Skip to content

NEWS: The Schedule 2 campaign and the United States

Toronto Star national affairs reporter Linda Diebel writes that “in June, 2007, (Sarah) Palin was governor of Alaska” and backed “the Kensington gold mine owned by Coeur Alaska” that wanted to dump its waste into “southeastern Alaska’s Lower Slate Lake” and as a result kill “about a thousand” Dolly Varden carp.

“Before long, Alaska’s doomed carp were before the U.S. Supreme Court, after a lower court ruled that dumping mine waste in the lake violated the Clean Water Act. …Environmentalists urged the Supreme Court not to follow Canada’s example (of the Schedule 2 exemption, which was made in 2002). …(But) in June 2010, the Supreme Court ruled in favour of Kensington in a 6-3 decision, and soon thereafter, the mine opened.”
In the United States, there is still some cautious optimism that “the Obama administration will reverse the regulation” which changed “the definition of ‘fill’ under the Clean Water Act to include waste…”

There is less optimism about the Harper government. “Pushed (by the Council of Canadians and MiningWatch) at a public forum to close the loophole in 2008, then environment minister John Baird replied: ‘I’m not going to propose to change something I know we’re not going to change.'”

In Canada, the government “rewrote the Fisheries Act to, in essence, allow lakes to be reclassified as tailings impoundment areas.” The Fisheries Act website even says, “Natural lakes can provide a long-term, stable environment for storing mine waste. They have a small risk of failure when compared to artificial impoundment areas if no dams are required.”

“A Sandy Pond environmental coalition (that includes the Council of Canadians) has challenged the legality of the Fisheries Act ‘loophole’ in federal court, and awaits a verdict.”

“Gordon Peeling, chief executive of the Mining Association of Canada, says his association has sought intervenor status in the Sandy Pond case because there are potentially ‘serious implications’ for his membership.”

“Officials with the Canadian organization and its sister in the U.S., the National Mining Association, claim their lobbying campaigns were spontaneous and independent, with no consultation.”

The full article is at http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/article/869640–sarah-palin-s-defence-of-alaskan-mine-threatens-canadian-fish.