ELC concludes final argument at Northern Gateway Hearings

UVic Environmental Law Centre (ELC) Executive Director Professor Chris Tollefson appeared before the Northern Gateway Pipeline Joint Review Panel (JRP) to deliver a final oral argument on behalf of BC Nature and Nature Canada, in Terrace, BC on June 17, 2013. He urged the JRP to conclude that Northern Gateway's application was incomplete and should be rejected. In support of this submission, he contended, among other things, that the application failed to assess impacts on SARA-listed woodland caribou; provide a baseline inventory of wildlife species impacted by the project; analyze consequences of oil spills on marine bird populations; or accurately assess the likelihood of an oil spill from tankers along the BC coast.

During the final questioning phase of the hearings, held from October 2012 to March 2013, Professor Tollefson cross-examined four different Enbridge witness panels, one in Prince George and three in Prince Rupert. The cross examinations lasted a total of approximately twenty-five hours and covered a variety of topics including caribou biology, ornithology, environmental impact assessment, chronic oiling, and spill probability modelling.

Assisting him to prepare for and conduct these cross-examinations were ELC articling students Naomi Kovak and Natasha Gooch, and Intensive Stream Clinic student Anthony Ho. The students also researched and assisted in writing various motions filed by the ELC during the hearing, including two motions that led to the admission of important new evidence on the project’s impact on caribou and a ninety-two page final written argument filed in May 2013 (see link below).

The hearing process formally concluded on June 24, 2013. The JRP’s decision is expected by the end of 2013.

The ELC operates the ELC Clinic offered by UVic Law, which attracts some of the country’s best aspiring public interest environmental lawyers. Student participation in this precedent-setting hearing was made possible by funding from the Law Foundation of BC. The ELC’s core funder is the Tula Foundation.

For more information, see:

Written Final Argument of BC Nature and Nature Canada

BC Nature and Nature Canada's Media release: Reject Northern Gateway as Incomplete Say Nature Groups (Jun17.13)

Review panel should toss entire pipeline plan: nature groups (Jun18.13 Prince George Citizen)

Contact: C. Tollefson  ctollef@uvic.ca