(Ottawa) The Sierra Club of Canada and MiningWatch Canada today congratulated Minister Ralph Goodale on his budget initiatives for the clean up of contaminated sites. The budget sets aside $3.5 billion over the next ten years to effect the cleanup of federally owned toxic sites across Canada, and a further $500 million to address sites of shared responsibility, like the notorious Sydney Tar Ponds.
“This is a good first step towards addressing the problem of contaminated sites in Canada,” said Elizabeth May, Executive Director of the Sierra Club of Canada. “The Federal government has put its money where its mouth is regarding the Sydney Tar Ponds. Now it’s time for the Nova Scotia Government to do the right thing and address this human and environmental tragedy. The clean-up must extend beyond the fence to contaminated residential neighborhoods.”
“We are pleased that abandoned mines in the north such as Giant, Faro and Mount Nansen will now receive the attention that is long overdue, the challenge is to make sure that it doesn’t happen again,” said Joan Kuyek, National Coordinator of MiningWatch Canada.
“We look forward to working with the government to ensure the mechanism that guides the cleanup process is effective, community-based, and efficient,” said Angela Rickman, a campaign advisor to the Sierra Club of Canada. “This will allow the government to move ahead with cleanup of properties in its inventory. We still need a national contaminated sites program, funded by the polluters, to ensure that all contaminated sites are treated equally.”
Canada has over 10,000 contaminated sites, many of which are on federally owned property. However, there are many others, like abandoned mine sites, abandoned manufacturing facilities, and industrial sites which are on provincial or private land. This program will not cover these properties. The groups are calling on the government to create a national fund that will address these sites, funded by fines for polluting industries and bonds posted by industries that are likely to create toxic legacy sites.
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Elizabeth May, Executive Director, Sierra Club of Canada, tel (613) 241-4611
Joan Kuyek, National Coordinator, MiningWatch Canada, tel (613) 569-3439, cell (613) 795-5710