We are taking Port Metro Vancouver To Federal Court!
A Timeline of How Far We’ve Come, and Where We’re Heading…
SEPTEMBER 2012 – Fraser Surrey Docks (FSD) Announces intention to ship up to 8 Million Metric Tonnes of US Thermal Coal
MAY 2013 – Chief Medical Health Officer sends Letter to Port Metro Vancouver (Port) w/concerns & recommends a full Health Impact Assessment (HIA); City of New Westminster opposes the project
JUNE 2013 – Metro Vancouver votes 21-4 in favour of opposing FSD coal project w/ support for a HIA
JULY 2013 – Provincial Health Officer Dr. Perry Kendall backs the call for a HIA; City of Vancouver bans handling, storage, and trans-shipment of coal at its marine terminals and berths; City of White Rock opposes the project
SEPTEMBER 2013 – Port asks FSD to produce Environmental Assessment to cover region within their jurisdiction; FSD hires SNC-Lavalin to assist
OCTOBER 2013 – City of Surrey passes resolution to “not support the coal proposal, asking for an independent, comprehensive HIA & full public hearings
NOVEMBER 2013 – FSD produces Environmental Assessment; Health Authorities say it is deeply flawed; Port opens up 30 day public comment period; Sunshine Coast Regional District board supports the call for a full Environmental Assessment along the entire coal route
DECEMBER 2013 – Sechelt First Nation opposes coal shipments; City of Delta passes similar motion as Surrey and forms the Independent Interagency Review Committee (made up of various parties such as city councillors from other areas, Health Authorities, MPs, etc). Goal is to have Port work with them before any decision is reached; City of Richmond passes resolution asking the Port for an independent HIA and public hearings; 30 day comment period ends with 13,000 signatures on a petition submitted, and almost 3500 comments to the Port
JANUARY 2014 – City of Burnaby unanimously calls for an independent HIA and public hearings; City of Langley supports the call for an HIA
FEBRUARY 2014 – Port asks FSD to work on a Human Health Risk Assessment (HHRA) to “fill in gaps” in their work and to answer outstanding concerns. There will be no more public or Health Authority input; HHRA will be released to public once a decision on project is reached; Over 3700 comments to Provincial Health and Environmental Ministers asking them to step in and authorize authority for an independent HIA but it is to no avail
MARCH 2014 – Provincial government silently approves amendment to Lafarge’s permit on Texada which will allow them to increase their coal storage capacity; MLA Weaver tables motion to amend the Throne Speech in legislature which would recognize the threat of Climate Change & connection to US thermal coal exports in BC – fails
JULY 2014 – FSD files lawsuit to challenge Metro Vancouver’s air quality jurisdiction (due to an air quality violation relating to an agricultural product currently shipped from their facility); FSD holds back on submitting Air Quality permit application for proposed coal facility
AUGUST 2014 – Port approved FSD coal proposal; released HHRA & other documents
SEPTEMBER 2014 – Voters Taking Action on Climate Change (VTACC), Communities and Coal, and 2 individual applicants file lawsuit against Port alleging Bias in the decision making process, and a failure to take climate change into consideration under the Canadian Environmental Act. No court date assigned as of yet; New Westminster announces intention to join case as intervenor; Musqueam file their own court challenge against the Port over infringement on the aboriginal right to fish for food, social and ceremonial purposes; Union of BC Municipalities urge need for full assessment of health and environmental impacts of moving thermal coal through BC
OCTOBER 2014 – VTACC goes to court to challenge Provincial Government on the approval of the amended Lafarge permit; City of Surrey announces intention to apply for intervenor status on C&C lawsuit against the Port
MARCH 2015 – Metro Vancouver opens 30 day public comment period regarding the FSD wastewater permit application. They are looking for a way to dispose of the coal-laden water generated on site. Over 3400 submissions. Unclear as to when a decision will be made but suspect it will take several months
APRIL 2015 – VTACC loses court challenge against the Provincial Government
JUNE 2015 – Judge denies Port’s request for adjournment; Communities and Coal delivers public letter to Jeff Scott at Port Metro Vancouver’s AGM regarding permit amendment; Communities and Coal hosts two MP Candidates’ Forums (South Surrey-White Rock June 24 & Delta and Surrey Centre June 26); Metro Vancouver opposes FSD permit amendment
JULY 2015 – Cities of Surrey and New Westminster granted intervener status in our legal challenge; Fraser Surrey Docks officially submits application to Port Metro Vancouver to amend their Direct Transfer Coal Facility permit replacing barges with ocean going vessels; Fraser Surrey Docks drops lawsuit against Metro Vancouver challenging air quality jurisdiction
SEPTEMBER 2015 – Communities and Coal host a fundraising event
OCTOBER 2015 – Communities and Coal to co-host an all candidates debate in South Surrey-White Rock (October 7, 2015)
NOVEMBER 2015 – University of Washington releases study showing coal trains emit nearly twice the pollution as freight trains; Port Metro Vancouver approves FSD’s permit amendment application to load coal directly onto Panamax ships at their terminal along the Fraser River.
MARCH 2016 – FSD and Port Metro Vancouver file motion to dismiss our court case, saying due to the amended permit, our case is now moot.
April 2016 – Federal Court Hearing over Port Metro/FSD’s request to strike court case. Judge dismissed motion, thus preserving our day in court (fall 2016).
Upcoming for 2016
- Metro Vancouver to make decision on FSD’s Liquid Waste Discharge Permit Application (date unknown)
- FSD to submit Air Quality Permit application for coal terminal to Metro Vancouver (date unknown)
- VTACC & Communities and Coal court date against Port Metro Vancouver to be assigned soon, with the expectation that our court appearance will most likely be fall 2016