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LETTER: St. John’s chapter activist challenges Vale executive over Sandy Pond

Ken Kavanagh. Photo by The Telegram.

Council of Canadians St. John’s chapter chair Ken Kavanagh challenges a Vale corporate affairs manager in a letter to the editor published in today’s Telegram.

His letter in full states:

I am responding to a letter by Bob Carter of Vale who claimed to be responding to a letter signed by myself and Maude Barlow, dated March 26.

Mr. Carter accuses Ms. Barlow and me of incorrect assertions and with ignorance and misrepresentation of facts.

He is attempting a typical strategy of discrediting the messenger(s) and diverting attention from the real issue. It is Mr. Carter who is “conveniently ignoring” the fact that Vale intentionally did proceed with an action knowing the court could invalidate the permission to do so.

Ms. Barlow and I did not assert that Vale’s disrespect for the law and due process was with respect to the legal (yet deeply flawed) environmental review process. Our accusation was about the recent legal challenge of Schedule II.

Furthermore, our letter did reference the environmental assessment process and that Sandy Pond was reclassified under that process in 2009. Mr. Carter should cease misrepresenting what we really said.
Instead of responding to his own fabricated questions, I challenge him to respond to these very clear and pointed questions.

While seeking intervener status in the legal challenge, did Vale initially assert that a successful ruling would not have any impact on its permit to destroy Sandy Pond? In granting the intervener status, did the court not refute this and state that the hearing’s judge could rule in favour of the applicant with “retroactive effect?”

In the midst of a protracted legal process and with the knowledge of a potential invalidation of Schedule II, did Vale not deforest the area, remove the fish and generally do irreversible and irreparable damage to Sandy Pond?

These are very direct and clear questions for Mr. Carter.

His responses can be very short and simple. Yes, yes, and yes.

In March 2010, the Council of Canadians joined with the Sandy Pond Alliance for the Protection of Canadian Waters to launch a Federal Court challenge against the federal Schedule 2 provision that allows mining companies to dump their tailings waste into freshwater lakes. The challenge was intended to save both Sandy Pond in Newfoundland and other lakes threatened by Schedule 2 across the country. The Brazilian mining corporation Vale and the Mining Association of Canada made efforts to delay the Federal Court hearing so much so that the case was only heard in late-February 2013. While our challenge was being delayed, Vale removed about 1400 fish from the lake in July-September 2011 and June 2012. According to a news report, they also constructed three dams and installed liners on the bottom of the now-drained lake.

For more, please read:
PHOTO: This is what Schedule 2 looks like
NEWS: Barlow at Federal Court hearing to defend lakes today
NEWS: Vale wants Schedule 2 challenge heard in Ontario
NEWS: Export Development loans $250 million to Vale for Sandy Pond plant
NEWS: The Council opposes Schedule 2 in BC and Newfoundland

Photo: Ken Kavanagh. Photo by The Telegram.