Tuesday, June 17, 2008

16 lakes to be "reclassified" as toxic dump sites

CBC : 16 Canadian lakes are slated to be officially but quietly "reclassified" as toxic dump sites for mines. The lakes include prime wilderness fishing lakes from B.C. to Newfoundland.

Environmentalists say the process amounts to a "hidden subsidy" to mining companies, allowing them to get around laws against the destruction of fish habitat.

Under the Fisheries Act, it's illegal to put harmful substances into fish-bearing waters. But, under a little-known subsection known as Schedule Two of the mining effluent regulations, federal bureaucrats can redefine lakes as "tailings impoundment areas."
That means mining companies don't need to build containment ponds for toxic mine tailings.

Catherine Coumans, spokeswoman for the environmental group Mining Watch : "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."

Steve Robertson, exploration manager for Imperial Metals : "This is a project that can bring a lot of good jobs, long-term jobs, well-paying jobs ..."

When was the public review process that okayed subverting the Fisheries Act to allow public lands to be used as toxic dump sites for private interests?

And I'll bet you're not at all surprised to learn that Sacred Headwaters is on that list.

Cross-posted at Creekside

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