Over our history, the EDRF has funded a diverse range of environmental protectors – from Indigenous peoples to neighbourhood associations, hunting and fishing clubs to local environmental organizations.
Demanding accountability for CN’s toxic spraying in Skeena River fishery
In August 2017, CN Rail sprayed a herbicide between Terrace and Prince Rupert along the rail line where it follows the Skeena River. As a result, a large amount of glyphosate entered Canada’s 2nd largest salmon producing river. CN sprayed over 1800 hectares without a Pest Management Plan, violating required pesticide- and herbicide-free zones. With funding support from the EDRF, the T. Buck Suzuki Foundation pressed for provincial and federal investigations and prosecution. On May 27, 2021, the railway pleaded guilty for failing to obtain proper authorization to spray and was fined $100K. The prosecution found that CN is bound by BC law. In September 2021, CN was fined an additional $2.5 million for violating the federal Fisheries Act, and the company will now be listed on the national Environmental Offenders Registry.
Putting local pollution on the Environment Ministry’s radar
Bea Silver, an Elder, residential school Survivor and former Chief of the Sumas First Nation, came to us for legal assistance to challenge noise, air and water pollution from a plastic pipe factory on her reserve. The operation sits on a parcel of land that was removed from Sumas Indian Reserve No. 6 in 1901 as a Crown Grant to industry. Working with Arbutus Law Group, Bea learned that the permit authorizing the factory does not require any environmental monitoring. In May 2021, Arbutus Law wrote a letter on behalf of Bea to the BC Ministry of Environment & Climate Change Strategy asking them to review and amend the permit to ensure it had adequate monitoring requirements. The Ministry rapidly responded with a commitment to inspect the factory, review the permit and initiate an internal amendment.
“We are very happy that this very dangerous problem is being looked at carefully. My spirit can rest a bit with this news. I’m blessed with getting this help. It’s not just for me—it’s for our children, our Elders, everyone here. Thank you for all you’re doing.”
- Bea Silver
Protecting community health from impacts of industrial cannabis production
The Kackaamin Family Development Centre is a unique, Indigenous-led facility near Port Alberni that helps individuals and families heal from trauma and addictions. Since 2017, the centre and its neighbours have raised environmental and health concerns due to the development of a large industrial cannabis plant across the street. With support from the EDRF and lawyer Patrick Canning, they conducted legal research and submitted a number of letters to the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District urging them to reconsider the location and develop the facility elsewhere. And in August 2021 they were relieved to learn that the project will not be proceeding. The permit for the facility has expired and the Regional District has indicated that any new permit application is unlikely to be approved.
Standing up for Canada’s carbon pricing law
On March 25, 2021 the Supreme Court of Canada ruled on carbon pricing law (the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act) and upheld the federal government’s ability to compel provinces to take climate action. The EDRF provided support to Generation Squeeze and the Intergenerational Climate Coalition in this important case. See West Coast blog posts on How Our Clients are Seeking Environmental Justice and Victory for Climate Action.
Protecting ancient forests on the Sunshine Coast
March 1, 2021, Elphinstone Logging Focus was pleased to share that a contentious cutblock of old growth forest in the Dakota Bowl area of Mount Elphinstone will be protected under an agreement between Squamish Nation and the BC government. This 71-hectare area includes some 77 culturally-modified trees and is a last stand of yellow cedar that provides bear habitat. The EDRF provided funding for an expert report on protecting bear habitat in the area (see this article).