CPAWS, Wilderness Committee call on B.C. to revoke Kinder Morgan park use permit


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Permit facilitating Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion project likely unlawful, groups say

VANCOUVER – The Province of British Columbia has not just amended its parks legislation to facilitate major pipeline projects like the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain expansion, but also issued a permit that is likely unlawful, Wilderness Committee and the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (BC Chapter) said today.

In consultation with lawyers at Ecojustice and West Coast Environmental Law Association, the Wilderness Committee and CPAWS-BC have determined that a park use permit, to conduct research for industrial purposes, issued to Kinder Morgan in November 2013, is likely unlawful and should be revoked immediately.

“It’s outrageous that the Province hastily changed the Park Act, with no public consultation, to cover up the fact that they had been likely unlawfully issuing permits,” said Peter Wood, terrestrial campaigns director at CPAWS-BC. “More than 167,000 people have already signed a petition demanding that this amendment be repealed. Now we demand that Kinder Morgan’s permit be revoked as well.”

In March 2014 the Province passed Bill 4 – the Parks Amendment Act, to legalize industrial research in parks. Said Minister of Environment Mary Polak to the Legislative Assembly on March 24, 2014:

"We've been advised that the granting of the permits as we have done likely would not stand the test of a judicial review, and therefore, we need to amend the Park Act to ensure that we can continue on with what we have been doing but with the statutory authority so that we would not be in a case where either the granting of or the denial of the application for a permit could be successfully challenged and overturned based on our lack of authority."

Prior to the Park Amendment Act being made into law in March of 2014, park use permits could only be granted in Class A parks if in the opinion of the Minister to do so was necessary to preserve or maintain the recreational value of the park involved. Now companies can legally conduct invasive research in parks and then turn around and request that land be removed from park boundaries for pipelines, logging roads and transmission lines.

Using research obtained under its permit, Kinder Morgan is seeking to change park boundaries to facilitate its pipeline expansion project through four provincial parks and protected areas: Finn Creek Park, northeast of Clearwater; North Thompson River Park, south of Clearwater; Lac Du Bois Grasslands Protected Area, northwest of Kamloops; and Bridal Veil Falls Park, east of Chilliwack.

The deadline for public comment on the proposed boundary adjustments is October 12.

“This permit, and the amendments to the Parks Act, threaten the very integrity of B.C.’s park system,” said Gwen Barlee, policy director at the Wilderness Committee. “We need a strong Ministry of Environment — one that actually stands up for our parks instead of looking for ways to weaken park boundaries.”

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For more information, please contact:

Gwen Barlee, Wilderness Committee 604-202-0322

Peter Wood, CPAWS-BC 604-761-3075

Morgan Blakley, Ecojustice 604-685-5618 ext: 288

Andrew Gage, West Coast Environmental Law Association 250-412-9784


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