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MiningWatch wins Federal Court ruling on mine waste

We want to extend congratulations to our friends at MiningWatch Canada, who we have been working with on Sandy Pond and the broader ‘tailings impoundment area’ issue.

Their April 24 media release notes that, “MiningWatch Canada and Ecojustice are hailing a landmark decision from the Federal Court of Canada released late yesterday that will force the federal government to stop withholding data on one of Canada’s largest sources of pollution – millions of tonnes of toxic mine tailings and waste rock from mining operations throughout the country. The Federal Court sided with the groups and issued an Order demanding that the federal government immediately begin publicly reporting mining pollution data from 2006 onward to the National Pollutant Release Inventory.”

CBC reports that, “The Harper government must report in a national public database all the pollution being produced by mining companies, a Federal Court judge ruled Thursday. The National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI), created in 1993, details all the industrial and commercial pollutants released into the air, water and land in Canada. Since 2006, NPRI has also required that all pollutants released during mining activities must be reported. Some of the waste found in tailings and waste rock — including mercury, sulphuric acid and arsenic — is deemed toxic by law and must be reported in the NPRI. But due to the government’s interpretation of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA), the NPRI has not included the pollutants present in the tailings and waste rock produced during the extraction of ore.”

“Environment Minister Jim Prentice said the government will comply with the court’s ruling…Prentice and a consortium of mining companies had fought against publishing the information in the NPRI, but conceded that the public should know which chemicals are present in waste rock and tailings.”

The CBC article is at http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2009/04/24/court-mining-pollution865.html

The MiningWatch media release is at http://www.miningwatch.ca/index.php?/npri/NPRI_victory_federal_court