Greens Sue British Columbia for Trees

VANCOUVER, B.C. (CN) – British Columbia is shirking its responsibility to protect endangered old-growth forest in the province’s lush island coastal regions, environmentalists claim in court.
     The Western Canada Wilderness Committee and the ForestEthics Solutions Society sued the province in B.C. Supreme Court, naming B.C.’s Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations and Environment Minister as respondents.
     The groups claim the government agencies refuse to do their duty to protect habitat crucial to the survival of the Douglas Fir and Dull Oregon-grape plant.
     The species are at “high risk of elimination,” since the once-dominant “Coastal Douglas Fir Community” has dwindled from 135,000 hectares time to as little as 275 hectares, according to the complaint. (A hectare is 2.47 acres.)
     The government declared the Coastal Douglas Fir Community a species at risk in 2006, but failed to protect it species by not establishing any “Wildlife Habitat Areas” to ensure its survival, the environmentalists say.
     They claim they were forced to litigation for the public interest, “to uphold the law and protect this iconic forest type from elimination.”
     The Petitioners assert that it is in the public interest to ensure sustainable management of all forest resources and to seek to interpret the law to achieve that result,” the petition states. “The Petitioners assert that seeking judicial scrutiny of, and clarity on, the failure to protect species at risk listed under the Government Actions Regulation is in the public interest because it will settle whether there is any mandatory obligation to protect species at risk under legislation that the government of British Columbia holds out as protecting species at risk.”
     The groups are represented by Morgan Blakley and Devon Page with Ecojustice in Vancouver.

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