The battle over oil train regulation is heating up, as both the oil and gas industry and a coalition of environmental groups have now filed lawsuits challenging new Department of Transportation regulations this week.
I remember the first time I sat around a kitchen table in a rural community giving environmental law advice. I was speaking with a farmer who was beset by pollution running across his fields and destroying his fish and hunting camp along the Rideau Canal.
The family had asked my law firm what we could do about the landfill leachate from a major Ontario city dump that was destroying habitat. No one from the City, the waste company or government had offered to help them. Now everyone in the room — his wife and mother at the wood stove, his sons and daughters and grandkids around the table — was keenly awaiting what I had to say.
I asked: Are there any fish in the fields, ditches or nearshore? The family told me the bay was once the best fishing area around and that fish still spawned in the fields and ditches every spring.
I asked: Can I get access to the water draining from the dump to sample as it runs onto your land? The family told me the exact locations where the water bubbled up on the dump walls and ran year-round onto their property.
I answered: I can help.
The White House has handed more than 100 top environmental posts to representatives of polluting industries, says an article in Vanity Fair, and no president has mounted a more sustained and deliberate assault on America’s environment than George W. Bush, whose administration has promoted and implemented more than 400 measures that eviscerate 30 years of environmental policy.