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A large dam with water at the top is surrounded by ever green trees.

Photo by Ben Parfitt

press release

Court decision leaves door open for B.C. to give companies ‘free pass’ on environmental laws: Ecojustice

April 23, 2020

VANCOUVER – The Government of British Columbia acted lawfully when it retroactively granted environmental assessment exemptions to two fracking dams constructed by Petronas Canada, the B.C. Supreme Court ruled yesterday.

Alan Andrews, Ecojustice’s climate program director, issued the following statement in response:

“Unfortunately, yesterday’s ruling leaves the door open for the province to give companies a free pass when they flagrantly disregard environmental assessment processes — which is exactly what Petronas Canada did when it built the Town and Lily Dams without authorization, then asked to bypass environmental assessments after the fact. Ecojustice is currently reviewing this decision with our clients and weighing further legal options.

“At a minimum, we say Petronas should have been required to undergo a formal environmental assessment that looked not only at the impact of these dams, but why the law was ignored in the first place and why environmental law violations are so rampant in this industry.

“Ecojustice is also concerned this issue extends beyond two standalone dams. Petronas Canada’s Town Dam and Lily Dam are part of a network of fracking and pipeline infrastructure linked to LNG Canada — a project with a significant carbon footprint.

“If the province is serious about protecting the climate, the environment, and Canadians, it can’t let companies get away with asking for forgiveness after unlawfully building a project instead of following the law and asking for permission and an environmental assessment before putting shovels in the ground.”


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