Environmental Appeals Board puts Alberta Environment and Park’s environmental orders on hold until a full hearing of appeals can proceed. Board orders hearing to commence August 27 as previously scheduled.
A recent decision directed that environmental orders made by a Director of Alberta Environment and Parks against Cherokee (Verte Homesteader Land Developer) would continue to be put on hold until a full hearing of Cherokee’s appeals could take place, and ordered the hearing to move forward on August 27.
A hearing was set by the Environmental Appeals Board for July 23-27 to hear Cherokee Development’s appeals of a series of environmental orders made against it by a Director of Alberta Environment and Parks.
Days before the hearing was to begin, the Director attempted to put a stop to the commencement of the hearing arguing that there was “reasonable apprehension” of bias because a member of the Appeals Board, who is a lawyer at an international firm, discovered that his firm’s Montreal office had been hired by Domtar. Even though this Board member voluntarily removed himself from any further involvement in the appeals, the Director argued that every previous decision made by the Board involving this Board member had to be heard again.
The Environmental Appeals Board responded to this concern by deciding to use the hearing dates scheduled for the week of July 23 to re-hear these previous applications.
On August 2 the Board released their decisions – which essentially made the same decisions that the Board member had made before removing himself – and which stated that:
- The Board had jurisdiction to deal with Cherokee’s appeals of the appealed environmental orders;
- All of the environmental orders were stopped (or “stayed” in legal terms) until a full hearing of the appeals is heard.
In addition to attempting to postpone the hearings which had been scheduled in advance months ago, the Director issued 2 more environmental orders before the Appeals Board had a chance to address the issues relative to the initial series of orders. Cherokee appealed these 2 new orders as well. The Appeals Board rejected the Director’s request and ALSO put the 2 new orders on hold until a stay application could be heard on August 14. The Board advised on August 20 that it was taking jurisdiction over, and staying, those 2 new orders as well and they will also be addressed at the hearing starting August 27.
Despite considerable energy and resources expended as a result of the Director’s actions, the Environmental Appeals Board hearing is to begin on August 27 as previously scheduled. Also, the environmental orders put forward against Cherokee have been put on hold until all appeals are heard. In addition, the Appeals Board re-heard the applications the Director challenged, and arrived at essentially the identical conclusions as the previous Board.
To read the Environmental Appeals Board full report, click here.