Ecojustice lawyers have launched a Federal Court case on behalf of local residents in an effort to quash a Port Authority-issued permit allowing the construction of a new coal transfer facility on the Fraser River.  Our clients — two local residents and a pair of community-based groups — have major concerns about the project’s human health and climate impacts.

If approved, the Fraser Surrey Docks 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.  This project could pump nearly seven million tonnes of CO2 emissions into the atmosphere each year — at a time when scientific studies have shown we must do all we can to reduce carbon emissions.

Our case argues that the conduct of the Port and its officers suggests bias — that the approval was a done deal long before the permit review was even completed.

Why is Ecojustice involved?
Our clients don’t want to see their communities become conduits for dirty coal. With doors firmly shut on coal export facilities in Washington State and Oregon, the need to find an export route along the west coast is prompting American companies to look north for ways to get their product to foreign markets. It is critical we stop this dirty coal project in its tracks.

Allowing this project to go ahead will be yet another black mark on Canada’s poor environmental record and further cement our reputation as a laggard on climate change.

What would a win mean?
A win in this case would quash the permit, forcing the Port to review the Fraser Surrey Docks project again before it can proceed. Our hope is that a new review would take climate impacts into consideration. It would also send a strong message that bias, or the appearance of bias, will not be tolerated in public authority decision-making.