Lis Stannus and Emily Toews, two outdoors-loving Kitimat teachers, have been working with SkeenaWild Conservation Trust to appeal the BC Ministry of Environment’s (MOE) decision to permit Rio Tinto Alcan (RTA) to increase sulphur dioxide (SO2) emissions from its Kitimat smelter by 56 percent--up to 42 tonnes per day. SO2 is a pollutant that impairs peoples' ability to breathe and causes acid rain. In April, 2013, six appellants took their case to the Environmental Appeal Board (EAB), only to have their standing to bring the appeal challenged. The EAB eventually granted standing to Lis and Emily, but denied it to the remaining four, including SkeenaWild and Lakelse Watershed Stewards Society. The hearing is scheduled to be heard in Victoria on April 27 - May 1 and May 11 - 15, 2015, and in Kitimat on June 1 - 5 and 8 - 12, 2015.
The permit increase allows the smelters’ SO2 emissions to be the highest of any aluminium smelter in Canada and of any industrial plant in BC. There are no known safe levels of Sulphur Dioxide. Over mere minutes, poor air quality increases the risk of asthmatic episodes and hospitalization, and in the longer term, it increases the risk of heart attack, stroke and cancer. Emily, a new mother, had to leave the Lower Mainland because of her asthma. Now, she is worried that she will have to move away from Kitimat for the same reason.
Lis and Emily believe the MOE decision was based on:
- inadequate information regarding health, the environment, agriculture and fisheries;
- inadequate consideration of the need for SO2 scrubbers, which are the best available control technology, and were recommended by Northern Health Authority;
- inadequate public consultation;
- inadequate consideration of the impact of other proposed industries on air quality and acid rain;
- unfair influence of previous agreements between RTA and MOE.
Learn more about the issue and meet Lis and Emily by watching this short video:
We're not alone. The union representing workers at Rio Tinto Alcan Inc.’s aluminum smelter in Kitimat has filed applications in B.C. Supreme Court seeking to overturn approvals for a $5-billion expansion, claiming the government was biased and the project poses health risks.
Read the full article here
Sign their petition
We are reaching out to YOU for your financial support to fund the travel and expenses of the legal team and the expert witnesses. Much of the legal work is being done at no expense to the appellants by the University of Victoria’s Environmental Law Centre. They will need to be in Kitimat and Victoria for four weeks for the appeal hearing.
Canadian donations over $25 are eligible for a tax receipt. Please contact [email redacted] to learn how.
We thank professors, professionals, and students at the University of Victoria’s Environmental Law Centre and School of Public Administration, and the West Coast Environmental Law, the SkeenaWild Conservation Trust, the Lakelse Watershed Stewards Society, and subject matter experts for their volunteer and cash contributions.
DonationsSee top donations
- Susan Ruzic
- Laura Haley
- Margaret Ouwehand
- Anne Hill
#1 fundraising platform
More people start fundraisers on GoFundMe than on any other platform. Learn more
Expert advice, 24/7
Contact us with your questions and we’ll answer, day or night. Learn more