Friday, January 20, 2006

3 Shockers Knocked me Off my Feet

I heard and/or read three very shocking things yesterday. Maybe not so to everyone but, to me, I was taken so far aback that it was the holidays again.

First, I was on the bus traveling to the Rogers Television debate/forum (by the way, It was pouring out this morning... just in case I looked a little wet on TV) that they had set up and I while riding I read The Telegram. In there, I leart that our Government is NOT supporting the wind farm in Labrador, as of now. They say they have their own energy plan and is not sure how this development will fit in.

This blew me away. How is there any hesitation on this project? 2000 construction jobs. 200 sustaining jobs in an industry that is ever lasting. That is, of course, if global warming doesn't progress to the point where there is no wind on earth (which, by the way, I'm only stressing a point. I have NO idea if the global warming crises will stop wind from happening). Is this province going backwards?

THEN, while taping the Rogers cable thing-a-ma-bob, our NDP candidate here in St. John's East, Mike Kehoe (an incredibly nice man. I can't say enough about him) said "We should exploit our resources for all they're worth".

I was shocked. I really was. I thought the NDP were somewhat in tune with Green Party values but, this is clearly not the way I would ever think, let alone say on TV to a public that is about to vote for you... that is unless the public also wishes to "exploit our resources".

That still shocks me to type/read/see/hear/dream about tonight.

Later that night, Mike and I had a very intimate discussion with a group of Political Science students. This was my favorite gathering to date, by the way. It was a discussion, not a debate. Mike and I got along very well (even after hearing the E word... about our resources) and the students were quite interested.

Anyway, to progress to the next shocker, after the discussion was over, I was approached by a couple of students who were quite interested in our values. One of whom, was Tracy.

Tracy is a very Green young lady who has a deep concern for our environment. She's a member of MUN Project Green and a coalition called Trout Pond Action Group. The reason why their coalition was formed was what blew me away...

... I can't talk about it anymore. It makes me upset. Read this article.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

New Mine Poses Contamination Risk of the Exploits River

January 16, 2006

St . John's - A proposed mining project at Trout Pond near the Exploits River poses severe risks for residents and industries located in that area, warns a local coalition of citizens and environmental groups. The chief concern is the proposed mining operations would unnecessarily set a national precedent by dumping toxic mine tailings into Trout Pond, a water body frequented by salmon, trout, and waterfowl.

The proposed Duck Pond mining project is slated to be opened by AUR Resources early this year. According to the Environmental Impact Statement approved by the provincial government, Trout Pond will be used as a tailings dump for the mine's waste. The proposal requires federal approval - an amendment to regulations under the Fisheries Act, prohibiting the use of live ponds as tailings impoundments.

Trout Pond Mine to set National Precedent for Toxic Dumping

"DFO plans to amend regulations under the Fisheries Act to allow destruction of fish habitat," said Chad Griffiths, spokesperson for the Trout Pond Action Group. "This will set a national precedent, turning lakes across Canada into dumps." He added, "Mining companies across Canada are lining up to destroy our waters and natural heritage, but Newfoundlanders have the chance to stop them."

Contamination could be severe in this large ecosystem - an aquatic habitat, about the size of Quidi Vidi Lake. "Risking the contamination of the Exploits River watershed is unacceptable," said Griffiths, pointing out that it is one of the most important recreational fishery destinations in the province. The environmental impact of this project will be severe, even if accidental contamination is prevented.

No environmental compensation plan exists. The Environmental Impact Statement claims the impact of this project will be minimal, but relies on an environmental compensation agreement, yet to be seen by the public, leaving no manner of public accountability to assess the overall environmental impact.

There has not been adequate public consultation. The public consultations regarding this project occurred several years ago and reached few people. They were conducted before mining regulations and standards were amended in 2002. Many affected parties (residents, recreational fishermen, tourism industry workers, aboriginal groups etc.) have yet to be informed about the potential environmental impact of this project.

"There are better options," said Griffiths. "Artificial impoundments are the norm now. Not ruining a live body of water". Seven mining projects across await this upcoming proposed amendment that, industry experts predict, will likely give them and future mines the legal right to pollute live ponds and lakes with tailings.

"It is vital to Newfoundland and Canada that actions be taken to ensure AUR Resource develops a more environmentally sustainable alternative which does not involve dumping mine wastes in Trout Pond," said Griffiths. "We can't afford to ignore the impact of this project until the damage has been done."

-30-

Released by the Trout Pond Action Group, a network of concerned individuals and environmental groups from all over the province including Sierra Club of Canada (Northeast Avalon Group), Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (Newfoundland and Labrador Chapter), MUN Project Green, Protected Areas Association, Humber Natural History Society, Natural History Society of Newfoundland and Labrador, Society for Corporate Environmental and Social Responsibility and Responsible Consumers NL.

For more information please contact:

Chad Griffiths, Spokesperson, chadgriffiths@mail.com, 709-691-1985
Stephen Mayor, Trout Pond Action Group, smayor@mun.ca, 709-579-4378
Jason Noble, Trout Pond Action Group, jdknoble@yahoo.com, 709-738-3879

For background on the Metal Mining Effluent Regulations under the
Fisheries Act, or the Duck Pond Project:
http://www.cen-rce.org/eng/caucuses/mining/index.html#activities

CESR -Society for Corporate Environmental and Social Responsibility Memorial University of Newfoundland Chapter
Website: http://www.ucs.mun.ca/~cesr/index.asp
Email: cesr@mun.ca

So, that confirms it, we are moving backwards in this province if people are actually talking about going ahead with this. Not only that, they're trying to change regulations that was put in place to prevent this from happening. What is wrong with this picture?

A LOT! I gotta go lay down.

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3 comments:

Heather Patey said...

Thanks for posting this last item, Stephen. I heard something about it on the Morning Show today, through the brain fog, but I couldn't find it on cbc.ca, either local or national. I did, however, hear them say something like "we'll just move the fish to another pond". Right.

By the way, your new design hurts my brain. Sorry.

Stephen Eli Harris said...

No need to apologize. What is it about it that hurts? The colors? Text? I'm moving the blog to nlgreenparty.blogspot.com after the election and I can fix these things when I do.

Move the fish to another pond? Sheesh, as if just the fish we're worried about. It's the habitant, the water, the land around the water. It's everything about it.

Stephen
http://newfoundlandgreenparty.blogspot.com

Spindrift said...

Hi, I was just wandering the blogosphere and here I am at your blog. I enjoy the style of how this all works.

This is one to watch.

Cheers,

binoculars, birdwatching