Ecojustice Blog – Climate change Posted on October 3, 2019 (updated: October 3, 2019)

We’re in court over unlawful fracking dams

Devon PageLawyer
Lily Dam
Photo by Ben Parfitt

We’re in the B.C. Supreme Court over Petronas Canada’s unlawful fracking dams. Sound familiar? The court originally planned to hear this case in July 2019, but scheduling conflicts forced it to postpone until October.

For nearly 30 years, Ecojustice has gone to court to hold governments and corporations to account.

So when Petronas Canada, a branch of one of the world’s largest oil and gas companies, acted with flagrant disregard for the law and built two dams in northern British Columbia without authorization, we took note. And when the province decided to ignore this behaviour and exempt the dams from environmental assessments after construction had already wrapped up, we turned to the courts.

Now Ecojustice lawyers Olivia and Randy are in the B.C. Supreme Court. On behalf of our clients, they’re arguing the government’s decision to grant the exemptions is not only extraordinary, but is not actually something it has the power to do under the law.

And there’s more to this story.

The B.C. government’s decision to exempt two Petronas Canada dams from environmental assessment raises serious questions about its ability to safely regulate energy projects while ramping up LNG development in northern B.C.

The Town Dam and Lily Dam are located north of Fort St. John, B.C. Both facilities store water used in fracking operations, making them a key part of a network of infrastructure that will provide natural gas to LNG infrastructure in B.C., including LNG Canada.

The B.C. government is committed to expanding LNG in the province, despite its massive projected carbon footprint. Fully building LNG Canada alone — just one of the proposed LNG plants in the province — will make it practically impossible for the province to meet its emissions targets. If the government couldn’t be trusted to enforce the law when Petronas built massive multi-storey dams, what will they let LNG Canada get away with in future developments?

Randy and Olivia are going to do everything they can to make sure the B.C. Supreme Court holds government to account.  We can’t let government and polluters get away with teaming up to violate our environmental laws.

I am so proud to work alongside Ecojustice lawyers like Olivia and Randy, who go to court to defend the people and places we love. This important litigation is only possible because of supporters like you, who share our vision for a sustainable, climate-safe future. Thank you.

Will you continue to fuel Ecojustice’s efforts to hold polluters and governments to account? Please, make a donation today and help us build the case for a better earth.

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