In March of 2020, a federal review panel concluded that the Terminal 2 shipping expansion project would have significant adverse and cumulative effects to populations of Fraser Chinook. This is due to the proposal’s footprint in the Fraser Estuary and from the migration disruption caused by the terminal’s placement. The panel also concluded that the project, including its increase in marine shipping, would amplify underwater noise in the Salish Sea, leading to significant adverse effects on endangered Southern Resident killer whales. This echoed the detailed evidence Raincoast has been submitting to the Terminal 2 panel since 2016.
In August of 2020, the Canadian government appeared to respond. Canada’s minister of Environment and Climate Change, Jonathan Wilkinson, sent a letter to the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority requesting more information from the Port to assess the effectiveness of mitigation proposed on Chinook, killer whales, and other species in the estuary. This request pressed pause on the entire assessment process.
While the information the Minister requested is much needed, there are no mitigation or habitat offsetting efforts that will compensate for destruction of the habitats that endangered species require. We continue to use technical submissions, and collaborative communication efforts with other conservation groups to inform decision makers and the public. Richmond and Delta municipalities (closest to the terminal) have also expressed their opposition, citing the environmental and human impacts from more ships and bigger terminals.