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Articles by Peter Fairley

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These protesters in Burnaby, British Columbia, are opposing plans by the Canadian government to build a second pipeline to transport diluted bitumen, a greenhouse-gas-laden form of petroleum, from Alberta to the coast for export. Although they were successful in persuading the Houston-based Kinder Morgan energy giant to abandon the project, the Canadian government decided to step in and take over ownership and construction.

This story was produced in collaboration with InvestigateWest.

A decade ago climate activist Eileen Quigley found herself in deep despair. Washington, Oregon, and the Canadian province of British Columbia had set ambitious plans to control climate-warming greenhouse gases, but misinformation campaigns by fossil fuel lobbies and a global financial meltdown unnerved legislators, blocking measures to drive the states’ climate plans.

Shut down in Salem and Olympia, the Seattle-based environmentalist and her allies saw their hopes dashed again in Washington, D.C., in 2010. Despite an ascendant Democratic president and a Democratic majority in Congress, a sweeping climate bill died in the Senate and Republicans opposed to climate action took control of the House.

And in B.C., after a bruising provincial election in 2009, a pathbreaking tax on atmospheric pollution, and other climate protections were barely hanging on.

“It was bleak,” Quigley recalled in a recent interview. “There was a lot of anger and definitely frustration and disappointment.”

The result: A region billed as “ecotopia” last century came up way short on the biggest environmenta... Read more

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