Vancouver/Surrey – Community groups and local residents are going back to court to stop U.S. coal exports through Vancouver’s Lower Mainland in their tracks.
Last month, the Federal Court dismissed a case, brought by Communities and Coal Society, Voters Taking Action on Climate Change, and two local residents, which aimed to quash a Vancouver Fraser Port Authority-issued permit for the Fraser Surrey Docks coal project. This week, Ecojustice lawyers, on behalf of the community groups and local residents, filed an appeal of the Federal Court’s decision.
“We’re helping our clients appeal this case because we need to make sure that communities are not given short shrift when it comes to their concerns about health, safety and climate change,” said Karen Campbell, Ecojustice lawyer. “The way to make sure that happens is to have the court affirm that federally-appointed authorities, like the Port, must be held accountable for their decisions where projects will have impacts on local communities and the environment.”
The groups have alleged that the Port didn’t follow the law when it conducted its environmental review. If the Federal Court’s decision is allowed to stand, they believe it would put the integrity of the environmental assessment process at risk.
On paper, the Fraser Surrey Docks coal project would see up to four million tonnes of thermal coal carried by open-car rail from Wyoming’s Powder River Basin through Vancouver’s Lower Mainland each year, ultimately bound for export to foreign markets. If built, this project could pump nearly seven million tonnes of CO2 emissions into the atmosphere each year