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B.C. killer whale protection fight back in court

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alp227 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-01-11 01:09 AM
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B.C. killer whale protection fight back in court
Source: CBC

The fight to protect British Columbia's killer whales returned to court on Wednesday, as the federal government challenged a ruling that it has not adequately protected the endangered orcas.

The case was originally heard in 2010 in Federal Court, where a coalition of environmental groups successfully argued that the Department of Fisheries and Oceans flouted laws outlined in the Species at Risk Act, which requires the department to protect the identified critical habitats of endangered species.

The government was judged to have "acted unlawfully" by failing to implement sufficient measures to safeguard the whales' environment, but the government is now challenging the ruling, arguing that it has sufficient discretionary powers under the Fisheries Act to protect whale habitat.

"You need to protect critical habitat for species to survive, you just need to to do that, and anything that suggests it's optional to do that is just smoke and mirrors," Margot Venton, a lawyer representing several environmental groups, told CBC News.

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