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Alberta Pipeline Will Hurt Species, Groups Say

VANCOUVER, B.C. (CN) - Canada should publish recovery strategies for four endangered species threatened by a proposed pipeline from Alberta's oil sands, environmental groups say in court.

The Western Canada Wilderness Committee, the David Suzuki Foundation, Greenpeace Canada, the Sierra Club of British Columbia Foundation and Wildsight filed four separate actions in the Federal Court of Canada last week.

Two applications name Canada's minister of fisheries and oceans as a defendant, and the other two name Canada's minister of environment. The groups say that Canada has failed to publish recovery strategies for the Southern Mountain population of woodland caribou, the marbled murrelet, the humpback whale North Pacific population and the white sturgeon Nechako River population.

Canada has allegedly "frustrated the purposes and the scheme" of the country's Species at Risk Act by failing or refusing to publish the recovery strategies for the animals.

The government's actions have also shielded future assessments of the environmental effects of the project, though implicated parties are required to notify the government if a project will affect a species' critical habitat, to "identify the adverse effects of the project on that critical habitat," and "to ensure that, if the project is carried out, measures are taken to avoid or lessen those effects," according to the complaint.

The groups are represented by Sean Nixon of Vancouver.

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