oil spill

What Oil Spills?


This week on Terra Informa, we bring you an exclusive piece with non-profit ecologist Dr. Kevin Timoney about oil and saline-water spills caused by the energy industry in Alberta. Dr. Timoney reveals fascinating evidence that exposes the Alberta Energy Regulator’s misrepresentation and omission of spill data. This piece begs the question: if the Alberta Energy Regulator is 100% funded by the industry that it’s supposed to regulate, how can it possibly remain impartial? Can the AER be reformed, or does it need to be replaced?

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What’s Happening

On Wednesday, February 7, the Alberta Climate Dialogue is hosting an event at the Edmonton Tower with the City of Edmonton and the Athabasca University Press. Challenging Public Involvement: Learning from the Citizens’ Panel on Edmonton’s Energy and Climate Challenges will start at 6:45 PM! No tickets are required.

For more information visit their Facebook page.

Download program log here.

Photo by: Brian Cantoni

Forest Fires and Science Faction on Spider Silk

spider web

Spider Web by Jeanne Menjoulet

This week, we have an archive show that delves into the science of forest fires and forest rejuvenation, and how climate change disrupts that cycle. Then on Science Faction, we learn about how spider silk can be used by humans in many strange and unexpected ways. Hear from Utah State University’s Dr. Randy Lewis & BioArt Laboratories’ Jalila Essaïdi about “Spider Silk Superpowers.”

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What makes dogs so friendly? Study finds genetic link to super-outgoing people.

Ever wonder what makes your pup’s smiley lick-kisses and excited full body wiggling so infallible every time you walk in the door? New research into the genetic basis for the friendliness of dogs may have revealed some clues. Read more here.

Environment groups wait for charges in year-old Husky oil spill in Saskatchewan

Husky Energy is awaiting charges stemming from a major oil spill in Saskatchewan a year ago, when one of their pipelines leaked 225, 000 liters of oil onto the riverbank near Maidstone, Saskatchewan, contaminating the water sources of 3 different cities. Read more here.

Bears Are Being Milked for Bile. Vietnam Pledges to Rescue Them.

Vietnam has pledged to rescue around one thousand bears from Vietnamese farms keeping them captive in order to extract and sell their bile. Bile, a liquid found in gall bladders to aid digestion, has a long history in traditional Asian medicine, but there is no proof of its effectiveness in treating many of the conditions it is sold to cure. The practice of extracting bile often results in inhumane treatment of the bears, with farms keeping often malnourished bears in small cages. Read more here. 

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Return of Misinforma

Flickr - Kanichat

Back by seasonal demand, it’s the return of Return of Misinforma: the show that turns up the heat on environmentalists. (For best results, return on April 1st).

We ask the questions that are too controversial for you to ask yourself—like what to do with Iceland? Do we really need water? Plus a special investigative feature on Canada’s radical, extremist environmentalists. And of course, it’s time for the annual Ezra Levant Award for Excellence in Excellence in Journalism!

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What’s Pissed Off Chris

Photo Credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iceland

Terra Misinforma’s regular shock columnist Chris Chang-Yen Phillips has an idea he’d like to get off his chest. It’s about a certain Scandinavian nation that’s become a hot tourist destination for those in search of a union of lava fields and icy slopes.

Reflections on Water: A Debate

Another great use for water.

What’s water really good for besides hockey, hosing down activists, and raining on parades? As far as natural resources go, water’s just a drop in the bucket, and we’ve decided to wash our hands of it. But unlike most media outlets, we try to get you both sides of every story, even if the other is patently wrong. So, to stand up for the big blue—or green, or whatever colour gets you hippies out of bed these days—eco-conscious Canadian Nelly von Hoser joined us in studio for a short and shallow conservation—errr—conversation on the merits of water.

Spawns of Seitan: Canada’s Terrifying Ecoterrorists

You hear news on Terra Misinforma all the time about the misguided misdeeds of Canada’s environmentalists. Fortunately, our great government is starting to catch on. In recent years, politicians, pundits and police have all identified environmentalists as the leading threat to the nation. To tell us more, we’ve got Trevor Chow-Fraser, who went undercover in his fight to remain vigilant against domestic extremism in the name of environmentalism.

Our most excellent awards segment

(Photo Credit: http://www.canada.com/Ezra%2BLevant%2Bbrings%2Bback%2BMuhammad%2Bcartoons%2Bduring%2Blaunch/4637742/story.html)

The one and only Ezra Levant.

It’s that time of year when we celebrate the best of the best. Yes, it’s time to hand out the Ezra Levant Award for Excellence in Excellence in Journalism. In a tribute to the paragon of journalism that we, as Canadians, dream of reaching in our own work, the Ezra Levant Award for Excellence in Excellence goes to…

(Well, you’ll just have to listen to find out silly)

Cold Lake: Something in the Water (With Update)

Terra Informa’s Chris Chang-Yen Phillips and Nikki Wiart walk the streets of Cold Lake First Nation, Alberta in search of residents willing to share their views on the summer oil spill.

Terra Informa’s Chris Chang-Yen Phillips and Nikki Wiart walk the streets of Cold Lake First Nation, Alberta in search of residents willing to share their views on the summer oil spill.

This week on Terra Informa we are re-airing an important piece that was recorded in the area of the Cold Lake First Nation, where several leak sites have brought attention to Canadian Natural Resources Ltd.’s high-pressure steaming process of bitumen extraction. The story was originally aired nearly a year ago, and since then, not a lot has changed for the people who reside in this area, the CNRL operation there, or the Alberta Energy Regulator’s approach to projects of this sort.

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Return of Misinforma

Flickr - Kanichat

Note: For best results, enjoy on April 1st, 2014.

It’s that time of year again! Spring has sprung across Canada and around the world. Why, consider all the lovely, errr, April showers that are gracing the east coast and central Canada. The blossoms are in bloom in Vancouver, at least. Whether you’re a gardener looking to get a head-start on seeding, or you’re in the ice-melter “Safe-T-Salt” racket, there may be something to gain from all the intensified solar heat due to the greenhouse gas effect and changing oceanic temperatures due to melting polar ice caps.

At Terra Misinforma, we’re always turning up the heat on environmentalists and this week’s no different. We ask the questions that are too controversial for you to ask yourself—like what to do with Iceland? Do we really need water? Plus a special investigative feature on Canada’s radical, extremist environmentalists. And of course, it’s time for the annual Ezra Levant Award for Excellence in Excellence in Journalism!

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A telling tailings tale and the disappearing Greater Sage Grouse

The Greater Sage-Grouse, an endangered bird, sits peacefully on the ground.

Sorry to be pushing you to extinction, Mr. Grouse, although you sure do look fabulous. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

The Wild Rose province bears two dubious distinction that we’ll explore this week. Alberta is home to some of Canada’s most endangered animals, and it is also the location of Canada’s worst ever coal tailings spill. Our reporters give you an update on the aftermath of October’s Obed Mine spill. But first, we explore the human stakes in the fight to save Canada’s Greater Sage-Grouse.

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Cold Lake; there’s something in the water

This week’s show is the Terra Informa exclusive about the CNRL oil spill in Cold Lake, Alberta. Terra Informa’s own Chris Chang-Yen Phillips, Trevor Chow-Fraser, and Nikki Wiart spoke to residents of this town and First Nation near the Saskatchewan border. You’ll hear their personal opinions and experiences surrounding the pollution Cold Lake waters experienced this summer.  Residents are speaking out about the destruction of Canadian wildlife as well as the lands their families have inhabited for years.

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Terra Informa’s Chris Chang-Yen Phillips and Nikki Wiart walk the streets of Cold Lake First Nation, Alberta in search of residents willing to share their views on the summer oil spill.

Cold Lake, Alberta: The Spill

You may already have heard about the bitumen leak that’s been welling up North of Cold Lake, Alberta. By the end of July over 1 million liters had seeped up in the bush and muskeg. Communications around this environmental disaster has been confusing. Canadian Natural Resources Limited finally allowed media to visit the leak on the Primrose Air Weapons Firing Range on August 8. But Terra Informa decided to head into Cold Lake itself on August 9.

We wanted to hear how this leak had affected the lives of residents in town and on the First Nations reserve. Cold Lake residents that offered up opinions and views on the situation include Doug Longmore, a staff member at the Cold Lake First Nation band office, and Karen Collins, the President of Metis Nation of Alberta Region 2.

We are happy to finally bring you these voices. In three weeks, much has changed in the way the government and CNRL are responding to the mess. But one thing hasn’t changed: in August 2013, the oil that was first discovered in May—it’s still leaking.

For more information on this story:

The Steve Show

This week, we say goodbye to Steve Andersen. An activist, bike enthusiast, and Terra Informa producer and correspondent, Steve helped guide and create Terra Informa over the last six years. A former Terra Informer shares a story about Steve’s magic, we take a listen to our favourite bike reports and garbage segments from Steve’s work, and we interview Steve himself.

How do you balance being in the news and making it? How easy is it have a microphone on while you’re unfurling a protest banner in midair? All this and more, as we wish Steve luck in his next chapter.

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Terra Informa, with Handsome Steve Andersen.

This week, we say goodbye to Steve Andersen as he passes the torch onto a new rogue’s gallery of Terra Informers. (Photo credit: Akex Hindle)

A fellow Terra Informer looks back on Steve’s magic, passion, and secret life fighting crime (maybe)
Marcus Peterson was a Terra Informer who worked with Steve for a number of years on the show. He sat down with Chris Chang-Yen Phillips to share stories about Steve’s time on Terra Informa.

Steve’s Segments: Bicycle Traffic Report and Garry the Garbage Guy
Two of Steve’s popular recurring segments were the Bicycle Traffic Report and Garry the Garbage Guy. He wasn’t afraid to dive right in, whether it was standing beside busy road with bicycle traffic reporter Karly Coleman or literally dumpster diving with Garry Spotowski, Terra Informa’s garbage and recycling expert. From our archives, two of our favourite selections from those two segments.

Steve covers the Gulf oil spill
Of course, Steve also tackled difficult stories, like the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. From our archives, Steve Andersen speaking with John Hocevar, the director of Greenpeace USA’s oceans campaign. We reached him in Grand Isle, Louisiana just after BP’s Deep Horizon rig exploded, gushing oil into the Gulf.

Steve in Studio
Finally, we wanted to sit down with the man himself. Chris Chang-Yen Phillips asked Steve Andersen to join him in studio to reflect on six years of work guiding Terra Informa.

News Headlines

Bhutan goes all-organic
Bhutan has made a recent pledge to convert to a 100% organic agricultural system.
The goal of the Ministry of Agriculture is for Bhutan to go organic by 2020.

More on this story: Samdrup Jonkhar Initiative, Bhutan Times, NPR

Barriere Lake Algonquins fight illegal logging
In Quebec, the Algonquins of Barriere Lake and supporters have been opposing the illegal logging taking place on Barriere Lake land.
This week, the opposition has resulted in concessions being made by the company attempting to log Barriere Lake land and the Quebec government.

More on this story: Barriere Lake Solidarity, Rabble, Indigenous Peoples Solidarity Movement Ottawa

BC Grand Chief predicts long battle over Northern Gateway Pipeline
Grand Chief Steward Philip, president of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, called the proposed Enbridge pipeline the largest issue faced by B.C.’s First Nations communities.
Philip stated that there would be a long fight if the project is allowed to move forward, both in the courtroom and on the land.

More on this story: The Globe and Mail, Ottawa Citizen, Vancouver Sun

Hundreds of millions in India hit by historic blackout
Most power has been restored after what’s being called the “worst blackout in history” in India this week.
An estimated 620 million people were without power due to the outages.

More on this story: CBC, The Globe and Mail

Satellites record largest summer sea ice loss
In June, the Arctic experienced the largest sea ice loss in recorded satellite history, that of 1.1 million square miles of ice, equivalent to the size of Alaska, California, Florida, and Texas combined.

More on this story: Nunatsiaq, The Guardian

What’s Happening

On this week’s What’s Happening, there are two upcoming wildlife viewing events taking place in the Yukon and two job postings in Vancouver, Coast Salish Territories.

Yukon Wildlife Talks
On Friday, August 10 from 9:30 – 11:30 pm, Environment Yukon biologists will be teaching participants about bat biology, habitat and conservation at the “Going Batty! Bat Viewing!”.

On Tuesday, August 14, there will be an evening walk about squirrels, entitled “Are You a Nut?”. Meghan Larivee, biologist and squirrel enthusiast, will be talking about the small critters that most people ignore.
Meet at the Robert Service Campground at 7pm.

Visit the Environment Yukon site for more information.

Vancouver Job Postings
And, in Vancouver, Coast Salish Territories, the BC Association of Farmers Markets is looking for a Strengthening Farmers’ Markets Project Coordinator. The position is part-time and temporary and the deadine to apply is August 13, 2012.

And The Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood House [DTES NH] is seeking a full time Program Lead for the Community Drop-in and Right to Food Initiatives who will oversee the DTES Right to Food Network, food related partnerships, the Building Welcoming and Inclusive Neighbourhoods (BWIN) Program, and provide leadership to the Community Drop-In Program.

More information at Good Work Canada and Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood House

Northern Gateway Pipeline Special

This weeks show was originally aired in June 2010, however despite efforts from a number of different groups the Enbridge pipeline proposal to build an oil pipeline from the refineries in Edmonton to a new super tanker port in Kitimat on British Columbia’s coastline still remains on the table.

This week we bring you a special edition focusing on this proposal which has become one of the most controversial infrastructure proposals in decades. Later in the show we’ll examine environmental and economic perspectives on this proposal, but firstly we look at the potential effects on the First Nations communities along the route.

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Environmental News

Traditional Food Health Effects

Relaxing of Yukon Caribou Hunting Restrictions

New Federal Budget

First Nations Perspectives

To build their controversial pipeline, Calgary Energy Company Enbridge will have to cross the territories of forty first nations. Unfortunately for Enbridge, these nations for the most part have registered staunch opposition to the development, despite the offer of millions of dollars in compensation. In June of last year, Terra Informa investigated some aboriginal perspectives in an effort to understand why opposition is so strong.

Amnesty International Canada: The Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Endbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline

Nadleh Whut’en First Nation

Pipe Up Against  Enbridge.ca (ad campaign)

Local Campaigns: No Tanks

In a reoccurring segment we call Local Campaigns, Terra Informa correspondent Myles Curry investigated the No Tanks campaign. Based out of Vancouver, this organization is building community opposition to increased oil tanker traffic along Canada’s west coast.

No Tanks

Economics and Politics

There has been a significant push to proceed with the Northern Gateway Project and understanding what the potential economics of the pipeline is crucial to understanding why it is so important to Enbridge to proceed. Next on the show Andy Read is takes a critical look at the economics and politics of Canada’s petroleum market and where the Northern Gateway Pipeline fits in.

Map of North American pipelines

Proposed oil tanker routes

Environmental Concerns

There have been a number of recent incidents with oil pipelines and oil spills in general. With the Northern Gateway proposal, there will of course be some environmental impacts. Terra Informa correspondents Marcus, Brett and Robyn investigated the potential impacts this project and the spin-off effects it will have on the environment.

Pembina Report on the Northern Gateway Pipeline

Dogwood Institute on potential of oil spill

The Headwaters Initiative Project

The Oil Spill’s Unseen Culprits & Victims, Royalties Defined, and Sea Shepherd

On this week’s show…

Alongside our usual review of the week’s environmental news headlines, today we bring you a Green Screen review of the TED Talk given by marine ecologist and author Carl Safina about the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. We also have a new Eco Babble defining what is meant by the term royalties – those fees paid by resource extraction companies to the provincial government owning the resources. Finally, we reach back into the archives for an editorial piece on the controversial ecowarrior organization Sea Shepherd.

Photograph by James Nachtwey for The New Yorker.

Environmental News Headlines

Northern Uranium Mine – Public Hearings

Federal Government – Oil Sands Assessment Report

St. Lawrence Lowlands – Hearings on Shale Gas Drilling

Central B.C. – Copper-Gold Mine Receives Federal Endorsement

Utah – Approved Oil Sands Mine

Ontario – Four More Coal-Fired Plants Shut Down


Green Screen Review: Carl Safina, “The Oil Spill’s Unseen Victim’s and Culprits”

This week Rebecca Rooney brings us a slightly unconventional Green Screen Review.  Usually these segments review films or documentaries on environmental subjects, but online videos are becoming an increasingly common excuse to eat popcorn.  Instead of reviewing a full length film, this week Terra Informa has a review of a 20 min online video recorded at the 2010 TEDxOilSpill conference last June.  The video is titled The Oil Spill’s unseen culprits, victims, and was delivered by author and scientist Carl Safina.  In it, he lays out some of the context in which the Gulf oil spill occurred and argues that the spill was no accident, but was the result of negligence which he describes as only a symptom of a larger problem with American democracy.

This TED talk is available to be streamed or downloaded for free here.


Ecobabble: Royalties

Royalties – what are they? Why do oil corporations hate them? Why do governments keep decreasing them? After you listen to this week’s Ecobabble, you’ll be able to draw your own conclusions. Andy Read and Marcus Peterson bring us an easy-to-listen guide on the convoluted world of taxes, mineral rights, and ownership.

Sea Shepherd

A dangerous and high stakes game of cat and mouse is played out every Antarctic summer season. The Japanese whaling fleet partakes in an annual hunt of approximately 1000 whales, however it is pursued by an environmental group called the Sea Shephard. Terra Informa takes a look at the past and present of the whaling issue. What does international law say on the issue? Who are the protesters? are they acting irresponsibly or courageously and will they succeed in their goal?