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press release

B.C. has right to protect communities from toxic spills, Ecojustice tells court

March 18, 2019

VANCOUVER – A hearing on whether the Government of British Columbia can update its laws to better protect against spills of toxic substances such as diluted bitumen got underway today.

Ecojustice, Canada’s largest environmental law charity, is participating in the hearing as an interested party. Ecojustice lawyer Kegan Pepper-Smith released the following statement upon the start of the hearing:

“This case is about ensuring that the environment and local communities have the best legal protection possible to safeguard against toxic oil spills.

“We know that when oil spills into the environment and communities it can cause widespread and irreversible harm. In 2010, the Kalamazoo spill in Michigan caused significant harm to birds, mammals, turtles and other wildlife. And the reality is that — as is the case with other instances of diluted bitumen spills — it will be decades before we understand the true extent of the damage.

“A similar spill in British Columbia could also be devastating. That is why the B.C. government not only has a right but an obligation to make sure its laws protect British Columbians and the environment from a toxic spill.

“All levels of government share responsibility for protecting the environment, keeping communities safe and healthy as well as fighting climate change. The bottom line is the stronger environmental protections – from the federal government, the provincial government, or a combination — the better.


Ecojustice, Canada’s largest environmental law charity, goes to court and uses the power of the law to defend nature, combat climate change, and fight for a healthy environment for all.