NEWS RELEASE · 1st May 2015
VICTORIA – 3rd Floor 747 Fort Street, Victoria BC V8W 9V1
The fourth day of hearings continued with the subpoenaed witness, Natalie Suzuki, an Air Quality Science Specialist with the Ministry of Environment. Ms Suzuki was heavily involved with the province’s interim Air Quality Objectives and Standards released last year. These standards—a temporary placement while Canada develops a national standard—replace the previous guidelines that were established based on science from the 1970s. The interim standards have substantially reduced the threshold for SO2 emissions, and the appellants argue that the interim air quality standards set out by the province in late October 2014 should apply to RTA’s environmental management plan, which was released in early October 2014 without any air quality thresholds in place.
Later in the day, Elisabeth Stannus, one of two appellants, provided testimony. Ms Stannus is a long-time resident in Kitimat and teacher at one of the local elementary schools. She has a strong connection to the Kitimat Valley and lives an active and healthy lifestyle there. In her testimony, Ms Stannus described the importance of exercising and being outdoors, not just for herself, but also for the health of her students and fellow community members. This healthy connection and active lifestyle is jeopardized by RTA’s Modernization Project that could eventually lead to air advisory warnings in the Kitimat-Terrace airshed, which would force residents to stay indoors.
The appellant pointed to BC’s new interim air quality standards and stated that great science and knowledge went into those standards, and they should be applied to the Kitimat Modernization Project. Ms Stannus indicated that she supports RTA and considers them a responsible corporation in her community, but said that the province has failed in its duty to protect residents in the Kitimat-Terrace Valley from dangerous SO2 emissions. For these reasons, and many more, Ms Stannus has been actively engaged in this appeal process since 2013.
April 30th Witnesses:
· Natalie Suzuki, Air Quality Science Specialist, Ministry of Environment
· Lis Stannus, Appellant
· Patrick Williston, Environment Impact Assessment Biologist, Ministry of Environment