Sandy Pond Alliance Launches Legal Challenge

A group of determined Newfoundlanders has set about to challenge the legal mechanism that makes it possible for federal authorities to re-classify pristine fish-bearing lakes, streams, and wetlands into mine waste dumps on request from mining companies. Once reclassified, the former natural water bodies no longer enjoy the protections of the Fisheries Act. The enabling regulation is Schedule 2 of the Fisheries Act’s Metal Mining Effluent Regulations.

In June the Sandy Pond Alliance launched a federal court challenge claiming that the destruction of entire aquatic ecosystems that support diverse fish and other wildlife goes against the intent of the Fisheries Act to protect fish and fish habitat. The challenge was launched in an effort to save Sandy Pond, a productive brook trout lake that Vale plans to use as a waste dump for tailings from its nickel processing plant at Long Harbour.

The Alliance’s first days in court in September were spent arguing over whether Vale and the Mining Association of Canada should be granted intervener status. A decision has yet to be made on this point and actual arguments about the case have yet to be heard.

You can reach them at:

Sandy Pond Alliance
c/o Sierra Club Canada
P.O. Box 1501
354 Water Street St.
St. John’s, NF A1C 5N6

or via e-mail: savesandypond(at)