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Carol Linnitt is Managing Editor and Director of Research for DeSmog Canada. Carol is a writer and researcher focusing on energy development, environmental policy and wildlife. She joined DeSmog in June 2010 as a researcher, focusing much of her time on the natural gas industry and hydraulic fracturing.
Carol is the lead author of DeSmog's original report Fracking the Future: How Unconventional Gas Threatens Our Water, Health & Climate. Her work also led to the DeSmog micro-documentary CRY WOLF: An Unethical Oil Story and the Cry Wolf investigative series.
Carol began her environmental career writing and performing interviews for The Canada Expedition, a non-governmental sustainability initiative, and while working in dispute resolution with communities affected by resource scarcity.
Carol has a Master's in English Literature from York University where she studied political theory, natural resource conflicts and Aboriginal rights. She also has a Master's in Philosophy in the field of phenomenology and environmental ethics and is currently a doctoral candidate at the University of Victoria in the English and Cultural, Social and Political Thought programs.
Culling Alberta’s wolves without prioritizing caribou habitat protection and restoration is like “shoveling sand,” according to Mark Hebblewhite, associate professor of ungulate habitat biology at the University of Montana.
Hebblewhite says the Alberta government is sponsoring a wolf cull without doing the one thing that could possibly scientifically justify it: conserving and restoring critical caribou habitat.
“That’s the tragedy here: the Alberta government blew the opportunity to do the right thing,” he said.
“It’s all shoveling sand without real commitment to habitat conservation.”
The Canadian Energy Pipeline Association (CEPA) is working hard to undo damage caused by pipeline company Kinder Morgan’s refusal to release oil spill response plans in British Columbia. The company's lack of disclosure angered the province of B.C., especially when it was revealed that Kinder Morgan released detailed spill response plans in Washington State for portions of the pipeline that extend across the border.
The pipeline association recently announced it would form a task force to address the issue, hoping to waylay growing public concerns by developing “guiding principles” for disclosure.
“A number of our members have faced significant public pressure to disclose all information contained in emergency response plans. The CEPA task force will work to support that by establishing clear principles and guidelines that seek to find the right balance between the public’s right to know, the privacy of personal information and the security considerations also required for public safety,” Jim Donihee, chief operating officer with CEPA, said.
This weekend thousands of Canadians marched against the Conservative government's proposed anti-terrorism bill C-51. In this episode of DeSmogCAST we take a close look at the proposed legislation and discuss how it relates to the recently-leaked RCMP intelligence report that names pipeline opponents and First Nations “violent anti-petroleum extremists.” Keith Stewart, climate and energy campaigner with Greenpeace Canada, discusses the significance of the internal intelligence report and Greenpeace's role in its release.
We also take a look at Kinder Morgan's secretive behaviour in the Trans Mountain pipeline review and how anti-terrorism laws meant to protect 'critical infrastructure' like pipelines may benefit oil, gas and pipeline companies unwilling to disclose information to the public.
DeSmogBlog contributor Farron Cousins hosts this episode and is joined by Greenpeace's Keith Stewart, DeSmog Canada's Emma Gilchrist, and yours truly.
Since DeSmog Canada broke the story two weeks ago that Kinder Morgan publicly released its emergency oil spill plans for the Trans Mountain pipeline in Washington State while withholding or severely redacting the exact same plans in B.C., there's been a firestorm of activity on the topic.
The story has now been covered by the Globe and Mail, the CBC and the Canadian Press, the issue was raised in the House of Commons this week and the president of Kinder Morgan and the chair of the National Energy Board (NEB) have been forced to respond.
Kinder Morgan and the NEB angered the B.C. government in January after ruling the company could keep spill response plans for the proposed oilsands pipeline secret due to “security concerns.”
This week Kinder Morgan president Ian Anderson defended the company’s actions, saying the NEB did not demand disclosure of the plans.
“We in no way want to have this perceived lack of transparency around our emergency response plans as any indication of us wanting to hide anything or keep anything a secret,” Anderson said.
In this episode of DeSmogCAST, Farron Cousins, Carol Linnitt, Kyla Mandel and Brendan DeMelle kick things off with a discussion about corporate spending in Canada and how the oil and gas industry is moving money to influence political decisions and public debate.
Next Kyla Mandel explains the significance of a new law in the UK that will expose park lands to the dangers of fracking.
Finally Brendan DeMelle discusses new revelations of Rick Perry's ties to the pipeline industry in Iowa and how these connections may influence his chances of winning the Republican nomination for the 2016 Presidential run.
An internal Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) document (provided in full below) warns “violent anti-petroleum extremists” driven by an “anti-petroleum ideology” pose a criminal threat to Canada’s oil and gas industry. The document, reported on today by the Globe and Mail, reveals growing concern within the RCMP about opponents of pipelines or fracking and “violent aboriginal extremists,” suggesting they have the ability to incite criminal activity across the country.
Yet representatives from Canada’s broad environmental movement say the document is another example of the Harper government’s efforts to criminalize legitimate civil dissent such as peaceful climate activism and pipeline opposition.
The document, a Critical Infrastructure Intelligence Assessment report from early 2014 originally obtained by Greenpeace, provides “intelligence and/or information” that “may be used to assist in the protection of Canada’s [critical infrastructure],” such as pipelines and other oil and gas infrastructure. In recent years, discussion of Canada’s critical infrastructure (CI) has shifted from a focus on digital and electricity networks to energy-related infrastructure.
The RCMP intelligence report suggests growing opposition movements against pipelines should be seen and treated as criminal security threats although groups mentioned in the report are quick to point out the document fits into a much larger strategy, led by the Harper government, to beat back pipeline or oilsands opponents.
“This is absolutely the criminalization of peaceful protest,” Keith Stewart from Greenpeace Canada, one of the groups named in the document, said.
Kinder Morgan, the company currently seeking permission to nearly triple the capacity of the Trans Mountain pipeline to carry Albertan crude to the west coast, has engaged in a protracted fight with the province of British Columbia in an effort to keep its oil spill response plans a secret.
The company alleges its motivation has to do with ‘security concerns’ although a look back at the to and fro with the province of B.C. paints a story of either incompetence or pure, defenseless hubris.
Either way, what Kinder Morgan is refusing to produce for B.C. and other intervenors in the pipeline review process, the company willingly disclosed south of the border for portions of the pipeline that extend to Washington State.
A read through the detailed spill response plans Kinder Morgan has in place for the U.S. shows just how far the company went to prove they can handle a pipeline spill.
It also highlights how outlandish it is that Kinder Morgan has not released similarly-detailed plans to the province of B.C.
It is also troubling that Kinder Morgan expects the government of B.C. to consent to a massive pipeline expansion — the proposal calls for a twinning of the pipeline which would lead to a fivefold increase in tanker traffic — without adequate assurances the best available emergency plans are in place.
So, what did Kinder Morgan tell Washington State that it refuses to tell B.C.?
The B.C. Supreme Court awarded $50,000 in damages to climate scientist Andrew Weaver in a ruling Friday that confirms articles published by the National Post defamed his character.
The ruling names Terence Corcoran, editor of the Financial Post, Peter Foster, a columnist at the National Post, Kevin Libin, a journalist that contributes to the Financial Post and National Post publisher Gordon Fisher.
Four articles published in 2009 and 2010 refer to Weaver, now MLA for Canada’s Green Party, as an “alarmist” who disseminates “agit-prop” and a “sensationalist” that “cherry-picked” data as “Canada’s warmest spinner-in-chief.” Weaver was previously a lead author on a number of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessment reports.
In the damages section of the ruling (attached below), Madam Justice Emily Burke notes, “the defamation in this case was serious. It offended Dr. Weaver’s character and the defendants refused to publish a retraction.”
Justice Burke concluded the defendants “have been careless or indifferent to the accuracy of the facts,” adding, “they were more interested in espousing a particular view than assessing the accuracy of the facts.”
Weaver told DeSmog Canada he’s “thrilled” with the ruling.