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Most products are made from white or wheat flour. While unproblematic for many, people with celiac disease, non-celiac gluten sensitivity or those avoiding gluten for other reasons should not consume these two types of flour.
Fortunately, there are a variety of gluten-free flours on the market, each with a different taste, texture and nutrient composition.
Here are the 14 best gluten-free flours.
1. Almond Flour
Almond flour is one of the most common grain- and gluten-free flours. It's made from ground, blanched almonds, which means the skin has been removed.
One cup of almond flour contains about 90 almonds and has a nutty flavor. It's commonly used in baked goods and can be a grain-free alternative to breadcrumbs.
It can typically be substituted in a 1:1 ratio in place of regular or wheat flour. If you are baking with this type of flour, use one extra egg. Note that the batter will be thicker and your end product denser.
Almond flour contains many minerals, including iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium, copper and manganese. It's also a good source of vitamin E and monounsaturated fat.
While almonds and all nuts are naturally gluten-free, it's still important to read the package to confirm the flour was not made in a facility where gluten is processed.
Almond flour is a nutritious replacement for flours containing gluten and can be used in a variety of baking recipes.
2. Buckwheat Flour
Buckwheat may contain the word "wheat," but it is not a wheat grain and is gluten-free. It belongs to the family of pseudocereals, a group of grains that are eaten like cereals but don't belong to the grass family.
Buckwheat flour provides a rich, earthy flavor and is good for baking quick and yeast breads.
Due to its lack of gluten, it tends to be crumbly in nature. To make a quality product, it can be combined with other gluten-free flours like brown rice flour.
It contains a variety of B-vitamins and is rich in the minerals iron, folate, magnesium, zinc, manganese and fiber. Buckwheat flour is also high in antioxidants, specifically the polyphenol rutin, which has anti-inflammatory properties (4, 5, 6, 7).
Buckwheat can be cross-contaminated with gluten-containing foods during processing, transportation or when used as a rotational crop with wheat. Be sure to look for certified gluten-free on the label to be safe.
Buckwheat flour is rich in fiber and nutrients and contains antioxidants that help the body fight inflammation.
3. Sorghum Flour
Sorghum flour is made from an ancient cereal grain that has been grown for more than 5,000 years. The grain is naturally gluten-free and considered the fifth most important cereal grain in the world (8).
It has a light color and texture, as well as a mild, sweet flavor. Considered a heavy or dense flour, it's often mixed with other gluten-free flours or used in recipes requiring small amounts of flour.
The sorghum grain is high in fiber and protein, which can help slow sugar absorption. It also contains an abundance of the mineral iron, as well as antioxidants that help you fight inflammation (9, 10, 11).
Sorghum flour may be contaminated with gluten during processing. Look for the certified gluten-free label.
Research suggests that sorghum flour contains nutrients that may help reduce inflammation and balance blood sugar levels.
4. Amaranth Flour
Like buckwheat, amaranth is considered a pseudocereal. It's a group of more than 60 grains that were once considered a staple food in the Inca, Maya and Aztec civilizations.
Amaranth has an earthy, nutty flavor and tends to take on the flavor of other ingredients. It can replace 25% of wheat flour but should be combined with other flours when baking. The best use of this type of flour is for making tortillas, pie crusts and bread.
If you have a gluten intolerance, make sure to read labels. Amaranth processed in the same facilities as wheat may contain traces of gluten.
Amaranth flour is rich in nutrients that play a role in brain health, bone health and DNA synthesis.
5. Teff Flour
Teff is the world's smallest grain and is 1/100 the size of a kernel of wheat.
It comes in a variety of colors, ranging from white to red to dark brown. Light colors have a mild flavor, while darker shades are more earthy in taste.
Teff flour has traditionally been used to make injera, a fermented, sourdough-like Ethiopian bread. It's now also used for other foods like pancakes, cereals, breads and snacks. It can be substituted for 25–50% of wheat or all-purpose flour.
As with any grain, to ensure your teff flour is 100% gluten-free, look at where it was processed.
Teff is the smallest grain in the world. Nonetheless, its flour is packed with a nutritional punch.
6. Arrowroot Flour
Arrowroot flour is a less common gluten- and grain-free powder. It's made from a starchy substance extracted from a tropical plant known as Maranta arundinacea.
It's a versatile flour and can be used as a thickener or mixed with almond, coconut or tapioca flours for bread and dessert recipes. If you want a crispy, crunchy product, use it on its own.
Starch-based arrowroot flour can be a good thickener or mixed with other flours to create bread products. It might even provide an immune boost.
7. Brown Rice Flour
Brown rice flour is made from ground brown rice. It's considered a whole-grain flour and contains the bran, germ and endosperm.
It has a nutty flavor and can be used to make a roux, thicken sauces or prepare breaded foods, such as fish and chicken. Brown rice flour is often used to make noodles and can be combined with other gluten-free flours for bread, cookie and cake recipes.
To avoid contamination with gluten, look for brown rice flours that were not produced in a facility that also processes wheat.
Flour made from brown rice offers a variety of health benefits. It can help lower blood sugar levels, reduce body weight and protect against heart disease.
8. Oat Flour
Oat flour is made by grinding whole-grain oats. It gives baked goods more flavor than all-purpose flour and results in a chewier, crumblier texture.
Baking with oat flour will likely make your end product more moist. Due to its lack of gluten, some ingredients will need to be adjusted to create light and fluffy baked goods.
Oats and oat flour are often subject to contamination, depending on how they were grown and where they were processed. If you cannot eat gluten, be sure to look for products that have been certified gluten-free.
Oat flour provides soluble fiber and antioxidants that can help protect against heart disease and lower blood sugar levels. Note that it may be contaminated with gluten.
9. Corn Flour
Corn flour is a very finely ground version of cornmeal. Cornmeal is made from the whole kernel, including the bran, germ and endosperm.
It's commonly used as a thickener for liquids and can be used to make tortillas and breads.
Corn flour comes in white and yellow varieties and can be combined with other gluten-free flours to make pizza crust.
It's high in fiber and a good source of the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin. These two plant compounds act as antioxidants and can benefit eye health by decreasing age-related macular degeneration and reducing the risk of cataracts (38, 39, 40).
It's also high in vitamin B6, thiamine, manganese, magnesium and the antioxidant selenium (41).
Corn is from a different branch of the grass family than gluten-rich wheat, barley and rye. Cross-contamination is typically more likely in processed foods made with corn flour. Even cornbread can contain regular flour.
Corn flour is a whole-grain flour, providing fiber and antioxidants that can benefit eye health.
10. Chickpea Flour
Chickpeas are part of the legume family. Chickpea flour is made from dry chickpeas and is also known as garbanzo flour, gram flour and besan.
Chickpeas have a nutty taste and grainy texture and are popular in Middle Eastern and Indian cuisine. Chickpea flour is used to make falafel, hummus and the flatbread socca.
Cross contamination may occur with certain manufactured foods made with other gluten-containing flours.
As a legume, chickpea flour offers plant-based protein, fiber and other nutrients that may protect against heart disease.
11. Coconut Flour
Coconut flour is made from dried coconut meat and offers a mild coconut flavor.
Its light texture yields similar results to regular flour and is good for baking breads and desserts. Note that coconut flour absorbs a lot more water than regular or almond flour.
It's high in the saturated fat lauric acid. This medium-chain triglyceride can provide energy for your body and may help lower "bad" LDL cholesterol in combination with the flour's fiber content (49, 50).
Research suggests its fiber content may help maintain healthy blood sugar levels, as it does not cause them to spike (51).
Coconut flour is a good option for those with nut and gluten allergies. It can be contaminated in the processing phase, so be sure to look at where your flour was produced.
Full of fiber and healthy saturated fat, coconut flour is a good option for those with food allergies.
12. Tapioca Flour
Tapioca flour is made from the starchy liquid extracted from the South American cassava root.
This flour is used as a thickener in soups, sauces and pies and has no discernable flavor or taste. It can also be used in combination with other gluten-free flours in bread recipes.
Aside from carbohydrates, tapioca flour provides little nutritional value in the form of fiber, protein or micronutrients. In fact, it's considered inferior to other whole-grain, gluten-free flours and often thought of as empty calories (52, 53).
One health benefit of tapioca flour is its resistant starch content, which functions like fiber. Resistant to digestion, this starch is linked to improved insulin sensitivity, lower blood sugar levels, reduced appetite and other digestive benefits (54, 55, 56, 57).
If you're on a gluten-free diet, ensure that tapioca flour is not combined with another gluten-containing flour.
Low in overall nutrients, tapioca flour is a good grain-, gluten- and nut-free flour option to thicken liquids and use in bread products. It may also offer digestive benefits.
13. Cassava Flour
Cassava is a starchy root vegetable or tuber native to South America. It's also known as yuca.
In contrast to tapioca flour, which is made from a starchy liquid extracted from the cassava root, cassava flour is made by grating and drying the whole root.
This flour is gluten-, grain- and nut-free.
It's most similar to white flour and can easily be used in recipes calling for all-purpose flour. It has a neutral flavor and is easily digestible. It's also lower in calories than coconut or almond flours.
Some research suggests that the resistant starch content in this type of flour may help lower blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity. Note that processing the cassava root may decrease the levels of resistant starch present in the flour (58, 59, 60).
Because cassava flour can be used alone in food products, it's less likely to be contaminated. However, it's always important to look at where the product was processed.
Gluten-, grain- and nut-free, cassava flour is a good choice for those with food allergies. Its resistant starch content may also offer some digestive benefits.
14. Tigernut Flour
Despite its name, tigernut flour is not made from nuts. Tigernuts are small root vegetables that grow in North Africa and the Mediterranean.
Tigernut flour has a sweet and nutty flavor that works well in baked goods. Its sweetness allows you to cut back on the sugar quantity in your recipe.
Note that it's slightly coarser than white flour and likely results in products with more texture.
One-fourth cup packs 10 grams of fiber, which can help lower cholesterol. Tigernut flour is also rich in healthy monounsaturated fat, iron, phosphorus, potassium and vitamins E and C (44, 61, 62, 63).
Newer on the gluten-free market, few companies produce this flour. The risk of gluten contamination is low, as tigernuts are not grain based.
Rich in nutrients, tigernut flour offers an easy white flour alternative in baked goods.
The Bottom Line
A variety of healthy, gluten-free alternatives to regular or wheat flour exist for people with celiac disease, non-celiac gluten sensitivity or those avoiding gluten for other reasons.
Some gluten-free flours have more nutrients than others, making them healthier choices to include in your diet.
Many gluten-free flours require recipe adjustments or combinations of different types of gluten-free flours to create a tasty end product. Be sure to evaluate your recipe.
If you choose or require gluten-free flour, be sure to compare the nutrients, taste and recipe composition before making your flour choice.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Healthline.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
The depths of the oceans are heating up more slowly than the surface and the air, but that will undergo a dramatic shift in the second half of the century, according to a new study. Researchers expect the rate of climate change in the deep parts of the oceans could accelerate to seven times their current rate after 2050, as The Guardian reported.
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By Joni Sweet
Should you skip your annual checkup? The answer would have been a resounding "no" if you asked most doctors before the pandemic.
But with the risk of COVID-19, the answer isn't so clear anymore.
Are States Allowing Preventive Care Visits?<p>First things first: If you're experiencing a medical emergency, don't delay treatment.</p><p>While there's the potential that you could be <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/hai/data/portal/index.html" target="_blank">exposed to infections at the emergency room</a>, the health risks of avoiding urgent medical care could be far more severe.</p><p>Hospitals have also implemented precautionary measures, like distributing masks to patients, that help cut down the risk of viral exposure.</p><p>Now that that's out of the way, is it possible to start catching up on routine healthcare appointments, like physicals and dental cleanings?</p><p>"Different places are in different stages of opening up," said <a href="https://www.methodisthealth.org/doctors/arvind-ankireddypalli/" target="_blank">Dr. Arvind Ankireddypalli</a>, primary care physician and geriatrician at Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare. "Preventative services might not even be available in some communities, [and in others] medical appointments may be on a case-by-case basis."</p>
Is it Safe to Go to the Doctor?<p>If your state is open (or will end its lockdown soon), you may be able to start booking preventive care appointments, like Pap smears, cancer screenings, checkups, and dental cleanings.</p><p>But is it worth the risk of possible exposure to the new coronavirus?</p><p>Opinions vary among healthcare providers and the conditions of their patients, as well as the infection rate in their communities and availability of personal protective equipment.</p><p><a href="https://www.lenhorovitz.com/" target="_blank">Dr. Len Horovitz</a>, internist, pulmonary specialist, and director of Carnegie Medical, recommends that patients avoid delaying their annual physical or other types of preventive care.</p><p>"You will encounter problems that are best seen earlier rather than later," he said. "It is possible to provide a safe environment for a patient in the doctor's office. There's no reason for people to put off an annual exam; these are important appointments that help keep problems from getting out of control."</p><p>In an effort to curb the spread of infection, Horovitz has been following a strict set of procedures at his office, including allowing just one patient in at a time, requiring patients to wear masks and gloves, and disinfecting the examination room between every patient.</p><p>Other physicians, like Ankireddypalli, conduct a risk-benefit analysis for every patient before agreeing to see them in person.</p><p>"It is probably not appropriate to keep delaying visits for high-risk patients, like older adults or people with chronic conditions," he explained.</p>
Role of Telehealth Visits<p>Telemedicine visits, where doctors connect with patients via phone or video chat, can be an option if in-person appointments are risky or prohibited.</p><p>The <a href="https://www.medicaid.gov/medicaid/benefits/downloads/medicaid-chip-telehealth-toolkit.pdf" target="_blank">Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services</a> and some private insurance companies have expanded coverage for telehealth services during the pandemic. As a result, some practices have seen the <a href="https://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/during-pandemic-telehealth-visits-soar-10-week-300-group-practice" target="_blank">use of telemedicine services soar</a> over the last few months.</p><p>"Telemedicine is a way that patients can be seen, evaluated, counseled, and informed about their healthcare without being exposed to the dangers of going into lobbies and offices," said <a href="https://www.mayoclinic.org/biographies/ommen-steve-r-m-d/bio-20053861" target="_blank">Dr. Steve Ommen</a>, cardiologist and associate dean of the Mayo Clinic Center for Connected Care, which offers telemedicine services.</p><p>"It is particularly relevant for patients who already have a relationship with a provider, the appointment is for an ongoing care episode, and the patient doesn't need to be touched," he said.</p><p>A virtual doctor's visit can't be a substitute for all routine care, though. Cancer screenings, blood draws, evaluations of lumps, Pap smears, and other services still need to be done in person.</p><p>But even if you do have to go to the doctor's office, telehealth services can help cut down on the amount of time you spend there, thus potentially reducing your exposure to the new coronavirus and other germs.</p>
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Viral images of thousands of people eschewing the recommendations of medical experts and epidemiologists were on full display in the U.S. over Memorial Day weekend. In Missouri, St. Louis County officials called the images of crowds gathered at pool parties at bars and yacht clubs in the Lake of the Ozarks an "international example of bad judgment," according to The Washington Post.
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By Jeannette Cwienk
When it comes to recycling and recyclability, very little, it seems is straightforward — even something as seemingly simple as orange juice can present a conundrum. In Germany, many smaller shops sell drinks in cartons or plastic bottles, both of which will end up in the yellow recycling bin. But how do their recycling credentials stack up?
More and More Multilayer Packaging<p>How easy is it to recognize multilayer packaging? With drink cartons, it's usually obvious that they're made from a combination of different materials, but with other products, such as candy wrappers, it's a different story.</p><p>Such packaging can be made from a complex mix of up to 10 different films of plastic, which as Joachim Christiani, managing director of German recycling institute cyclos-HTP, explains, is <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/germany-produces-record-amount-of-packaging-waste/a-51293541" target="_blank">invisible to consumers</a>.</p><p>"In recent years there's been a trend toward so-called multilayer packaging, which is extremely light and thin. It saves material as well as CO2 emissions during transport, but can't be recycled," Christiani says.</p><p>Because it is not possible to melt the different plastics together, or — at least for now — to separate the individual films from one another at recycling plants.</p>
Lack of Recycled Plastic<p>A 2017 cyclos-HTP study into the recyclability of conventional packaging waste concluded that a third of it was not recyclable, and only 40% of the remaining two-thirds was made into plastic recyclate. The rest was used as fuel <em>—</em> in other words it was incinerated.</p><p>"There was no economic or political pressure to recycle more than this amount," Christiani says. "The prescribed recycling quotas were met, and there were not nearly enough recycling plants."</p>
Room for Greenwashing<p>According to a 2018 survey by Germany's vzbv consumer protection association, most consumers would like to see more plastic recycling, especially when it comes to packaging.</p><p>Although some products come in packaging that is advertised as being "made from recycled material," Elke Salzmann, a resource protection officer with vzbv, says that can be misleading.</p><p>"It says nothing about how much recycled material the packaging actually contains," according to Salzmann. "And it also doesn't mean that the recycled plastic comes from collected plastic waste. It could just as well come from plastic leftovers created during the production of primary plastic."</p><p>The term "ocean plastic," which some textile and shoe manufacturers use to advertise the recycled plastic in their product lines, can also be misleading, Salzmann says.</p><p><span></span>"Plastic waste from the ocean is in much too bad a state to be recycled. Instead, they use plastic waste from beaches or riverbanks."</p>
Laws Against Plastic<p>Images of garbage choking our waters and <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/eurythenes-plasticus-a-deep-sea-crustacean-full-of-plastic/a-52663559" target="_blank">killing marine wildlife</a> have played a key role in giving plastic a negative reputation among the public, and politicians have started to act.</p><p>Many countries worldwide have introduced bans on single-use items, and in Germany, a 2019 packaging law stipulates a plastics recycling quota of 90% from 2022, up from 36%. That said, the quota only refers to how much material has to be fed into the recycling system, not how much ultimately needs to be recycled.</p>
Rethinking the Whole System<p>Although plastic is a very useful material, at the end of its life it causes many problems, EASAC environmental program director Michael Norton tells DW, adding that we have to rethink the whole system and completely change the way we use plastic.</p><p>Joachim Christiani says the packaging industry is starting to catch on. Around 70% of recycled mass can currently be generated from packaging, but that figure is expected to rise in the future.</p><p>"95% is quite feasible," says the engineer, adding that sorting facilities are currently undergoing improvements, while packaging design is also changing.</p>
Clear Plastics Are Easiest to Recycle<p>As things stand, PET bottles are easiest to recycle because they're not mixed with other materials. New bottles can therefore easily be made from the old ones and the recycling rate is high. But the color of the bottle can pose a problem.</p><p>Because plastic is sorted by type rather than color, if different colors of plastic are mixed, the resulting recyclate cannot be used for light-colored packaging, which many manufacturers want. The upshot is the introduction of new plastic instead.</p><p>Consumer and environmental associations have long called for recyclability, greater sorting purity and better sorting facilities, but their most important demand remains waste avoidance through reusable systems.</p><p>"Why melt down disposable bottles to make new disposable bottles when you can refill them up to 20 times?" Buschmann asks.</p>
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When the coronavirus pandemic hit, the future of the Cannard Family Farm—whose organic vegetables supplied a single Berkeley restaurant—was looking stark.
Building Food Communities<p>Family farms in California and across the country have been hit hard by the impact of the coronavirus on their markets. But in the health-conscious Bay Area, where celery was already one of the first groceries to disappear from the produce rack, demand for fresh local produce has shot up. The challenge is in redirecting food from farms to new customers.</p><p>Sonoma County has historically been an agricultural region. When the organic food movement sprang up in the 1970s, this area was one of its early proponents. The first farmers markets and CSAs appeared in the 1980s and flourished, but the burgeoning network was later eclipsed by an inflated wine industry, much of it owned by distant corporations.</p><p>According to a 2018 crop report, 60,000 acres have gone to grapes, with only 500 acres in food crops. Land prices have skyrocketed, the cost of labor has gone up, and increased regulations have all made it harder to run a viable business here. Many farmers had turned to "boutique" specialty crops for restaurants.</p><p>"Farmers are always in an uphill battle, especially ecological farmers," says Wiig of the Community Alliance with Family Farmers. "I often hear them say, 'I'm working my butt off and hoping for the best.'" That's even more true now, as the pandemic strangles economies the world over.</p>
Scaling Up Support<p>F.E.E.D. Sonoma, a food hub that aggregates produce from dozens of local farms, was another quick responder. When the pandemic hit, it went from serving Bay Area restaurants to building a cooperative of farmers, filling food boxes for distribution at F.E.E.D.'s Petaluma warehouse and other drop spots in the county.</p><p>"Our local food system is extremely diverse," says co-founder Tim Page, who has the energy of a visionary combined with the skills of a businessman. "We have a ton of small farms but we don't have the infrastructure to support them. That is what F.E.E.D. is trying to establish." Since converting the restaurant supply business to a CSA, it has gone from 90 boxes to 450. Ultimately, the goal is 1,800 or more.</p><p>"I grew up in L.A.," Page says. "Every single farm is gone. The same thing will happen here if the general public does not understand the importance of it.</p><p>"That understanding was on display at the Sonoma Farmers Market, which now operates with strict restrictions and safety precautions because of the virus. "We think F.E.E.D. is going to save us," said Candy Wirtz, co-director of Paul's Produce, a well-established farm in Sonoma, as she weighed out my purchases. The CSA model could be transformative for Paul's and other farms across the country.</p><p>Subscribing to a CSA is a lifestyle change for consumers, to be sure. It means eating what's in season and learning to cook unfamiliar vegetables. But it's a change that many people are making now because of the stay-at-home orders. "People just have to learn to cook again instead of eating out," says Judith Redmond, part-owner of Full Belly Farm near Sacramento.</p><p>In light of this newfound commitment to CSAs, Perrotti, of Coyote Family Farm, says: "My hope is that this solidifies instead of going back to the way things were. I hope the importance of local farming stays at the forefront."</p>
Farms With Futures<p>To help small farmers stay in business during the crisis, Community Alliance is also advocating for stimulus dollars. "Most often subsidies go to a small number of the largest farms, or to buy food that goes to food banks from far away, while local farmers can't sell their food," Wiig says. "We want food banks to buy from local farms."</p><p>This seems like a win-win. Millions of tons of food is being plowed under as 60 million people are now going hungry, 17 million of them since the pandemic began, according to Feeding America, the national network of food banks.</p><p>But it's complicated. David Goodman of the Redwood Empire Food Bank puts it plainly: Local food is too expensive. "We distribute nine and a half million pounds of produce annually," he says. "It costs about 9 cents a pound, 3 cents to transport. With 82,000 people to feed, it would be a luxury to think of tending to local needs by buying locally."</p><p>That reticence is partly because the food bank system is tangled in bureaucracy. The USDA decides what to purchase and from where. Because of the distances between sites, the federal agency has tended to favor foods with long shelf lives, such as canned and processed foods, and long-lasting produce like apples and potatoes. "If local food is what we need, there has to be a plan," Goodman says.</p><p>Such a plan might be where short-term disaster relief meets long-term resilience. Michael Dimock is president of Roots of Change, a nonprofit organization that advocates for transforming California's food system. To get serious about preparing the food system for future disasters, Dimock says, the government needs to be involved. Roots of Change is now advocating for a tax on sugary beverages to help foot the bill.</p><p>Dimock says the state needs a paradigm shift for farms to remain viable in the face of multiplying disasters to come—not only pandemics, but fires, floods, and other symptoms of climate change. "How bold will people get in the months ahead to demand real change? My hope is they will get more radical."</p><p>Food is fundamental. While farmers have yet to face the full economic impact of this pandemic, their collaborative efforts, along with local grassroots networks, could mark the beginning of a new economy laboring to be born.</p>
By Andrea Germanos
Nearly 200 Canadian organizations on Monday rolled out their demands for a "just recovery," saying that continuing business-as-usual after the pandemic would prevent the kind of far-reaching transformation needed to put "the health and well-being of ALL peoples and ecosystems first."
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Alberta Energy Minister Calls Pandemic ‘a Great Time’ to Build Pipelines Due to Protest Restrictions
Anti-pipeline protests work.
That's the implication behind comments made by Alberta Energy Minister Sonya Savage Friday on how coronavirus social distancing requirements could ease the construction of Canada's controversial Trans Mountain Expansion project.