Judge quashes decision to bar environmentalists from oilsands hearing

A judge has quashed Alberta’s decision to not allow environmental groups to take part in hearings on a proposed oilsands project.

EDMONTON — A judge has quashed Alberta’s decision to not allow environmental groups to take part in hearings on a proposed oilsands project.

The Oilsands Environmental Coalition went to court to challenge Alberta Environment’s ruling involving an oilsands mine proposed by Southern Pacific Resource Corp. (TSX:STP).

The province said the groups were not directly affected by the company’s plan to build the project on the banks of the Mackay River in northeastern Alberta.

Justice Richard Marceau of Court of Queen’s Bench says the government’s actions were “tainted”, “biased” and breached the principles of natural justice.

The coalition, including the Pembina Institute and the Fort McMurray Environmental Association, laud the ruling, saying Albertans have a right to a fair oilsands regulatory process.

Alberta Environment officials were not immediately available for comment.