Fraser Surrey Docks operation on the Fraser River in Surrey could be exempt from regional air pollution regulations if it wins a court challenge of a ticket from Metro Vancouver.

Metro air pollution authority contested in court

Provincial power may also be at stake on federal land, warns Green MLA Andrew Weaver

A court dispute between Fraser Surrey Docks and Metro Vancouver over the regional district’s power to regulate air quality could have far-reaching implications beyond a proposed coal export terminal in Surrey.

Fraser Surrey Docks already has port authority approval to build the coal-handling facility, which would bring U.S. coal by train through White Rock and South Surrey and load it onto ocean-going ships.

Construction hasn’t yet begun and Fraser Surrey Docks hasn’t yet applied to Metro for a required air quality permit.

Instead, it is challenging Metro’s jurisdiction, delegated by the provincial government through the Environmental Management Act, to regulate industrial air emissions, arguing that power has no force on federal port lands.

The case, which goes to trial in provincial court next month, will see Fraser Surrey Docks contest a $1,000 fine levied against it by Metro in 2013 for the discharge of soybean dust from its grain handling operations.

“The ramifications of a decision in favour of Fraser Surrey Docks would be profound,” Green Party MLA Andrew Weaver said.

Any new industry – not just the coal terminal – could open on federal lands without obeying Metro regulations to control air pollution, he said.

And Weaver suggested such a ruling might thwart the province’s power to control emissions on any federal lands in B.C., not just port land within Metro.

He said there are many proposed industrial port developments – from LNG terminals to oil refineries – that could end up on federal port lands and pollute airsheds as far north as Kitimat and Prince Rupert.

Weaver called on the province to take a stand.

“Why is this going to the court and why isn’t the province stepping up and playing a more outspoken role about what they believe the role of Metro Vancouver and their role is?”

Environment Minister Mary Polak was not available for an interview.

An emailed statement from her office said the province has an interest in the case but will wait for the court’s decision before commenting further.

“Sources of air pollution throughout B.C., including on federal lands, must be managed to appropriate levels,” it said.

The coal terminal proposal is the target of separate court challenges filed by project opponents.

Fraser Surrey Docks now intends to directly load the coal onto ships, rather than first to barges that would have had to be unloaded to ships at Texada Island.

 

Just Posted

Structure fire closes section of Fraser Highway

RCMP have closed Fraser Highway down to traffic from 152 Street to 88 Avenue

Surrey RCMP search for missing 17-year-old girl

Mikayla Logan was last seen in Guildford on Tuesday, May 14

COLUMN: ‘Smart growth’ lacking in Surrey

Surrey council’s approval of infrastructure projects in the Tynehead area shows the… Continue reading

GALLERY: Cloverdale Rodeo Parade brings thousands through the town centre

From ponies to hot rods, the 73rd annual parade had it all

Free winter parking, higher summer rates eyed for White Rock waterfront

Councillor calls for more hard data on the impact of trial free parking on Marine Drive businesses

Jeep totalled, four young people in hospital, after single-vehicle crash in Surrey

Mounties have not ruled out any possible factors in what led to the overnight crash

Canadian killed in Honduras plane crash

The crash happened in the Roatan Islands area, according to officials

Man dies after being hit by car in East Vancouver

The driver involved is cooperating with police

B.C. ferry stops to let black bear swim past near Nanaimo

Queen of Oak Bay brakes for wildlife in Nanaimo’s Departure Bay

Mother dead, child in critical condition after carbon monoxide poisoning at Shuswap campground

The woman was found unresponsive insider her tent and the youth was taken via air ambulance to hospital

Kelowna RCMP interrogation video brings home reality in ‘visceral way’: former TRC chairman

Video of Mountie interrogating young Indigenous woman disclosing sexual abuse under fire

Canada’s parole officers say correctional system has reached breaking point

About half of Canada’s federal parole officers work inside penitentiaries and correctional institutions

Montreal researchers create audible hockey puck for visually impaired players

Three years ago, Gilles Ouellet came up with the idea for a puck that makes a continuous sound

Former B.C. Greyhound bus drivers head to Penticton for goodbye party

Big bash runs until Sunday, funded by drink cans left behind on busses over the years

Most Read

l -->