Nature/Culture/Law Connection March 2023

This is a brief round-up of articles and news surrounding the intersection of nature, culture and law.

Biodiversity and Business:

The most recent blog posts from the University of Calgary, Faculty of Law highlighted two issues intersecting biodiversity and business. First, the Imperial Oil Kearl Site tailing ponds are leaking, with the potential for adverse effects on wildlife and communities. It was only disclosed by the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) a month ago even though the leak started last May. A review of the AER response by Drew Yechuk reveals this may go against the province’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act to disclose environmental and public risks. AER and the disclosure without delay rule

Biodiversity offsets are a hot topic but as Shuan Fluker writes, this action needs to be considered as the last option in the “avoid, minimize, restore and offset” hierarchy. The first two actions especially are lacking in any firm policy, which risks offsets becoming the fallback, to the detriment of habitats. Biodiversity offsets and the Species at Risk Act.

In the know: The University of Cambridge and partner international organizations (including Biodiversity Law and Governance Initiative and the Centre for International Sustainable Development Law) are looking for people to pilot mini online courses focussed on SDGs, law, policy and governance including one on Law and the Global Biodiversity Framework. Apply for all or any of the four here. Deadline is March 15.

Land and Water: Following the tide of support for the protection of 30% of the world’s land and ocean by 2030 (from the COP15 Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework) the signing of the High Seas Treaty on March 5, heralds an agreement for protection across international waters. UN Delegates reach historic agreement

In the Courts: The environmental impact assessments for the Bay du Nord offshore oil project may have included the “strongest GHG conditions ever” but did it miss the mark in consultation and consideration of risks to marine life and communities in case of a spill? Federal Hearing March 1 & 2 as reported by Canadian Lawyer.

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