The Federal Government appears to be ignoring its own scientists' concerns about Robert Bank Terminal 2

Reference Number
2133
Text

Will the Federal Government Ignore its own Scientists’ Concerns?

The Federal Government is well aware its own scientists have major concerns that The Roberts Bank Terminal 2 project will result in significant adverse environmental effects that cannot be mitigated. Yet the Draft Conditions completely ignore these concerns. Even worse, the draft conditions propose mitigation measures (creating biofilm to replace that which will be lost), which those scientists have proven will not work. That same concern was expressed by the Review Panel in its report (page 243) stating, “There exists considerable uncertainty around the possibility that loss of productive biofilm habitat could be mitigated by the large-scale re-creation of biofilm habitat capable of supporting shorebirds, including appropriate bottom sediment characteristics and salinity conditions”.

The Federal Government once again appears to be muzzling and ignoring Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) scientists. Here is the evidence.

In the summer 2019 and after the Roberts Bank Terminal 2 (RBT2) public hearings the Review Panel asked for closing arguments from all participants, including the proponent, the public, other stakeholders and ECCC and other government agencies.

Many responded but at the closing date for submissions (August 26 2019) one important submission was missing – there was no submission from Environment and Climate Change Canada.

It took Access to Information action (ATIP) to discover there was a submission written by ECCC scientists, but federal government senior management in Ottawa withheld it.

Not only did Ottawa senior management withhold important findings from their own scientists, they also violated the federal government’s Environment and Climate Change Canada Policy on Scientific Integrity.

The release of the ATIP provided a copy of the scientists’ submission. It was a letter addressed to the Panel Chairman and was ready for submission ahead of the August 26 2019 deadline. It never reached the Panel. As a result the Panel focused on the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority submission in which they took the opportunity to disparage the ECCC science.

In the withheld submission these federal government scientists state:

“ECCC continues to conclude that predicted Project-induced changes to Roberts Bank constitute an unmitigable species-level risk to Western Sandpipers, and shorebirds more generally, and that therefore the only way to be confident of avoiding the impacts on biofilm and shorebirds from these predicted geomorphological processes is with a Project redesign”.

The Proponent (Vancouver Fraser Port Authority) has ignored this science-based conclusion and is not proposing any project redesign that would address these concerns.

Will the federal government now recognize and act on its own scientists’ concerns and deny approval for Roberts Bank Terminal 2?

The ECCC closing submission, that never reached the Panel, is now in the public domain and a copy is attached.

Submitted by
Against Port Expansion Community Group
Phase
N/A
Public Notice
Public Notice - Public Comments Invited on Additional Information and Potential Conditions
Attachment(s)
  • ECCC Closing Panel Submission RBT2.pdf (1011130 KB)
  • Date Submitted
    2022-01-26 - 7:43 PM
    Date modified: