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.
HERE IS THE CURRENT RBT2 STATUS:
- MAR. 27 2020 THE FEDERALLY-APPOINTED REVIEW PANEL PUBLISHED ITS REPORT IDENTIFIYING SIGNIFICANT ADVERSE ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS IN MANY AREAS SHOULD RBT2 BE BUILT.
- AUG. 24 2020 THE FEDERAL ENVIRONMENT MINISTER PAUSED THE DECiSiON PROCESS AND ASKED THE PORT FOR MORE INFORMATION.
- AUG. 28 THE PORT SAYS IT WILL HAVE COMPLETED GATHERING THE ADDITIONAL INFORMATION PRIOR TO YEAR END
- NOV. 5 THE PORT SAYS IT WILL NOT PROVIDE THE INFORMATION UNTIL SUMMER 2021.
SO MANY QUESTIONS:
- WHAT IS THE PORT AFRAID OF?
- WHAT IS IT TRYING TO HIDE?
- WHY IS THE PORT NOW HIRING AN ENGINEER TO MANAGE INFRASTRUCTURE DELIVERY AND GET CONTRACTS SIGNED FOR A T2 OPERATOR?
SO MANY QUESTIONS, NO ANSWERS FROM THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT.
WE NEED YOUR HELP. NOW IS THE IDEAL TIME TO URGE THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO REJECT ROBERTS BANK TERMINAL 2.
E-petition 2828 sponsored by Paul Manly MP for Nanaimo-Ladysmith called on the government to reject RBT2. It closed December 2 2020 with 1861 signatures.
Those signing were all across Canada. Eight provinces and two territories all had signatories. It was certified and presented to the House of Commons on Dec. 9 2020. The govenrment responded January 26 2021, refusing to reject RBT2 at this time, saying the decsion will be based on science facts and evidence.
The govenrment already has the science, facts and evidence. Its own scientists say RBT2 will result in significant adverse environmental effects that cannot be mitigated. How much more does the government need to reject this project?
And so the saga continues, seven years and counting, wasting more taxpayer funds.
KEEP THE PRESSURE ON THE FEDERAL GOVENRMENT
TELL THEM YOU WILL NOT ACCEPT RBT2 BEING APPROVED
IF YOU MISSED SIGNING WE HAVE PUT UP ANOTHER PETITION.
See what others are doing to stop RBT2:
1. Fraser Delta in the International spotlight. Birdlife Interantional has joined the fight to stop RBT2.
2. A video by Ranincoast Conservation
3. Natural Legacies versus Waste
4. Fraser Voices
5. Georgia Strait Alliance
World Wetlands Day 2021
50 years ago on Feb. 2 the Ramsar Convention came into effect, to highlight the importance of wetlands to the plsnet and human well-being.
In 2012 The Fraser Estuary received the designation as a wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention.
Will it remain a wetland of international importance if Roberts Bank Terminal 2 is built? Not likely.
Is The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority’s Roberts Bank Terminal 2 (RBT2)
Answering just one question determines if RBT2 should be approved. The question - are the significant adverse environmental effects that will result from building RBT2 fully mitigable?
On August 24 2020 Environment and Climate Change Canada Minister Jonathan Wilkinson acknowledged, “ …that even taking into account mitigation measures the Review Panel determined that significant adverse effects to fish and fish habitat, including species at risk, human health, and current use of lands and resources for traditional purposes, among others were likely”. So is RBT2 mitigable? Is the project environmentally sustainable?
Not according to many who say NO, including:
- Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) scientists. In reports and published papers in independent internationally peer-reviewed scientific journals submitted to the Environmental Assessment Review Panel the scientists said the project’s impacts on biofilm (a critical food source for million of shorebirds) “are anticipated to be high in magnitude, permanent, irreversible, and, continuous”. In other words unmitigable.
- ECCC scientists also rebutted the Port’s claim that biofilm can be created, stating, “there are no accepted techniques to remediate for functional biofilm for shorebirds on intertidal mudflats”, nor enough other available habitat to replace what will be lost if RBT2 is built, therefore mitigation for this habitat loss is not possible.
- The Canadian Wildlife Service, state Western Sandpipers have been declining at 2 percent a year and the entire species risks extinction if RBT2 is built.
- Forty or more environmental and other groups including BC Nature, Birds Canada and Nature Canada have all registered opposition, stating RBT2 will result in significant adverse environmental effects that cannot be mitigated.
- The cities of Richmond and Delta, both of whom voted to oppose RBT2.
- Major international environmental organizations such as BirdLife International (which lists the Fraser Estuary as an “Important Bird Area” in danger) and the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network.
- Recently published UBC research states the Fraser Estuary is on the brink of collapse and 102 species are at risk of extinction. (Conservation Science and Practice Journal)
- Internationally recognized scientists (Professors Pat Baird (SFU) and Peter Beninger (University of Nantes), experts in ecosystem function, have vigorously challenged the Port science – the Port science has never been published in an independent peer-reviewed scientific journal.
- Georgia Strait Alliance and Ecojustice state the Southern Resident Killer Whales are subjected to increasing levels of underwater noise plus a lack of Chinook salmon that put them at increased risk of extinction, made much worse as a result of RBT2.
- Raincoast Conservation and Rivers Institute (M.Rosenau) state RBT2 will impede the ability of juvenile salmon to access rearing habitat in the estuary and increase the risk of predation as the juveniles navigate around the port causeway, Deltaport and now (if built) RBT2.
If not mitigable then is RBT2 otherwise justifiable? Is an additional terminal needed on Roberts Bank because West Coast Canada is running out of terminal capacity as VFPA claims? Not according to the statistics. Despite claims of record growth VFPA’s 2019 and 2020 volumes have remained basically flat compared to 2018. Its twelve-year compound annual growth rate is below 3 percent. Global Container Terminals and DP World are both adding capacity in Vancouver. DP World has plans for a large expansion at Prince Rupert, all this giving the West Coast potential capacity of 10 million container’s (TEUs), sufficient to accommodate Canadian trade for decades to come without ever building RBT2.
House of Commons Petition to STOP RBT2
On December 9 2020 MP Paul Manly presented e-petition 2828 to the House of Commons asking government to deny approval for the Roberts Bank Terminal 2 project.
In doing so he made the following statement:
"Mr. Speaker, it is an honour and privilege to table e-petition 2828, which has 1,861 signatures.
The petitioners are concerned about the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority proposal to build another container terminal at Roberts Bank, creating a massive new man-made island the size of 150 football fields.
The petitioners call upon the Government of Canada to maintain the environmental integrity of the Roberts Bank ecosystem for migratory birds, the endangered southern resident killer whales and other wildlife. They ask the government to deny approval of the Roberts Bank container terminal 2 project".
Watch the petition being presented here:
Which part of NO does the Port of Vancover not understand?
NO to Roberts Bank Terminal 2:
- Said the city of Delta
- Said the city of Richmond
- Said almost 2000 Canadians who signed the House of Commons Petition
- Said Birds Canada, BC Nature, Birdlife International, Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network, David Suzuki Foundation, Raincoast Conservation, Georgia Strait Alliance, Nature Canada, amongst the 40 environmental and other groups opposed to RBT2.
- Said Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) scientists, stating that “ECCC characterizes the Project's residual adverse impacts on biofilm due to predicted changes in salinity as potentially high in magnitude, permanent, irreversible, and, continuous”. These same scientists told the Review Panel that “ECCC's confidence in the ( Port’s) Environmental Impact Statement's predictions is characterized as low. In particular, impacts to biofilm could potentially implicate the long-term viability of Western Sandpipers as a species (IBID). ECCC similarly characterizes impacts to Western Sandpipers as potentially high in magnitude, permanent, irreversible, and continuous”.
It does not get any cleaner than that.
Canadians asked Prime Minister Trudeau, Minister of Environment Wilkinson and Members of Cabinet - please now do the right thing:
- Protect the unique Roberts Bank environment,
- Protect birds, fishes, Southern Resident Killer Whales and other wildlife that all rely on the natural habitat and wetlands of Roberts Bank,
- Prevent species degradation from further port development,
- Prevent harm to residents living near Roberts Bank,
- Prevent further traffic congestion caused by port truck traffic,
- Stop the Port spending $4 billion of taxpayer funds, and
Tell Vancouver Fraser Port Authority the RBT2 project is cancelled.
What did they do? Nothing!! The Environment Minister in his response to the petition states:
" Once the Minister is satisfied that the requested information (from the Port) has been provided, the federal timeline will resume. The Port Authority’s responses to the information request will be posted to the Canadian Impact Assessment Registry. The Impact Assessment Agency of Canada (the Agency) will then host a public comment period and seek input on the Port Authority’s responses. Additionally, the Agency will post the draft potential conditions online—a document outlining conditions that the Proponent must comply with to move forward with the Project. The public will be invited to submit comments on this document as well. The next step will be for the Minister to make decisions on the signiVcance of effects under CEAA 2012. The decisions will be based on science, facts and evidence, and informed by meaningful Indigenous consultation".
Why is this so wrong:
1. The Port of Vancouver has now said it will not respond to the Environment Minister’s request for more information on RBT2 until next summer. They are effectively holding the environment hostage and there are increasing calls for the whole process to be ended.
2. The cities of Delta and Richmond have both voted to oppose Terminal 2.
3. A just released study on marine issues investigating Southern Resident Killer Whales deaths:
4. Scientific papers identifying, quantifying and highlighting the risks to the environment - the latest one from UBC co-authored by Dr. Tara Martin is featured in the November28/29 2020 Globe and Mail.
5. A rival operation to RBT2 is in the planning stages under federal and provincial environmental assessment. Deltaport operator Global Container Terminals is proposing to add a 4th berth to its current facility. https://iaac-aeic.gc.ca/050/evaluations/proj/81010?id=ae12a115-f065-4990-8142-a6610e5879cd
The Lower Fraser River, its estuary and the southern Salish sea cannot handle any more port development with the:
- Associated marine traffic,
- Environmental degradation and,
- Many negative air, noise and light pollution effects that will result for both wildlife and area residents.
The Port of Vancouver is holding the environment hostage by its refusal to answer additional questions regarding RBT2. This makes a nonsense out of Canada's environmental legislation and it must be stopped.
It is time for the Federal Government to recognize the Port of Vancouver’s Roberts Bank Terminal 2 project must never be built.So please write to the Environment Minister firstname.lastname@example.org and call on him to use his powers under the environmental legislation to deny project approval.If you wish you can also sign a new e-petition which calls on both the federal and provincial governments to halt the RBT2 project.You will find it here:
Fraser River and Delta - 102 Species at Risk
The Globe and Mail contains an excellent article on the dire straits of the Fraser River and its Delta.
The G and M article is based on a joint project of researchers at the University of Victoria and University of British Columbia.
Check out a short video on the work here:
The Globe and Mail article quotes a Port spokesperson as saying, “The terminal would generate hundreds of millions of dollars a year” then going on to say if the terminal development is approved, “it will be built in a way that upholds our mandate to protect the environment.”
What the article does not mention is Environment Canada scientists’ concerns - they disagree with the Port science, warning that further port development on Roberts Bank puts millions of shorebirds and other species at risk.
It is unfortunate the Globe and Mail article does not reference the many concerns raised about the Port of Vancouver’s terminal 2 project by the scientists from Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC). As far back as 2005 they had stated that further port development on Roberts Bank risks breaking the chain of the Pacific Flyway (for millions of migratory birds). Most recently these scientists have stated their research demonstrates that if Roberts Bank Terminal 2 were to be built the residual adverse effects on shorebirds in general and migratory birds in particular could implicate their long-term viability. In particular the scientists say “ECCC similarly characterizes impacts to Western Sandpipers as potentially high in magnitude, permanent, irreversible, and continuous”. (February 12 2018: Letter from Environment Canada to The Review Panel, Roberts Bank Terminal 2 Project).
As Dr. Martin co-author of the study states at the end of the Globe and Mail article:
"the scientific evidence underscores why the estuary is now facing the most pivotal moment in its history. If we continue business as usual then we’ll lose most of these species,” she said. “Or we have an opportunity to change and develop in a way that averts the loss of future economic opportunities from having such a bio-diverse region.”
- The cities of Delta and Richmond are both opposing the RBT2 project.
- The Port of Vancouver recently announced that that they will not provide the additional information for RBT2 to the Environment Minister until the summer of 2021. They are effectively holding the process hostage with their repeated delays and obfuscation.
- Our e-petition, which calls for RBT2 to be stopped, has garnered close to 1700 signatures. It closes next week and then will be presented to the House of Commons
RBT2 Opposition Growing
Opposition to the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority's Roberts Bank Terminal 2 project continues to grow.
The House of Commons Petition has over 1400 signatures with more being added everyday. That opposition is countrywide - eight Provinces and two Territories.
More than twenty groups, some with thousands of members, have voiced their opposition to RBT2.
Many have written to the Federal Government. Here is a recent letter from the Vancouver Unitarians. Their letter, addressed to the Prime Minister as well as the Environment and Transport Ministers, was also sent to all Vancouver area MPs.
If you have not yet signed it, please do so before the deadline.