FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Lawsuit Exposes Canada's
Toxic Tailings Secret
Groups say feds flouting law,
hiding mining pollution from public
TORONTO, November 7 – Litigation was launched
today against Canada’s Minister of Environment to ensure that the
hundreds of millions of kilograms of toxic mining waste being kept secret from
the Canadian public are reported.
Ecojustice filed the lawsuit, an Application for
Judicial Review, in Federal Court today on behalf of MiningWatch Canada and
Great Lakes United. It alleges that the Minister broke the law when he directed
mining companies to ignore their legal responsibility to report millions of
kilograms of pollution from their operations under the National Pollutant
Release Inventory (NPRI).
“The law is clear: Mining companies in Canada are
legally required to report the amount of chemicals they are releasing into the
environment,” said Justin Duncan, Staff Lawyer with Ecojustice.
“Instead, at the direction of the Minister of Environment, these
companies continue to flout the law by not reporting massive amounts of toxic
tailings they dump into our environment each year.”
In stark contrast, the U.S. government has required mining
companies to report the amounts of pollutants generated by their operations
under the U.S. Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) since 1998. Despite the fact that
the US mining industry composes only 72 of the 23,566 total TRI-reporting
industrial facilities, in 2005 the mines released more than 530 million
kilograms of pollutants – accounting for 27% of all pollutants reported
across the U.S. Mine tailings and waste rock – the data being withheld
from the Canadian public – accounted for more than 97% of the total
pollutants reported by the mining industry.
“Given the enormous amounts of carcinogens and
heavy metals like lead and mercury in U.S.
mine tailings, it is absurd that Canadian mines are being let off the
hook,” said Joan Kuyek from MiningWatch Canada. “From Smithers to
Voisey’s Bay, Canadians have a right to know what - and how much -
pollution the mining industry is releasing into our air, water, and
The 80 metal mining facilities that reported to the NPRI in 2006 were from:
Ontario(33), Quebec(19), BC(9), Manitoba(6), Saskatchewan(6), Newfoundland(3),
New Brunswick(2), Nunavut(2).
“Two weeks ago the Minister of the Environment
stood on the shore
of Lake Superior with the
Prime Minster as they announced the creation of the world’s largest
freshwater marine park,” said John Jackson of Great Lakes United.
“At the same time he protects the mining industry by hiding the toxic
pollution that could spoil this ecosystem for generations.”
For further information please contact:
John Jackson, Great Lakes United, (519)
Joan Kuyek, National Coordinator, MiningWatch Canada (613) 569-3439
Justin Duncan, Staff Lawyer, Ecojustice (416) 368-7533 ext.22
firstname.lastname@example.org | www.glu.org
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