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Sandy Pond Alliance appeals Federal Court ruling on Fisheries Act

The St. John’s Telegram reports, “The Sandy Pond Alliance to Protect Canadian Waters is appealing a Federal Court decision on their legal case — (in) an attempt to strengthen environmental defences in federal Fisheries Act regulations. The citizens’ group announced (their) decision at a news conference this morning in St. John’s.“

“In final arguments in Federal Court in late February, (Sandy Pond Alliance lawyer Owen) Myers said changes to the federal Fisheries Act in 2002 — specifically the addition of Metal Mining Effluent Regulations allowing (the dumping of mine waste into) a pond or lake as a tailings impoundment — were not in line with existing statutes and the very purpose of the act.” In short, because the Fisheries Act says it is against the law to harm fish-bearing waters, the amendment should not be allowed to violate the act itself. However, “Justice Elizabeth Heneghan (ruled earlier this month that) the Alliance was mistaken in its belief that conservation is the paramount purpose of the Act.”

The article explains that unfortunately, “Sandy Pond is no longer a pond. While the three-year case of the Sandy Pond Alliance was heard and decided, the 38-hectare body of water was drained and transformed into a tailings impoundment for Vale’s nickel-copper-cobalt processing plant in Long Harbour.”

VOCM adds, “The Alliance says what shocks them the most is that a subsection of the Fisheries Act ‘allows the minister to authorize the alteration, disruption or destruction of fish habitat under any conditions he deems appropriate’.”

The appeal will be filed by the end of the month, within the thirty day deadline after the ruling.

Further reading
Federal Court rules in favour of destruction of Sandy Pond
Council of Canadians in Federal Court today to protect freshwater lakes