EDRF Highlights - December 2013
The Environmental Dispute Resolution Fund has been continuing to fund legal advice and representation around the province to help protect the environment. Here are just a few of our recent grants:
Coal Dust Free Salish Sea
In August, the EDRF funded Coal Dust Free Salish Sea, a group of coastal residents who have organized around a shared concern about the impacts of a proposed coal handling terminal on Texada Island. The proposal involves a 23x expansion of existing coal handling facilities on Texada Island, which is closely linked to proposals to expand coal shipments from Fraser Surrey Docks. The Texada/Fraser Surrey Docks proposal would not only increase GHG causing coal exports to Asia, but could also have major impacts on the respiratory health of communities on and near Texada, and potentially increasing the concentration of arsenic and selenium in the marine environment. With help from their EDRF lawyer, Tim Howard, the group is examining the legality of process that the BC government is using to regulate the proposed Texada coal port.
Rivers Without Borders
Rivers Without Borders, an international non-governmental organization with offices in both Canada and the US, has renewed its efforts to address this issue of acid mine contamination in the Taku River watershed from the Tulsequah Chief and Big Bull mines. Rivers Without Borders has garnered strong political support for remediation in the U.S. (Alaska suffers the downstream impacts of the contamination). With the help of their EDRF lawyer, Rivers Without Borders will continue to press the federal and provincial governments to get this mess cleaned up.
Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation
With assistance from EDRF lawyers Patrick Canning and Bill Andrews, the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation has been engaged in negotiations with the Ministry of Energy of Mines and Imperial Metals over mining in Clayoquot Sound. The Clayoquot Sound Central Region Board - created to manage land use in this unique region – has been dismantled, and the Tla-o-qui-aht Nation would like to see that management gap filled so that land-use issues in Clayoquot Sound can be addressed appropriately.
Friends of Shoal Harbour
Sidney, Vancouver Island is the home of the Shoal Harbour Migratory Bird Sanctuary, part of an internationally recognized bird protection area. The Friends of Shoal Harbour are the citizen caretakers of the sanctuary, and monitor habitat protection issues. One of their major concerns is the construction of retaining walls on seaside private property, which may harm the natural tidal movement of soil and increase erosion. The EDRF has provided funding to the Friends to obtain legal advice on one such issue of seawall construction, with the aim of preventing such seawalls in future.
The EDRF is made possible by generous support from the Law Foundation of British Columbia.
By Barb Everdene, EDRF Project Manager