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PEI chapter opposes AquaBounty deep water well application

The Council of Canadians PEI chapter opposes the PEI government approving a deep water well application in Rollo Bay.

This afternoon, CBC reports, “The provincial Department of Environment has approved an application by AquaBounty Canada to repurpose Snow Island’s Atlantic Sea Smolt plant in Rollo Bay West.”

The article explains, “The company has received approval to sell the genetically modified salmon as food in both the U.S. and in Canada. Earlier this year, AquaBounty Canada — which produces the genetically modified salmon eggs in its Bay Fortune, P.E.I., plant — applied to expand operations to another plant in Rollo Bay West. AquaBounty would use the new location to raise up to 13,000 conventional adult salmon to provide eggs that would be transferred to its plant in Bay Fortune, however the company says no GMO activities will take place at the Rollo Bay facility and that the salmon and associated eggs there would not be GMO. …The company says eggs transported between the facilities will be unfertilized, and shipped in rugged, sealed containers.”

CBC then notes, “The province has given the company a ground water extraction permit allowing an average pumping rate of no more than 1,375 imperial gallons per minute, in total over a month. Another condition requires the company to discharge between 80 and 120 gallons of water per minute upstream of the facility to ensure there is enough water in the stream year round. The company also has to provide monthly effluent samples and samples from its groundwater wells for testing for the first two years. According to the company’s environmental impact statement, effluent will be screened as it leaves the facility before entering a settling pond, where it is screened again before being discharged into a stream on the property.”

The article highlights, “The Council of Canadians has written to the Department of Environment to register its objection. Spokesman Leo Broderick says the group is concerned about the amount of water that will be extracted, about effluent going into the stream and about the transport of eggs between facilities.”

That letter argues, “We have monitored the Aqua Bounty site at Bay Fortune for many years and have found a tremendous abuse of our ground water. That site unleashes millions of liters of water a day into a nearby ditch – 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Often we find great deposits of waste from the GM salmon factory deposited in the ditch. This waste water flows into nearby Bay Fortune. …[This water extraction] will have a significant impact on present water table levels in the area. Neighbours access to drinking water will be affected. We find this aspect of the request deplorable and unacceptable.”

In an associated media release, Broderick says, “The PEI Government should never have approved this application. The proposal from Aquabounty is an environmental disaster for the people and environment of Rollo Bay West.”

To read the full letter and media release, please click here.

Work on the Rollo Bay facility is expected to begin this summer.

For numerous blogs on the AquaBounty issue, click here.