A Federal Court justice in Vancouver last week reserved judgment in a lawsuit filed by the Burns Bog Conservation society regarding the South Fraser Perimeter Road.
The society was in court claiming Ottawa breached an environmental covenant to protect the bog when the highway was allowed to be built adjacent to the sensitive wetlands.
The group and others opposed to the alignment of the SFPR contend the new highway will have a significant impact, despite the Gateway Program's assurances that mitigation measures will address concerns.
Society president Eliza Olson contends the highway will disrupt the natural hydrology and hydrochemistry, and destroy and fragment wildlife and their habitat.
The society also contends the highway's proximity contravenes the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and the federal Species at Risk Act.
Using a grant from West Coast Environmental Law to go to court, the group notes the federal government is an equal, and therefore responsible, partner.
The government is part of the conservation covenant management team and scientific advisory panel, says the society.
Federal lawyers are arguing the society has no legal standing and therefore can't sue the government.
Olson said a decision wouldn't come until September.
"Some of the things working in our favour are our constitution, our longevity - 24 years this fall - our education programs and the professional way we have conducted ourselves over the years," Olson said on Friday.
"A special thanks to (lawyer) Jay Straith for taking our case and to Andrew Gage and West Coast Environmental Law for supporting us. Regardless of what happens, we will make history. Let's hope that whatever happens, it's a win for the bog and Mother Earth. As Jay says, 'What happens to Burns Bog will have an impact on future generations.'"
In 2004, four partners - federal, provincial, regional and municipal governments - jointly purchased 2,042 hectares (5,045 acres) of Burns Bog to be protected as an ecological conservancy area.
A legally binding conservation covenant placed on the property is to ensure the land is protected.