility in the world. The ELA, located in Northwestern Ontario, consists of 58 small lakes and their watersheds set aside for research, a permanent field station and a dedicated research team. Since 1968, this facility has been a natural outdoor laboratory to study how fish populations and lake ecosystems respond to human and natural disturbances. ELA features unique, whole-ecosystem experiments and continuous long-term ecological monitoring.
Read the rest at the Globe.
Read the letters SAGE has sent to federal MP, Mr. Jim Hillyer and others on our Letters to Government page.
Other Headlines & Activity
The extensive natural values of the Castle including clean water production, carbon storage, wildlife habitat and recreation opportunities far outweigh the marginal timber values to be derived from clearcut logging. Tree growth in these high altitude, wind-swept forests is slow and the trees are consequently small. Sending the logging trucks on a 500-mile round trip journey to the mill in Cochrane, to allow the felling of these ‘matchstick forests makes as little economic sense as it does environmental sense. Increasingly, the timing is looking right for new and increased protection of this crucial region.
Premier of Alberta
Room 307, Legislature Building
10800 – 97th Avenue
Edmonton, AB T5K 2B6
Government of Alberta News Release:
October 19, 2011
Request for Proposals for agricultural development cancelled
Edmonton... A Request for Proposals is cancelled that would have sold 16,000 acres in southern Alberta for irrigated agricultural development.
Government cancelled the RFP after people expressed concerns that there was no public input into using a Request for Proposals and that there might be an impact on water and on the ranching community. Public consultation and water use and availability are priorities for this government.
Open Letter: Water for Alberta's Rivers
13 October 2011
We believe you understand the value of water and the need to use water wisely. That is why so many of you have participated in Alberta’s Water for Life Strategy, providing guidance to decision-makers about how we use and manage our water resources.
The goals of the Water for Life Strategy are:
? Safe, secure drinking water
? Healthy aquatic ecosystems
? Reliable, quality water supplies for a sustainable economy
A key to achieving these goals is the development of provincial Conservation, Efficiency and Productivity Plans (CEP Plans). These plans are to be completed by major water users, including municipalities, irrigators and the oil and gas and hydropower industries, to improve their water-use efficiency by 30 per cent by 2015. In 2008, major water users agreed to draft plans with information about stressed water sources in the areas where they operate, and to provide creative ideas for environmental improvement. Unfortunately, these plans are coming up short in addressing important environmental needs.
As you strive to use less water in your home, you do so in good faith that the water you’re saving (conserved water) will go back into our rivers to benefit river health. Yet, the plans being created by many major water users focus instead on directing water that they conserve to new uses, leaving little or no extra water to return to rivers. However, it is crucial to return some of the conserved water back to rivers, in order to augment low winter flows, ensure groundwater recharging, help to stabilize stream banks, and support the plant and animal life that depend on healthy rivers. Alberta’s CEP Plans should reduce the risk to the most sensitive aspects of aquatic ecosystems in Alberta.
Some major water users receive provincial funding to conserve water, but intend to use this conserved water for purposes other than river health. We are concerned that the conservation water plans have become industry growth plans, rather than meeting the Water for Life goals that provide broader benefits to all Albertans. We are also concerned that the Government of Alberta is passing off its responsibility for healthy rivers by failing to act on the CEP Plans. Furthermore, Albertans deserve to be involved in decisions about the future of conserved water.
We believe that all Albertans have a responsibility to be stewards of our water. As a citizen, you can take a stand for the return of conserved water to our rivers, especially in water-stressed areas. You can urge major water users to implement clear CEP Plans that meet the Water for Life goals. Find out who supports the return of conserved water to our rivers. Ask your MLA and the candidates in the forthcoming provincial election what they are going to do to ensure the health of our rivers. Let them know what you expect.
Alberta Wilderness Association
Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society - Southern Alberta Chapter
Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society - Northern Alberta Chapter
Central Athabasca Stewardship Society
Keepers of the Athabasca Watershed Council
Southern Alberta Group for Environment
Water Matters; http://www.water-matters.org