Ottawa – NDP Fisheries and Oceans Critic Peter Stoffer (Sackville-Eastern Shore) today called on Fisheries Minister Loyola Hearn to disallow mining companies the use of lakes as dump sites for toxic mining waste.
“It is quite shocking that in 2006 our federal government would allow healthy lakes to be used as dumping grounds,” said Stoffer. “With the stroke of a pen, they have given two healthy lakes in Newfoundland a death sentence. Both of these lakes are habitat for otter, trout, Atlantic salmon, and other aquatic species. Many more lakes will be sacrificed if the government does not amend their regulations immediately.”
Two lakes in Newfoundland (Trout Pond, and an unnamed lake) are destined for destruction as a result of being placed on Schedule 2 of the Metal Mining Effluent Regulations (MMERs), under the Fisheries Act, which re-defines lakes as mine waste impoundments.
This will be the first time that healthy fish bearing lakes will have been destined for destruction as a result of being placed on Schedule 2. At least nine other healthy Canadian lakes are currently under consideration for destruction by mine waste.
“Schedule 2 of the MMERs amounts to another huge public subsidy for the mining industry,” said Catherine Coumans, Research Coordinator of MiningWatch Canada. “It is really quite amazing that the mining industry alone gets its very own schedule under the Fisheries Act that allows it to poison healthy lakes. We are now subsidizing this industry with Canadian lakes, our common heritage and that of future Canadians.”
Lorraine Michael, NDP Leader for Newfoundland and Labrador, is also very concerned that the provincial government will permit Aur Resources to dump toxic tailings into Trout Pond now that the federal MMERs have been amended.
“They seem willing to issue permits to destroy the ponds without any further investigation. If the mine waste leaks out, it will pollute the largest river system on the island, known for its salmon runs.”
“I implore Minister Hearn to put a stop to this practice now,” said Stoffer. “He should also check the wording of the Fisheries Act. Allowing mining waste to be released into lakes clearly violates Section 36(3) of the Fisheries Act which prohibits the deposit of deleterious (toxic or harmful) substances into fish-frequented waters.”
For more information, please contact the Office of Peter Stoffer, MP at (613) 995-5822 or (902) 861-2311.