Penobsquis Denied Data, Hearing Resumes

(Sussex, NB) The Concerned Citizens of Penobsquis resume their hearing with the Mining Commissioner today in the absence of monitoring data they requested through the Right to Information Act. The request was denied by the provincial government due to a contractual agreement between PotashCorp and the Department of Natural Resources.

Today, 26 residents of the community of Penobsquis begin trying to prove that PotashCorp is responsible for the loss of 60 water wells; land subsidence (the sinking of land) that is now affecting their homes; dust, noise and light pollution; loss property values and the stress and grief they endure every day.

They will have to do this without data that PotashCorp has collected over the course of the lifetime of the Penobsquis Potash Mine. Included in the data requested by the group, and denied by the government, are the specific measurements of land subsidence and displacement at PotashCorp’s monitoring devices around the community. This information could prove that the company is responsible for the damage caused to water, homes and land.

Beth Nixon, spokesperson for the Concerned Citizens of Penobsquis is extremely disappointed in the government’s decision to hold back this information. “Residents of Penobsquis and of New Brunswick deserve better. We deserve a government that looks out for our interests, that protects our assets, our communities, and our environments, Nixon says. “Instead, the burden of proof, and the costs to prove anything, rests on us”, she continues.

Stephanie Merrill, CCNB Action’s Freshwater Protection Coordinator, is leading the organization’s Shale Gas Alert Campaign. She says that the outcome of Penobsquis’ Hearing with the Mining Commissioner is extremely important to the rest of New Brusnwickers.

“Communities throughout the province are watching. Will the government stand up for the people they represent? Or will they back industry no matter what the cost to regular every day New Brunswickers?” she asks. “More and more communities are slated for mining projects, particularly exploration for shale gas. If the government is not willing to hold industry accountable here, we can all expect the same treatment if issues arise from the shale gas industry”, Merrill adds.

CCNB Action and other supporters from across the province will be rallying in support of Penobsquis and for the future of our water, air and communities, during the first day of the Hearing:

12:00pm in front of the All Seasons Inn, Main St. Sussex
2:30 pm in front of the Amsterdam Inn, Main St. Sussex


Media Contacts:
Beth Nixon, Spokesperson, Concerned Citizens of Penobsquis: 506.435.4550
Herman Hawthorne, Spokesperson, Concerned Citizens of Penobsquis: 506.433.3049
Stephanie Merrill, Freshwater Protection Program Coordinator, CCNB Action: 506.261.8317