Sandy Pond- Coalition takes federal government to court to protect lakes

  • Published on Jun 04 2010 |
  • This article is tagged as: marine

St. John's - The Sandy Pond Alliance, a coalition including the Council of Canadians, Mining Watch, the Newfoundland and Labrador Natural History Society, Sierra Club Atlantic, along with scientists and activists in Newfoundland launched a legal challenge against the federal government today for allowing the dumping of mining waste into Canadian lakes and rivers. The announcement was made at press conferences held in St. John's Newfoundland and Ottawa this morning.

The Sandy Pond Alliance will argue in the Federal Court of Canada that a loophole in the Fisheries Act that has led to metal mining companies seeking permission to dump toxic waste into lakes since 2006 should be deemed illegal.

"We will argue that this regulation violates federal law, " says Newfoundland-based lawyer, Owen Myers. "The principal function of the Fisheries Act is the conservation of fish and aquatic ecosystems. The challenged regulations essentially amend the Act by regulation which is unlawful."

While the coalition emerged out of efforts to protect Sandy Pond, a lake near Long Harbour, Newfoundland, the issue is of national significance. "We started this campaign in Newfoundland to protect all lakes being threatened under this loophole in the Fisheries Act," says Bill Montevecchi, University Research Professor, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

Among the threatened lakes are Fish Lake in British Columbia, in the heart of Tsilhqot'in territory, and Bamoos Lake, just off the northern shore of Lake Superior near Marathon, Ontario.

"We are not opposed to mining, but allowing the destruction of healthy bodies of water is unconscionable," says Ken Kavanagh Council of Canadians chapter chair for St. John's and Director of the Sandy Pond Alliance.

The case is expected to be heard in St. John's Newfoundland and Labrador in the Fall.

  • For More Information:
  • Dylan Penner, Media Officer, Council of Canadians,
  • 613-795-8685
  • Ken Kavanagh: 709-726-2090, 709-488-2221

Click here for a fact sheet about the destruction of our lakes and ponds