Saturday, June 21, 2008

Who needs clean water anyway?

At least 16 lakes across Canada are to be reclassified as toxic dump sites.

But Catherine Coumans, spokeswoman for the environmental group Mining Watch, said the federal government is making it too easy. She said federal officials are increasingly using the obscure Schedule Two regulations to quietly reclassify lakes and other waters as tailings dumps.

“Something that used to be a lake — or a river, in fact, they can use rivers — by being put on this section two of this regulation is no longer a river or a lake," she said. "It's a tailings impoundment area. It's a waste disposal site. It's an industrial waste dump."

Coumans said the procedure amounts to a subsidy to the industry and enables mines to get around the Fisheries Act.


A local environmentalist who attended the Long Harbour meeting, Chad Griffiths, said of Sandy Pond: “It's easy enough to consider just one lake as just one lake, as a needed sacrifice, right? But it's not one lake … It's a trend. It's an open season on Canadian water.”


Last fall, a Federal Court judge ruled that federal bureaucrats acted illegally in trying to fast-track the Red Chris copper and gold mine without a full and public environmental review.

The decision put the project on hold, but late last week, the Federal Appeals Court reversed the decision, paving the way for federal officials to declare lakes to be dumps without public consultation.


“We want it stopped,” said Dennis, who lives in the native village of Iskut, 18 kilometres northwest of the mine site. “We want to stop the mine … The animals will be drinking that water and they'll all be polluted too.

"Once they do the mine, they’re going to leave, and we're the people who are going to live with that. Not me, but my grandchildren, the small little kids like this. That's who's going to live with the pollution.”
(emphasis mine)

Of course the Fisheries Minister doesn't care, in fact he thinks it's more responsible.

From the Opposition:
"The reality is these Conservatives are giving those mining companies a huge subsidy by allowing them to use freshwater aquatic systems that are fish-bearing lakes as chief waste disposal sites," Nova Scotia MP Peter Stoffer said in the house on Tuesday.

"What they should be doing is having independent linings and holes filled with water, and put the tailings in those things, free and clear of any natural water system."

I wrote an angry letter, so there's something you can do too.

Also, there's another Work Less Party PARTY on the 28th. They're always a blast and why not financially support the best political party in BC while having a bit of fun? It is an election year and Sam Sullivan's not running again! Though I need to find out more about the new guy. Whoever he is I don't like the party so I doubt I'll like him either.


Anonymous said...

Hi Angry,
I caught your post about Canadian lakes being turned into dumps and I
thought I'd drop you a line. My name is Thom Duggan and I'm one of the many Canadians working to end this backward plan. So, I just wanted to say hi and thank you, for one.

One of the ways we're going to be trying to keep Canadians involved
and informed on this issue is though the blogging circles in Canada.

I'd like it if you'd agree to join our "blogcorps". It's mostly just a
special list that we'd keep of bloggers, like yourself, who would like updates and alerts about the issue from time to time (no
coverage-obligation, of course). Some bloggers have signaled that they want to get involved more deeply in the campaign, and that's great too.

If you'd like some background information even now on the issue, I can send you a few things. Or if you'd like to get in touch with someone from the campaign, either nationally or in your general area, we'll be able to do that stuff, too (we have a webpage coming soon that will bring local citizens, bloggers, scientists, and activists together...more on that later).

We've been blown away by the response online; thanks for being a part of that. Would you like to receive updates from us on this in the future? Cheers,

Thom Duggan
Coalition to Stop Lake Dumping

saskboy said...

I can hardly believe the nonsense comment I got at my blog about this issue. Someone claiming it's actually "better" for the tailings to be in the lakes. I suppose they meant, opposed to his lakes, and not opposed to being left in the ground.