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
You will not be surprised to learn that over 400 days later still nothing has been received.
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.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.
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.
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”
"The VFPA submits that ECCC has not been scientifically objective in its review of the VFPA studies and assessments”.
“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:
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.