Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Murdering Lakes For Money

New Canada's New Government, getting things done behind the backs of Canadians. Tip of the hat to Alison at Creekside/Galloping Beaver for spotting this sneaky atrocity.

CBC News has learned that 16 Canadian lakes are slated to be officially but quietly "reclassified" as toxic dump sites for mines. The lakes include prime wilderness fishing lakes from B.C. to Newfoundland.

How is it that I'm not even shocked to find that there would be collusion between industry and government to finagle the means to abandon responsible environmental practices for the sake of the almighty dollar. The very idea of condemning entire lakes as toxic waste sites to avoid the expense of dealing with industrial waste is offensive and vulgar. There must have been some fancy footwork whenever the Fisheries Act was written to accommodate this provision.

Under the Fisheries Act, it's illegal to put harmful substances into fish-bearing waters. But, under a little-known subsection known as Schedule Two of the mining effluent regulations, federal bureaucrats can redefine lakes as "tailings impoundment areas."

Canada's has long been a largely resource based economy. We will continue to base much of our economy in the resource sector but we are no longer ignorant of the consequences of our actions. Current panic about oil prices have underlined the societal trouble of resource scarcity. There is no more vital or valuable resource than water. We can exist without gorging on petroleum based products, our use of that resource could be modified. We cannot exist without water. It is a betrayal of trust for our government, empowered to act as stewards of our nation, our resources and our environment to simply give entire lakes over to private interests as toxic sinks. If mining companies and industrial polluters want to spoil entire landscapes and watersheds they should be required to pay. What is the price of bottled spring water? About a buck and a half a liter. Seems like a fair price to me. How much does the volume of an entire lake cost at those prices?

This all makes me ashamed of my country.

A test case: the Red Chris Mine in northwestern B.C.
Last fall, a Federal Court judge ruled that federal bureaucrats acted illegally in trying to fast-track the Red Chris copper and gold mine without a full and public environmental review.
The decision put the project on hold, but late last week, the Federal Appeals Court reversed the decision, paving the way for federal officials to declare lakes to be dumps without public consultation.
Imperial Metals said in a release Monday that federal authorities "are now authorized to issue regulatory approvals for the Red Chris project to proceed," although the matter could still be appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada.
In the earlier decision, Justice Luc Martineau overturned the decision by federal officials to skip a public review, saying it "has all the characteristics of a capricious and arbitrary decision which was taken for an improper purpose."

Mr Harper and his crooked gang of despoilers had best fire up the smokescreens because the early reaction to this news doesn't bode well. Comments on the CBC site are many and furious. This cuts across ideological lines, Canadians are enormously proud of our country's natural splendour. The wholesale giveaway of entire lakes as toxic dump sites will not go without protest. The utter and shameful disregard for the people and fauna that rely on these waters is criminal.


rgraham666 said...

Sigh. I long for the days when I could be surprised by human cupidity and short sightedness.

liberal supporter said...

If mining companies and industrial polluters want to spoil entire landscapes and watersheds they should be required to pay. What is the price of bottled spring water? About a buck and a half a liter. Seems like a fair price to me.
That seems a little high, but it is a good starting point. There must be some price at which an alternative kicks in. What do they do with mines that are not near lakes? What are the alternatives?

Peter Dodson said...

The only alternative I know of is not too mine anything until you know how to deal with the runoff and tailings in a sustainable and non-destructive, non-polluting manner.

CC said...

Is it even worth asking whether a single Blogging Tory will be outraged by this latest development?

No, really ... let's check in on the BTs every so often and see if any of them stray off the reservation (so to speak).

ThinkingManNeil said...

The Harperites are cut from the same rotten, moneygrubbing, neocon cloth as those bastards in Washington, D.C.
Both Stephen Harper and John Baird are bald-faced liars when it comes to caring for Canada, it's environment, and it's citizens. If the past seven years of the Bush Reich - and the past two of the Bush/Harper puppet regime - have proven anything it's that neoconservatism and hyper-capitalism have been completely repudiated and invalidated, and that more progressive, humane, and sane policies are the only viable ones. Harper and his gang of fascist thugs need to be rounded up and treated like the criminals they are for colluding with one of the most despicable regimes this world has seen.


D. Sidhe said...

Actually, I'd charge them more. Pollution ruins any water coming into the lake for the foreseeable future as well, water that could be clean and drinkable. A buck and a half is a good place to start for today. What about the renewed resource of potable water after the next rain or snowmelt? And what about the now polluted outlet streams from the lake? And groundwater contamination?

Frank Frink said...

CPoC to Canada's First Nations:

Sorry about that little school thingee. Realllllly, we are. Now back to bidness. Sacred headwaters? What sacred headwaters?

toujoursdan said...

The Harper supporters on the CBC site are amazing. One says that mining tailings are merely "stuff" that is taken apart faster than normal, so it's safe to put in lakes because it's natural. The other response is "...but the Liberals would do it too..."

I guess if you can reject the biology and genetics involved with evolution and the physics involved with global warming, rejecting how chemistry works comes next.