(Victoria, B.C.) – Ecojustice, representing Dogwood Initiative and eight other environmental groups, will appear before the federal Court of Appeal today to defend a precedent-setting ruling that confirmed the federal government is legally bound to protect killer whale habitat.

Ottawa has since appealed the ruling, arguing that it does not require Fisheries Minister Keith Ashfield to protect critical habitat, but instead gives him broad discretion to authorize activities that destroy it.

In response to today’s appeal Will Horter, executive director of Dogwood Initiative said:

“Every step of the way the Harper government is trying to avoid protecting endangered species. What we need is for the federal government to take concrete steps to protect B.C.’s threatened killer whales.

“The court was clear that the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans must protect all aspects of critical habitat, including the availability of salmon, clean water and freedom from disturbance. This includes taking measures to prevent an oil spill, which would have catastrophic consequences for whales.

“Instead of taking actions to ensure B.C.’s threatened killer whales are protected from oil spills, the Harper government cut funding to clean up oil spills and is trying to fast track pipeline projects that would bring hundreds more oil tankers into threatened killer whales’ critical habitat.”

Will Horter
Executive Director
Dogwood Initiative