(Sussex, NB) On Monday, March 14th, 26 residents of Penobsquis begin a two-week battle to prove Potash Corporation stole their water and ruined their lives.
Shortly after water began flooding the potash mine and PotashCorp and Corridor Resources completed rounds of seismic testing, about 60 homes in the area lost their drinking water supply. For five years, from 2004 to 2009, people in the community were supplied with water while they fought and waited for a new community water system.
Affected members of the community believe that it is ultimately the inflow of 1,300 gallons of water per minute into the Potash mine, and its subsequent removal by pipeline and trucking, that has resulted in the loss of their well water; the subsidence (the sinking of land and buildings) that is now affecting their homes; and the stress and grief they endure every day.
In true David versus Goliath fashion, the citizens will attempt to prove PotashCorp’s responsibility and seek damages for water loss, property subsidence, suffering as a result of dust, noise and light pollution, lost property values, and stress. Potash Corp continues to deny any responsibility, their lawyer challenging the group of citizens to “prove it”, at the recent prehearing in November.
“This is a tragic situation,” says Stephanie Merrill, CCNB’s Freshwater Protection Coordinator. “These residents of Penobsquis are just trying to live their lives and are now forced to pay the burden and the cost of proving a large powerful corporation has taken away their water, ruined their properties and their quality of life. The cards are stacked against them and our government has not required the company to take any responsibility”, says Merrill.
CCNB supports them, and their battle, as do many other community organizations in New Brunswick, the Atlantic Region and across Canada.
Ramsey Hart, Canada Program Coordinator at MiningWatch Canada, based in Ottawa, commends and supports the citizens of Penobsquis in their fight against PotashCorp. "The company, which is making huge profits off of public resources, must be held accountable for the social, economic and ecological impacts of its operation," says Hart.
The Hearing starts today, Monday March 14th, and will take place the weeks of March 14 and March 28th, beginning 9am daily at the All Seasons Inn, Sussex.
The Concerned Citizens of Penobsquis are supported by:
Belledune Citizens Committee; Campaign for Pesticide Reduction; Conservation Council of New Brunswick; Falls Brook Centre; Friends of Mount Carleton Provincial Park; Grand Lake Watershed Guardians; MiningWatch Canada; PANE – for a new perspective on energy; Quality of Life Initiative; Saint John Chapter, Council of Canadians; Sierra Club Canada – Atlantic Canada Chapter; Students for Sustainability; Sustainable Energy Group (SEG) in Woodstock.
Stephanie Merrill, Freshwater Protection Coordinator, CCNB: (506) 458-8747 or (506) 261-8317
Ramsey Hart, Canada Program Coordinator, MiningWatch Canada: (613) 614-9937 or (613) 569-3439
Herman Hawthorne, Spokesperson, Concerned Citizens of Penobsquis: (506) 433-3049