Coal-terminal arguments to be heard in court

Coal-terminal arguments to be heard in court

Case to be heard in Federal Court in Vancouver May 17-19

Community groups opposing a Fraser Surrey Docks permit that would increase the amount of thermal coal being transported through White Rock and South Surrey will be in court later this month.

The proposal to build a new coal-export terminal on the Fraser River in Surrey received a permit from Port Metro Vancouver two years ago.

The terminal would bring up to four million tonnes per year of U.S. thermal coal by rail through White Rock, South Surrey and Delta, adding one extra coal train per day.

Communities and Coal Society, Voters Taking Action on Climate Change, Christine Dujmovich and Paula Williams – all represented by Ecojustice lawyers – will ask the Federal Court May 17-19 to strike the permit.

“Our clients have been there through each step of the process and will demonstrate to the court that the Fraser Surrey Docks project approval was tainted by a reasonable apprehension of bias,” Ecojustice lawyer Fraser Thomson said in a news release.

The release says Ecojustice lawyers will argue that the port did not have the legal power to approve the Fraser Surrey Docks coal project and allege that the port was biased when it made its decision to issue the permit – “based on a number of factors including a bonus compensation arrangement from some of the Port’s executives.”

Williams, a director of Communities and Coal, told Peace Arch News Wednesday that the legal challenge is still relevant despite Premier Christy Clark’s announcement last week that, if the BC Liberals are re-elected, she would impose a $70-a-tonne carbon levy on thermal-coal exports from B.C. ports if the federal government doesn’t impose a thermal coal export ban.

“Although our focus has been on the Fraser Surrey Docks coal project, it is also about Port governance. As will be revealed in court, the process is fundamentally flawed and needs to be addressed,” Williams said in an email.

Coal