This week on Terra Informa, Sofia Osborne (a Terra Informer herself) reads us a piece she recently wrote for The Tyee, an independent, Canadian, online magazine. The story recounts Sofia’s experience being isolated on Saturna Island this past December during the worst wind storm in BC Hydro history. We’ll chat about the piece, the future of dealing with these massive storms, and journalism!
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On January 31, Canada’s Supreme Court overturned a 2015 lower court decision regarding the Redwater Case, ruling that the Redwater Energy Corporation cannot walk away from the clean-up costs of abandoned wells after claiming bankruptcy.
Back in 2015, Redwater Energy Corporation went bankrupt and it’s trustee argued the energy company should be able to pay back their creditors before they finance the cleaning up of old oil and gas wells. The lower courts agreed with the trustee, meaning that energy companies were able to walk away from old wells. The Orphan Well Association and the Alberta Energy Regulator appealed the lower court’s decision, and the case ended up in the Supreme Court, where the 2015 ruling was overturned. This means that now, bankruptcy cannot be used as a license to ignore environmental clean-up.
Alberta has a LOT of abandoned, or ‘orphaned’ wells. Recent numbers released by the Orphan Well Association show that there are 1,553 abandoned wells in the province that still need to be reclaimed. Sharon Riley, who you might remember from Sofia’s interview about environmental investigative journalism that we aired earlier this year, published a great walkthrough of the Redwater case for The Narwhal.
The bodies of hundreds of dead guillemot birds have washed up in the Netherlands over the past month. It is estimated that 20,000 of the seafaring birds have died, with the cause of death currently unknown. Hundreds of sick birds have been taken to sanctuaries for treatment, and dissections have been performed on the bodies of deceased birds to try and determine the cause of death. Biologist Mardik Leopold stated that the otherwise clean birds were “skinny, with gut problems, which is indicative of starvation”. One suggested cause of this mass casualty is the loss of 291 shipping containers during a storm in early January. The contents of the lost containers is currently unknown.
Do you often think about how you can minimize your environmental footprint?
What about…. after death?
A Washington State bill has passed the state Senate, and is now headed to the House. If it passes the House, it would make be legal to compost human remains in the state of Washington. A company called Recompose, founded by Katrina Spade, hopes to offer people the choice to be composed into soil after they die, instead of being buried or cremated. Recompose has been working with the University of Washington to assess the safety of this composting process in terms of environmental and human health. The process is reported to use approximately one eighth of the energy required for cremation. The Recompose founder states that burial and cremation must remain for those who prefer it, but that the composting of human remains will provide another option for those who are interested in a greener final footprint.
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