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NEWS: Giles with Penobsquis residents as they raise water concerns

Council of Canadians Atlantic organizer Angela Giles is in Moncton today at a pre-hearing meeting held by the New Brunswick Mining Commissioner to hear complaints from Penobsquis residents against the Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan.

The Saskatoon Star-Phoenix reported last August that, “The New Brunswick Mining Commissioner has been presented with a claim compiled by 26 homeowners in the community of Penobsquis, located a short distance from PotashCorp’s New Brunswick potash division. The homeowners allege land movement, or subsidence, is being caused by the mine and is damaging homes, leading to lost property values, said group spokesperson Beth Nixon. …Under New Brunswick’s Mining Act, complaints against a company must be presented to the provincial mining commissioner and move through a hearing before any legal action is taken.”

“The problems, Nixon explained, started in 2004 when Penobsquis residents started losing water from their wells. Around the same time, PotashCorp confirmed, water started leaking into the mine — a situation referred to as a water inflow. …After about five years of having water delivered to their homes by the province, a new, $9.2 million water system was installed last year to service the homes, with PotashCorp contributing $1.2 million to the project, Nixon said. Several residents paid to have wells dug at the outset of the water problem, she said, and have also experienced significant damage to their homes as a result of ground subsidence they believe has been caused by the water inflow at the mine. The group wants PotashCorp to compensate them for damages and expenses. …Nixon stressed the company’s mine is an important part of the region’s economy and should remain operational. The group only wants PotashCorp to take responsibility for the damage the homeowners believe the corporation caused.”

“(A regional spokesperson for PotashCorp) stressed independent studies conducted for both PotashCorp and the New Brunswick government never found any direct correlation between Penobsquis wells running dry and potash mining operations.”

The Star-Phoenix report is at http://www.thestarphoenix.com/business/People+near+mine+want+compensation+from+PotashCorp/3393648/story.html?cid=megadrop_story.