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Alberta's woodland caribou

Oct 01, 2012 04:22 PM

Status: In Progress

Ecojustice is headed back to court to protect woodland caribou in northeastern Alberta.

Alberta's woodland caribou

The woodland caribou

Ecojustice is going back to court to challenge federal Environment Minister Peter Kent's stance on emergency protections for northeastern Alberta's caribou.

The minister’s “out of the blue” decision not to recommend emergency protection for woodland caribou in northeastern Alberta ignored scientific evidence and must be set aside, the Federal Court ruled in July 2011. The Minister announced in February 2012 that he will not recommend the emergency protections the caribou need to recover, sparking Ecojustice's second legal action on this matter.

Woodland caribou populations in northeastern Alberta have been in drastic decline in recent years due to unchecked industrial and oilsands development in their home range. Herds that once numbered in the thousands now have fewer than 100 members, and some herds may disappear entirely without immediate intervention. 

Ecojustice seeks a court order to force Minister Peter Kent to recommend emergency protection of critical habitat for threatened caribou herds in northeastern Alberta.
At the provincial level, Alberta has refused to implement a recommendation in its own caribou recovery plan, which calls for a moratorium on further mineral and timber allocations in certain caribou ranges in northeastern Alberta. 
Ecojustice staff:
"Given the evidence, and the court’s decision, the only reasonable conclusion Minister Kent can come to is that he must recommend emergency protection for the caribou."

- Melissa Gorrie, staff lawyer
Melissa Gorrie
Sean Nixon
Susan Pinkus
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