Problems with the scope and terms of the announced EIA
There were some fundamental flaws in the Port’s announced assessment of the risks of coal export expansion, including the failure to involve key stakeholders in planning the scope of the assessment, an implausibly short time frame for its completion and a lack of transparency in the study terms of reference.
Experts in the field of impact assessment raised all of these concerns and more with the Port in an open letter sent shortly after the study was announced. The Port did not respond to their concerns.
Our Health Authorities also raised concerns about the flaws in the assessment process in a letter sent to the Port in September. The Port Authority brushed off our Health Authoritys’ concerns in a reply sent in October.
We’re forced to conclude that the Port’s September announcement of an Environmental Impact Assessment was more of a public performance than a sincere proposal to review the risks of coal export expansion.
Problems with the studies that formed the basis of the Environmental Impact Assessment
It’s hard to imagine how any other outcome was possible, because the proponent, Fraser Surrey Docks, essentially handed over its existing research to a coal industry consultant, SNC Lavalin, for a brief reassessment.
This existing research had already been widely critiqued numerous times, including in a May letter from Fraser Health Authority to the Port Authority, and in public presentations by Fraser Health Chief Medical Health Officer Paul Van Buynder, Metro Vancouver Director of Air Quality and Environment Roger Quan and Vancouver Coastal Health Chief Medical Health Officer Patricia Daly. See video links below.
Vancouver Coastal Health CMHO Patricia Daly and Metro Vancouver Manager of Air Quality and Environment Roger Quan speak at City of Vancouver public hearing on export. Some scrolling required.
It’s time for the Port to work seriously with our Health Authorities.
Documents obtained through an Access To Information request suggest the Port Authority has not engaged in meaningful collaboration with our Health Authorities on the assessment of the risks of coal export expansion.
We strongly encourage them to restart their assessment process, beginning with formal recognition of our Health Authorities as government level stakeholders. If the Port isn’t willing to work with our representatives on this review then we call on them to reject the Fraser Surrey Docks coal port permit and suspend any further expansion of coal export capacity.
To read more about assessment best practices, go here.