Appeal Board Caves into Company Pressure over Cheviot Hearing

Court Date Set for Company Case against Appeal Board

Sierra Club of Canada

September 24, 2004

In a move that stunned observers and left conservationists shaking their heads, the Alberta Environmental Appeals Board (EAB) announced on Tuesday that it has put off their hearing of Ben Gadd's appeal, which was set for next Monday and Tuesday, Sept. 27-28, in Hinton, Alberta. Gadd is appealing the provincial approvals for the haulroad development, which is the first phase of the new Cheviot open-pit coal mine located adjacent to Jasper National Park. Backed by the parent companies,Fording Canadian Coal Trust and Teck Cominco, Cardinal River Coals (CRC) had filed a court notice the previous week stating that it is taking the EAB to court over its decision last May to hold a hearing on Gadd's appeal.

"We had told the EAB that we would agree to a delay in my appeal hearing only if the work stopped," states Ben Gadd. "But, the blasting and bulldozing continues and the company has gained a delay in the EAB hearing."

Taken aback by the EAB's sudden decision a few days ago to put off his hearing, Gadd through his lawyer insisted that a court date be set as soon as possible for the company's case against the EAB, whereas the company wanted it left open ended. An out-of-court agreement was reached this morning between the parties, which sets November 3rd as the court date; the earliest available.

Meanwhile, Elk Valley Coal Corp, which is using CRC's provincial approvals to build the controversial Cheviot mine, is nearing completion of the massive haulroad and pushing ahead with work in the heart of the proposed Mountain Wildland Park. None of the federal authorizations required for the mine are in place. A federal court case launched by a coalition of conservation groups over the lack of a federal environmental assessment is expected to be heard early in 2005.

For More Information:
Ben Gadd, (780) 852-4012
Jennifer Klimek, Gadd's legal counsel (780) 468-1843
Dianne Pachal, Alberta Wilderness Director, Sierra Club of Canada (403)