Energy and Resources

Moving away from the transport of dangerous goods toward safer, low-carbon solutions

December 4th, 2013 by Paula Boutis

The Lac‑Mégantic derailment in Quebec last July involved the transportation of 72 tank cars of crude oil. This derailment caused the confirmed deaths of 42 people, with five more missing and presumed dead. Approximately half the downtown core was destroyed. It is one of the most significant train disasters in Canadian history.

This event and other train derailments that have since followed have proponents of pipelines using these occasions to expound the view that pipelines are the safest way to move fossil fuels. As the argument goes, we should be allowing new pipelines and the hold‑up of their approvals will only force the transportation of dangerous goods onto a more dangerous form of transportation, rail.

On Tuesday, the Auditor General’s 2013 Fall Report looked in part at rail safety. But it did not specifically look at the Lac‑Mégantic accident or any other rail accidents. For that, we must go back to a December 2011 report by the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development.


Nesting dolls of “directly affected” in federal law under judicial review

October 18th, 2013 by Laura Bowman

Recently, the Federal Court of Appeal released a decision on a procedural issue in Forest Ethics Advocacy Association v. Canada (National Energy Board), 2013 FCA 236 (CanLII).  Forest Ethics is suing the government over recent changes to the National Energy Board Act which it claims “unreasonably restrict public comment on project proposals.” At issue is a new section introduced in one of the large conservative budget bills which limits participation on issues before the National Energy Board (NEB) to those who are “directly affected.”

In the decision, the Federal Court of Appeal had to decide whether Enbridge and Valero – two oil and gas companies – would have standing to become respondents or intervenors in the case against the government.  Ironically, the court had to interpret section 303 of the Federal Courts Act which also uses the “directly affected” test.

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Why Canada needs more community power

April 25th, 2013 by Brian Iler

Given the scientific consensus that wind turbines are not dangerous to human health, as opponents have claimed, it is time to shift focus to a real issue: fixing wind energy policy to increase community power in Canada.

After extensive research and investigation, in Canada and globally, the consensus in the scientific community is that there is no direct causal link between wind turbines and adverse health effects. Scientists agree that the noise emitted by wind turbines ‑- the chief source of alleged health effects -‑ is basically indistinguishable from normal background sounds we experience in everyday life, whether we live in an urban or rural area.


The growth of community-owned green energy in Canada

September 27th, 2012 by Brian Iler

Community power was given a boost this summer with the release of the second round of Nova Scotia’s Community Feed-In Tariff (COMFIT) projects on July 9, 2012 and Ontario’s FIT 2.0 Program Rules on August 10, 2012.

Until now, ownership and participation in Canada’s growing green energy sector has been dominated by private sector interests. It looks like things may be starting to change.


Brian on Organizing Renewable Energy Community Power Projects

September 18th, 2012 by Iler Campbell LLP

Brian is a speaker at the Ontario Nonprofit Network Conference, Friday, September 28, 2012. He’ll be participating in a half day session on organizing renewable energy community power projects where he’ll be speaking on contracting to implement community power projects. It will be held at Victoria College and costs just $35 to attend.

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The Butterfly Effect: How a single wind turbine led to Ontario’s Green Energy Act

September 11th, 2012 by Brian Iler

Great post at David Dodge’s Green Energy Futures about WindShare, TREC and the community power movement in Ontario.  The whole green Energy Futures series is worth a look.

Check it out.