A report from the University of Victoria’s POLIS Project and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives warns of an approaching water crisis and recommends pricing water to encourage its conservation and re-use. Continue reading
This paper, by Adam Shedletzky, focuses on the legal provisions governing groundwater pollution due to fracking for shale gas. It examines the liability regimes (statutory and common-law) in Ontario, British Columbia, and Alberta. It concludes with recommendations for strengthening the regulatory regime to enhance frackers’ incentives to take care and to ensure that those who are adversely affected by fracking can be “made whole.” Continue reading
In this overview of shale gas in Canada, Manish Oza addresses basic questions about the location and volume of the resource, the environmental concerns associated with its extraction, and the regulatory regimes governing the industry. The paper is intended not to provide the last word on these issues but to help inform the still-early stages of the public policy discussion across the country. Continue reading
On the surface, a recent B.C. court case seemed to deny a legal right to clean water. But in fact, since the 19th century, common law has given the users of water downstream from a polluter a clear right to seek redress through the courts.
Writing in the New Brunswick Telegraph Journal, Philip Lee cites Elizabeth Brubaker’s work on the economic and ecological benefits of establishing property rights in fisheries. Continue reading
A chapter from Fish or Cut Bait! The Case for Individual Transferable Quotas in the Salmon Fishery of British Columbia, a collection of essays edited by Laura Jones and Michael Walker discussing tradeable fishing rights and their role in solving the West Coast salmon crisis. This chapter, by Elizabeth Brubaker, documents a century of mismanagement of the Pacific salmon fishery and analyses governments’ incentives to encourage the overfishing and pollution that threaten stocks. It examines alternative regimes that give fisheries owners both the reasons and the authority to conserve stocks and to protect the habitat on which they depend, and suggests that quotas are only the first step in the evolution of stronger property rights to protect and conserve fisheries.
Over the years, British Columbia’s public forest managers have promoted increasing timber yields from public forests in the belief that more timber volume means more processing, more jobs and therefore greater benefit to society. Timber yields have increased manifold over the years, as new techniques and economies have opened up virtually all of British Columbia’s crown forests to industrial forest management. But a large proportion of the present allowable annual cut (AAC) makes no economic or technical sense. As much as one-fifth of BC’s AAC occurs by government fiat. A central tenet of this policy is utilization standards.
Canada is blessed with one of the natural wonders of the world, the magnificent Carmanah Valley in British Columbia. Home to 30-story-high Sitka Spruce, the tallest in the world; to Red Cedars that are 1,000 years old; to Western Hemlock that are among the largest in the world; and to majestic Cypress that were alive when Christopher Columbus discovered North America, this virtually untouched valley is one of the world’s last remaining temperate rainforests.
A Toronto-based environmental group, arguing that there’s no longer any economic benefit to logging in Vancouver island’s Carmanah Valley, is asking the British Columbia government to preserve the entire valley.
Shareholders in the forestry giant MacMillan Bloedel Ltd. would make more money by investing in Canada Savings Bonds than they will by logging British Columbia’s disputed Carmanah Valley, a study says. B.C. taxpayers will also make less money from the timber harvest than politicians are leading people to believe, according to the study, to be released today by Environment Probe in Toronto.
The objective of this study is to determine the cost to society of preserving the Carmanah Creek watershed in its natural state. The cost of preserving the valley is viewed as the cost of forgoing the opportunity to harvest the timber. A complete cost-benefit analysis would compare the economic benefit of logging with the benefit from preserving the timber. Only if the benefits from logging exceed those from preserving should the timber be harvested. But due to the difficulty of measuring intangible non-timber benefits, the cost of the forgone opportunity to harvest the timber is the best measure of the cost of preservation. If the cost of preservation (the benefit of harvesting) is relatively low, then intangible non-timber value are more likely to exceed timber values—the prudent decision would obviously be not to harvest.
If we had free trade, says economist Miles Richardson, we might save Lyell Island. Lyell, a wilderness heritage of unparalleled beauty, is no ordinary island, and Richardson is no ordinary economist. He is the president of the Council of the Haida Nation and a leader in the fight against the British Columbia logging giants eyeing the forests on Lyell, South Moresby and other islands in the Queen Charlottes, where the Haida have lived since time immemorial.