Greens Sue Canada Over Coal Export Site

VANCOUVER, B.C. (CN) – Environmental groups and residents opposed to a coal port expansion project in the sprawling Vancouver suburb of Surrey claim in court that a permit for it was issued without considering “changes to the environment that will be caused by the combustion of coal that will be exported outside Canada.”
     The Communities and Coal Society, Voters Taking Action on Climate Change and Surrey residents Christine Dujmovich and Paula Williams filed an application for judicial review in the Federal Court of Canada. They sued Attorney General of Canada, the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority and Fraser Surrey Docks LP.
     They want to quash a permit issued by the port authority to Fraser Surrey Docks allowing construction and operation of a direct transfer coal facility because the port found -erroneously, they say – that the project “would not cause significant adverse environmental effects.
     The facility “would export up to four million metric tonnes of thermal coal per year,” the application states, and would be shipped via rail from Wyoming’s Powder River Basin.
     The transfer facility would load the coal onto barges to be tugged down the Fraser River, up to Texada Island to be stored until loaded onto deep-sea vessels and exported.
     While the project was under review, the applicants claim, “there was significant and increasing public concern … including frustration with the project review process.”
     Port officers and staff, whose compensation is tied to the economic performance of the port, allegedly “made comments violating the rule against bias at various points during the review” indicating that they’d “predetermined the outcome,” the applicants claim.
     “The Port received comments throughout the project review process regarding issues related to climate change, global warming and the export of coal,” the application states. “Combustion will result in [greenhouse gas emissions]. Emissions associated with coal combustion are a major source of GHGs and present significant harm to the environment.”
     The plaintiffs want the permit quashed or set aside.
     They are represented by Karen Campbell in Vancouver.

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