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NEWS: Highway construction trumps bog in court challenge

Highway construction trumps one of the largest raised peat bogs in the world. The South Delta Leader reports, “A summary judgment (by Federal Court Justice James Russell) against the Burns Bog Conservation Society (in British Columbia) has scuttled a lawsuit against the federal government over the South Fraser Perimeter Road’s impact on protected wetlands. …Russell ruled that Canada has no obligation to protect the bog because it does not own any part of it, and is not contractually obligated.”The Delta Optimist adds, “The Federal Court made its ruling on Wednesday. The Society took Ottawa to Federal Court in Vancouver, claiming the federal government breached an environmental covenant to protect the bog when the highway was allowed to be built adjacent to the wetland. …(The Society) contends the highway will disrupt the natural hydrology and hydrochemistry, and destroy and fragment wildlife and their habitat. The society also contends the highway’s proximity contravenes the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and the federal Species at Risk Act.”

The Council of Canadians opposes the South Fraser Perimeter Road, a $2-billion, 40-kilometre four-lane highway from Deltaport Way to the Golden Ears Bridge, that will pollute the environment, pave farmland, increase greenhouse gas emissions, and harm the banks of the Fraser River. Last year, we participated in the South Fraser Protection Camp, an encampment on the path of the new highway from April 22 until a threatened injunction ended the camp weeks later on May 5. In late-May 2011, Tsawwassen First Nation members Bertha Williams and William Burnstick of the Cree Sioux First Nation filed a claim against the provincial government seeking to stop construction on the highway in order to protect ancient burial grounds and archaeological sites. More at http://canadians.org/blog/?p=6632.