Items filtered by date: May 2019

May 21, 2019 

K’JIPUKTUK (HALIFAX) – The Ecology Action Centre and East Coast Environmental Law are raising concerns about Environment and Climate Change Canada’s plan to create regulations that will authorize Alton Natural Gas to release salt brine into the Sipekne’katik (Shubenacadie) River.

Currently, the federal Fisheries Act prohibits the deposit of a "deleterious substance" into waters frequented by fish. This would include the salt brine that Alton Natural Gas plans to discharge into the Sipekne'katik River.

“Local residents, Mi’kmaq rights holders, and environmental groups have long raised concerns about the potential impact of the Alton Gas project on the environment and fisheries. Recently-released documents show that salt content in the brine produced will be up to six times higher than what's considered safe for fish” says Sadie Beaton, Community Conservation Research Coordinator at the Ecology Action Centre.

While the effluent is currently prohibited under the Fisheries Act, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada (“ECCC”) has a conditional power to authorize certain deposits through regulation. In February 2019, ECCC declared its intent to authorize and regulate the proposed brining activities.

Research by the Ecology Action Centre and East Coast Environmental Law indicates that if the proposed regulations are created, it will be the first time that an effluent regulation under the Fisheries Act was created to enable a single project by a single industrial operator.

“The Government of Canada is creating these regulations with what appears to be minimal opportunity for public input, despite the fact that the project is very controversial,” says Beaton.

“Once in place, the Alton Natural Gas Regulations could set a new precedent by allowing a single project and its proponent to release a substance that would otherwise violate the Fisheries Act into fisheries waters,” states Lisa Mitchell, Executive Director of East Coast Environmental Law.

The two organizations are urging ECCC to incorporate more meaningful opportunities for public engagement in this exceptional law-making process. Specifically, they are asking the government to provide high-level and detailed consultation documents to interested parties before publishing a formal draft of the proposed regulations in the Canada Gazette, Part I, and to hold information sessions with interested parties before publishing the proposed regulations.

Read their letter to Environment and Climate Change Canada here.

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For further information, please contact:

Lisa Mitchell, Executive Director
East Coast Environmental Law
(902) 670-1113 / [email protected]

Sadie Beaton, Community Conservation Research Coordinator
Ecology Action Centre
(902) 221-1953 / [email protected]


Published in News
May 6, 2019
In partnership with the Ecology Action Centre, East Coast Environmental Law recently submitted recommendations for amendments to Bill C-69 (Impact Assessment Act) to the Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources.

To hear our thoughts on Bill C-69, with special focus on provisions addressing climate change considerations, public participation, and assessments by Offshore Petroleum Boards, read our submission here.
Published in News

May 1, 2019

Job Posting: Summer Student Position

Information Library Research Assistant (Aboriginal and Indigenous Law)

East Coast Environmental Law is an environmental law charity based in Halifax, Nova Scotia, that operates throughout Atlantic Canada. Our mission and vision reflect our desire for a future in which the just application of innovative and effective environmental laws provide Atlantic Canadians with equitable access to a clean and healthy environment. The three pillars of our work are public legal education, community collaboration, and legal action.

In keeping with our mandate for public legal education, we maintain an online legal Information Library that members of the public can use to access hundreds of summaries of environmental law cases from throughout Atlantic Canada, along with a growing body of key terminology definitions.

The successful applicant for this Summer Student position will help us to expand our Information Library by preparing materials for a new section focusing on Aboriginal and Indigenous law in environmental contexts.

The Summer Student’s primary responsibilities will be to:

• conduct preliminary legal research to collect all relevant judicial decisions;
• draft summaries of relevant judicial decisions;
• review and edit relevant case summaries that were previously drafted by student volunteers;
• identify key terms that require entries in the “Glossary” section of the Information Library and draft definitions for those terms;
• submit drafted materials to East Coast Environmental Law staff for review and approval; and,
• upload finalized materials to the online Information Library database.

Qualifications and Job Requirements: This Summer Student position requires legal research training. The successful applicant will therefore be a current law student or a recent graduate of a law program. Indigenous applicants will be given priority.

This position is funded through the Canada Summer Jobs program; therefore, applicants must also conform to the program’s eligibility requirements. To be eligible for employment through the Canada Summer Jobs program, applicants must: be between 15 and 30 years of age at the start of the employment; be a Canadian citizen, permanent resident, or person to whom refugee protection has been conferred under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act for the duration of the employment; and, have a valid Social Insurance Number at the start of employment and be legally entitled to work in Canada in accordance with relevant provincial or territorial legislation and regulations. International students are not eligible.

This position is for eight weeks, with the anticipated work period running from June 3rd to July 26th, 2019.

To apply, please send a cover letter and CV (combined into a single PDF document) to [email protected] Applications should be addressed to Lisa Mitchell, Executive Director and Senior Lawyer.

The application deadline is Monday, May 20th, at 5:00 PM.

You can download a PDF version of this job posting here.

Published in News