August 23, 2012 (Ottawa) - BC Nature and Nature Canada, joint intervenors in the ongoing federal review of the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline, have enlisted the help of the University of Victoria’s Environmental Law Centre to ensure the interests of birds and wildlife are well represented in the final stage of hearings this Fall.
“From the beginning we have argued the Northern Gateway Pipeline project poses unacceptable risks to B.C.’s wildlife, and that a spill would cause irreversible harm to the livelihoods of many coastal and aboriginal communities and the area's unique marine ecosystems,” said Ian Davidson, Nature Canada’s Executive Director. “We need to continue to press our case, so the Environmental Law Centre’s offer to help comes at a critical time.”
BC Nature’s president John Neville agrees: “The northern BC coast, islands and offshore waters comprise a globally important area for marine animals, including orcas, humpback whales, sea otters and Stellar’s sea lions, all federally listed as species-at-risk. In addition, 30 Important Bird Areas would be at risk from oil spills, as would the salmon of the Skeena, the salmon and critically endangered sturgeon of the upper Fraser watershed, and, in eastern B.C., mountain caribou – a critically endangered ecotype of caribou. This is to mention only some of BC’s better known iconic species – just the visible tip of the iceberg of ecosystems threatened by the Northern Gateway Project.”
The Environmental Law Centre will be representing BC Nature and Nature Canada, on a pro bono basis, for the balance of the Enbridge hearings.
According to Chris Tollefson, the ELC’s Executive Director, “what happens this Fall will very much resemble a courtroom situation, where lawyers question opposing witnesses to try to get straight answers to hard questions about this project. Getting ready for this stage of the hearings, especially for groups unfamiliar with the litigation process, will take considerable preparation.”
Final hearings into the proposed 1,177 kilometre pipeline begin September 4 in Edmonton. With the help of the Environmental Law Centre, BC Nature and Nature Canada will be questioning Enbridge on the evidence the company has submitted on the impacts of the project on birds, bird habitat and endangered species. Enbridge will also have a chance to cross examine the witnesses that BC Nature and Nature Canada have retained to analyze and raise questions about the proposal. All of this will take place at hearings in Prince George and Prince Rupert, set to run from October 1 through to December 18, 2012.
The ELC will also present final arguments on behalf of BC Nature and Nature Canada to the review panel in early 2013.
Communications Director, Nature Canada
(613) 562-3447 ext. 248
Conservation Chair, BC Nature
Executive Director, Environmental Law Centre
Hakai Chair in Environmental Law and Sustainability
About Nature Canada
Nature Canada is a national charitable organization that works for a vision of Canada as a place where threatened species are protected, wildlife habitat is preserved, and people embrace a culture of conservation in their everyday lives. We are the Canadian co-partner in BirdLife International, a global partnership of conservation organizations that conserve birds, habitat and global biodiversity.
About BC Nature
BC Nature is a provincial charitable organization whose motto is to “know nature and keep it worth knowing”. It aims to provide over 5,000 naturalists and 53 clubs in BC with a unified voice on conservation and environmental issues; and to foster an awareness, appreciation and understanding of the natural environment so that it may be wisely used and maintained for future generations.
About the UVic Environmental Law Centre
The Environmental Law Centre is a non-profit society that, in partnership with the UVic Faculty of Law, established and operates Canada’s first public interest environmental law clinic program. Through this program, the ELC provides pro bono legal representation and assistance to conservation and community organizations, and First Nations throughout BC. It also advocates on a wide range of environmental law reform issues.