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Federal Court Dismisses Case To Stop Surrey Coal Transfer Facility – Ecojustice Reacts

Surrey/Vancouver – In May 2017, the Federal Court heard from environmental lawyers including the group Ecojustice Canada, who were trying to overturn the Vancouver Port Authority’s approval of a coal transfer facility on the Fraser River.

The project would see four million tonnes of thermal coal pass through the Lower Mainland every year.

The coal would be brought in from Wyoming, barged to a site on Texada Islands and then exported to Asia.

Karen Campbell, lawyer with Ecojustice Canada stated at that time,”We don’t need to be shipping dirty coal through Canada.”

On Thursday January 25, 2018 – Ecojustice lawyer, Karen Campbell made the following statement in response to the Federal Court’s decision to dismiss a case aimed at overturning the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority’s approval of the Fraser Surrey docks coal project:

“We are deeply disappointed by the Court’s decision to dismiss our clients’ case against the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority’s approval of the Fraser Surrey Docks coal project.

“While this is not the outcome we, or our clients had hoped for, we believe this case shed light on important issues – it increased public scrutiny of how the Port conducts its business and reinforced the importance of stopping the export of dirty US thermal coal through Canada.

“The fact remains that federally-appointed authorities, like the Port, need to be held accountable for the decisions they make and the impacts their project approvals have on the regions in which they operate — otherwise, it’s communities like the ones our clients live in that will suffer.

“The federal government has committed to restore public trust in environmental decision-making, and it now appears more important than ever that the reach of those reforms capture the activities of Canada’s ports.

“Ecojustice will continue to support public interest organizations and concerned individuals in their fight to protect their communities, the environment and the climate from projects that put them at risk.

“We are currently reviewing the Court’s decision with our clients, including whether to appeal the judgment.”

In May 2017, Ecojustice lawyers, on behalf of Communities and Coal Society, Voters Taking Action on Climate Change, and two individual citizens, argued that the Port did not have the legal power to approve the Fraser Surrey Docks coal project and alleged that the Port was biased in its decision-making.

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