ELC To Represent Sierra Club at Forest Appeals Commission Hearing

July 11, 2005

On July 4 ELC student Elisabeth Gronnestad obtained intervenor status for the Sierra Club of Canada (BC Chapter) for an important Forest Appeals Commission hearing scheduled for September.

The Sierra Club was permitted to address the issue of due diligence central to this appeal. The appellant, a forest company who received an administrative penalty for unauthorized harvesting, is invoking the defence of due diligence now available under the Forest and Range Practices Act. The Sierra Club will make submissions on the interpretation of the defence and its application to forestry matters.

Sierra Club’s concern stems from the fact that since the legislation was amended to allow for this defence, forest companies have been filing appeals arguing for an expansive interpretation of this defence. Sierra Club plans to argue that very high standards of conduct should be required before companies can avail themselves of the defence. More specifically, the Sierra Club’s position is that licensees should not be able to delegate their duty to act diligently to the contractors they have hired to carry out their logging operations. Instead, ultimate liability for irresponsible forest practices should rest with the licencees who have the resources and control necessary to ensure legal and environmentally sound operations.

In his decision to allow the organization to participate, the Chair of the Commission, Alan Andison, was of the opinion that the Commission would benefit from the Sierra Club’s expertise in the practical application of forest legislation and from the group’s “unique environmental policy perspective”.

Ms. Gronnestad will be acting on behalf of the Sierra Club at the September hearing.

For further information, please contact the ELC at (250)721-8188 or by email: elc@uvic.ca

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