APE - Against Port Expansion in Delta, BC
Say NO to Roberts Bank Terminal 2
Watch Video To See Why!
APE - Against Port Expansion in Delta, BC
Say NO to Roberts Bank Terminal 2
Watch Video To See Why!
Latest News

Against Port Expansion in the Fraser Estuary BC

APE (Against Port Expansion in the Fraser Estuary BC) is a group of concerned citizens who recognize that plans for container terminal expansion on Roberts Bank (RBT2) will see the loss of globally-significant wetlands and habitat (classified as a Globally Significant Important Bird and Biodiversity Area - IBA) for migratory birds, shorebirds, waterfowl, salmon, herring, crabs and orca whales; degradation of the quality of life for thousands of Lower Mainland residents; and the industrialization of prime agricultural land.

 
 

War on Science - Alive and Well in Ottawa

 
On Oct. 26 2018 a community group submitted an Access to Information Request to Ottawa trying to uncover political interference in the science surrounding the Environmental Assessment of the proposed Container Terminal 2 on Roberts Bank in Delta BC.

You will not be surprised to learn that over 400 days later still nothing has been received.
 
In August 2019 scientists with Environment and Climate Change Canada submitted their final report to Ottawa on the Environmental Assessment, citing significant adverse environmental effects that cannot be mitigated if Terminal 2 is built. The report was intended for the federally appointed Environmental Assessment Panel. It never reached them. Someone, somewhere in Ottawa decided to suppress that report. Contrast that with the final report from a Crown Agency - the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority - which got through to the Panel unscathed. Why, because of course its paid-for non-peer reviewed science says there is no problem. If that raises questions for you it should. Why is the muzzling selective? Why is it that the science promoting the new terminal gets through to the Panel, yet that of Environment Canada, the federal regulators, does not? Is there someone in Ottawa that is determined to get T2 built regardless of any environmental issues, and so is preventing the Panel from seeing any scientific facts that raise environmental concerns? Sure looks that way.

Roberts Bank is world renowned as a site of international significance for the conservation of the world’s birds and other wildlife. Roberts Bank is recognized as a globally Important Bird and Biodiversity Area by a number of national and international  organizations, . Building Terminal 2 on Roberts Bank will degrade this world class ecosystem. It has the potential to drive some species to extinction. It risks further depletion of salmon stocks. It puts the already endangered Orcas at even more risk. Millions of migratory and other shorebirds rely on Roberts Bank as a critical food source. Building T2 risks depleting that food source.

Does anybody in Ottawa care?  Do federal agencies or the Port Authority care? It seems not.

National and International organizations care. Birdlife International, Birds Canada, BC Nature, Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network - they all care. They have all stated that Terminal 2 on Roberts Bank must not be built.

Do you care?
If you do write to the Minister of Environment Jonathan.Wilkinson@parl.gc.ca

Find out more by watching this short video
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8IrQXoGoGjM
and visit Birdlife International Important Bird Areas in Danger 
and scroll down to find the Fraser Delta.

 

SEVEN THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT RBT2

SEVEN THINGS WE KNOW ABOUT 
ROBERTS BANK TERMINAL 2 (RBT2)
AND CAN PROVE

1. The internationally recognized Roberts Bank ecosystem is critical for wildlife on a massive scale.

2. Environment Canada scientists and independent experts believe any further port development on Roberts Bank risks significant adverse environmental effects that will be immediate, continuous and cannot be mitigated.

3. Environment Canada scientists have been muzzled by Ottawa and prevented from fully explaining their concerns to the RBT2 Environmental Assessment Panel.

4. The RBT2 proponent, Vancouver Fraser Port Authority – a crown agency – has discredited and disparaged Environment Canada scientists.

5. The RBT2 Environmental Assessment Panel has refused to consider alternatives to RBT2 that are safer, less environmentally damaging and will cost less than half to develop.

6. With current west coast Canada container capacity expansions already underway there is neither need nor business case for RBT2 for many years to come.

7. The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority,  confident that RBT2 will be approved, is already going to tender for the RBT2 developer and operator, even before the Panel renders its decision.

You can find more detail and information on these topics by reviewing the other news items and the information about RBT2 on our website. 

Please email  if you have questions to info@againstportexpansion.org

Air Pollution - Does Port of Vancouver Care?

Are you aware of the recent report on air pollution/quality and the prime cause - diesel polluting trucks. 


For several days in November there was  an air quality advisory for Metro Vancouver. 
This topic was covered extensively on CBC’s Quirks and Quarks program. 


As reported the study looked at major highways in Canada,
It found serious air pollution and health issues.

Why is it a problem for folks living in Delta - because of the largo volume of diesel polluting tractor-trailers, the majority of which are hauling containers to or from Roberts Bank and associated warehousing and logistics facilities in Delta, Richmond and elsewhere. 
There has been much research of this problem over the years. The Moving Forward Conference in Los Angeles has researched air pollution in the Los Angeles area near major ports. Medical professionals explained the seriousness of this pollution. PM 2.5 spewed out by heavy emitting trucks is part of but not totally the problem. These trucks also emit ultrafine particles and black carbon, not only from their exhausts but from break linings and tires as they wear. This PM 2.5 and ultrafine particles are taken deep down into the lung and cause serious health issues. 

Major truck routes that transit Delta include Deltaport Way, Highways 17, 17a, 91 and 99. Add to that secondary truck routes, such as Highway 10 and 64th and you can realize we have a major pollution problem right here in Delta. These port trucks pass close by schools, residential areas and hospitals. Deltaport today has 3700 truck transits per day. Add to that many more truck transits involving container moves to/from logistics centres - at least another 2000 per day - and we can clearly see the extent of the Port truck pollution problem. And all that is without the truck traffic chaos and further air pollution that would result if Roberts Bank Terminal 2 (RBT2) is ever built. 

This issue needs addressing now by the federal government. It has been left to grow and fester far too long. Transport Canada has the power to deal with this pollution issue. Vancouver Fraser Port Authority (VFPA) is an agency reporting to Transport Canada. The hands off attitude of the Transport minister in the federal government has got to stop. We expect Transport Canada to get involved:
  • Require VFPA to implement short haul rail and short sea shipping immediately and reduce the number of port truck trips. 
  • Recognize that RBT2 is a non starter. The air pollution issue of itself should be enough to stop RBT2, let alone the other huge negative environmental impacts. 
  • Block any VFPA plans for further container terminal expansion in Metro Vancouver (beyond what is already in progress) and instead place that expansion in Prince Rupert.

This issue was not properly dealt with by the CEAA RBT2 Environmental Assessment Panel. Why? Because the VFPA successfully impeded the Panel terms of reference by ensuring that the Panel was not permitted to investigate anything beyond the RBT2 footprint. This was and is disgusting, yet another example of how this port authority has disdain for the residents of Delta and other lower mainland residents. 

The re-elected Liberal government says it is serous about addressing climate change and environmental issues. Regardless of whatever the Panel recommends, RBT2 must be abandoned. Canadians’ health is more important than building an ego-driven second container terminal that is environmentally damaging and has no business case. 

Write the MP for Delta - Carla.qualtrough.CIC@parl.gc.ca - and tell her you want her to take up this air pollution/quality issue as a high priority.


Political Interference Undermines the RBT2 Environmental Assessment

Today the Roberts Bank Terminal 2 Environmental Assessment Panel announced that it has closed the public record and will no longer accept any further submissions. During this last phase the Panel will now develop and submit its final report, likely to be delivered to the federal Environment Minister by the end of 2019. 

Whilst many individuals, groups and agencies submitted their closing remarks to the Panel, there was one that was missing.  There are no closing remarks from Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC).  The ECCC scientists certainly prepared their closing remarks, underlining their concerns that RBT2 will result in significant adverse environmental effects that cannot be mitigated. However the Panel never got to see these. Why, because it appears senior federal bureaucrats were intent on derailing the final definitive scientific statements from Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) to the Panel. 

So somewhere in Ottawa a decision was made.  None of the federal agencies would submit closing remarks – except one, the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority (VFPA). Thus the VFPA submission, which aims to minimize and discount the environmental impacts, goes unchallenged.

This is just the latest of a number of political interferences. Throughout the RBT2 process federal bureaucrats have muffled ECCC research findings and recommendations while the reports from the paid VFPA's consultants promoting RBT2 have been under no such censure. We have even tried the Freedom of Information route to uncover this interference, but 11 months after making the FOI request we have received nothing.

The RBT2 environmental assessment was supposed to be transparent and fair. It was neither.

The Panel received 39 closing remarks from individuals, environmental groups and others. 34 expressed outright opposition to the project and three identified significant concerns. One submission was from the proponent (also containing three consent letters from First Nations) and only one, from the BC Chamber of Commerce, supported the project. 

Not only that but the VFPA closing remarks take direct aim at ECCC. Rare for one government agency to criticize another one, VFPA tries to discredit and disparage the ECCC scientists. Three of a number of examples of disparaging and negative statements about ECCC in the VFPA closing remarks include:

“The VFPA’s position is that ECCC’s description of the changes in salinity on Roberts Bank that will result from the Project as ‘an overall regime shift’ is a strong mischaracterization”
and;
"The VFPA submits that ECCC has not been scientifically objective in its review of the VFPA studies and assessments”.
and; 
“It is in this context of the history outlined above that the VFPA asks that the Review Panel treat the evidence of CWS, that there would be a “species-level risk” to WESA as a result of the Project due to impacts to biofilm, with a high degree of caution and scepticism. Due to ECCC’s demonstrated lack of consistency on this issue, it would be inappropriate to rely fully on ECCC’s conclusions.” 

The key issue revolves around internationally cutting-edge revelations about the special types of diatoms in biofilm on the mud of Roberts Bank - now understood to be the irreplaceable source of essential fatty acids and energy for an entire shorebird species, the Western Sandpiper, and other wildlife, including salmon, whose level of richness is unique to Roberts Bank. Government scientists have consistently shown that if the project were to go ahead there will be irreparable changes to the Roberts Bank diatoms in the biofilm, with diatoms and fatty acid production being immediately impacted. 

APE and Boundary Bay Conservation Committee are pushing back.

Read their reports here:

 Abandon_Roberts_Bank_Terminal_2_Project_in_Delta_BC_Sep_10_2019.pdf

Political_interference_spells_disaster_for_the_Fraser_River_Estuary_in_Delta_B.C._16.pdf

Then take action. The environment is a top issue in the federal election. Talk to the candidates running in your riding about this project and how its assessment has been undermined.