Blueberry River First Nations lawsuit threatens Site C, fracking in B.C.

The Blueberry River First Nations have launched a legal battle that could affect B.C.’s planned Site C hydroelectric dam, as well as oil and gas development both inside and outside the band’s territory.

The B.C. First Nation has filed a lawsuit in B.C. Supreme Court that alleges years of development, including mining, forestry and oil and gas projects, have violated its treaty rights under Treaty 8.

"The province is not abiding by our treaty rights that were given to us back in 1900," said Chief Marvin Yahey of the Blueberry River First Nations.

The band has raised concerns about hydraulic fracturing​ - or fracking - for natural gas in their territory for more than a decade, but the B.C. government hasn’t listened, said Yahey.

He said Blueberry River First Nations want the Site C dam and other projects slowed to provide time for consultation, which he called “disappointing” to date.

"There has always been talk, yes, but never a meaningful consultation to address our concerns," said Yahey.

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Today, 75 scientists urged President Obama to stop oil and gas companies from using underwater explosions, which can harm whales and other marine mammals.

Because whales depend on sound waves to communicate, feed, mate, and travel, the blasting can disrupt the reproduction and feeding of blue whales and other endangered whales “over vast ocean areas,” the letter says. It expresses special concern for the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale, of which only 500 remain.

The blasts also “could have potentially massive impacts on fish populations,” according to the letter. In some countries seismic testing has driven away commercial species, resulting in dramatic drops in catch rates. Studies also show the airguns could kill fish eggs and larvae, interfere with breeding, and make some species more vulnerable to predators.  
“People are rightly concerned about the dangers of offshore oil spills, but seismic blasting is likely to have a terrible impact on Atlantic sea life before the first well is even drilled,” said Michael Jasny, director of NRDC’s Marine Mammal Protection Project.

The seismic surveys, used by oil companies to locate oil and gas deposits below the ocean floor, were evaluated  last year by the Department of the Interior and would result in more than 20 million seismic “shots” over a multiyear period. “The Interior Department itself has estimated that seismic exploration would disrupt vital marine mammal behavior more than 13 million times,” the letter says.

Read the rest. And help whales by taking action here

California’s Drinking Water is A Little Bit Safer from Oil Drilling Today

Regulators in the state of California have requested the end of oil operations in 12 underground injection wells in order to protect potential high-quality groundwater. And though they swear this is being done “out of an abundance of caution,” what’s crazier is, perhaps, the fact that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is creating these standards using ecological information and understanding from the 1980s.