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Environmental groups launch legal challenge against B.C.’s Roberts Bank port project

VANCOUVER — Five environmental groups have launched a combined legal challenge against the port expansion plan at Roberts Bank, south of Vancouver, that was approved by the federal government last month.

The coalition, which includes the David Suzuki Foundation, the Georgia Strait Alliance, the Raincoast Conservation Foundation and the Wilderness Committee, says it has filed an application in Federal Court for judicial review of Terminal 2’s approval.

The group says the project, which involves using landfill to add a three-berth marine container terminal, would disrupt “critical habitat” for the roughly 70 endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales.

The coalition, which is represented by environmental law organization Ecojustice, says such actions would contravene the Species at Risk Act, given the project’s environmental impacts on the whales “cannot be fully mitigated.”

The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority – the project’s proponent – says the expansion would increase its capacity by 50 per cent, but going without it would jeopardize $3 billion in added GDP due to bottlenecks and space constraints.

In April, the federal government approved the project subject to 370 legally-binding conditions to protect local environments and species that may be impacted by construction and port operations.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 25, 2023.

The Canadian Press

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