With the summer season just weeks away, decisions are being made and consultations are taking place on key water law and policy issues across Canada. This week, Lake Ontario Waterkeeper brings you updates on a few of those issues. For a complete audio tour of these stories, including interviews, commentary and music, we encourage you to listen to our May 28 edition of our weekly radio show - Living At the Barricades.
Canada Marine Act - Bill C-23 Earlier this year, Waterkeeper expressed concerns that the proposed amendments to the Canada Marine Act would further remove federal harbours from public hands and alienate non-commercial harbour users. The House of Commons passed the new legislation on May 6, 2008. It is currently at the Committee stage in the Senate.
Nelson Aggregate Protecting Escarpment Rural Land, Waterkeeper and others have been working with scientists and engineers for several years now to protect rare escarpment habitat and species in the face of a proposed quarry expansion near Burlington. We filed objections to Nelson Aggregate's application in the spring. On May 6, 2008, the Ontario government referred the issues to a â€œconsolidated hearingâ€ so that an independent panel of adjudicators can hear arguments on the aggregate, planning and Niagara Escarpment issues at the same time. The hearing is expected to start in fall 2008, at the earliest.
Port Hope Port Hope, Ontario has been making national and international headlines recently, in light of citizen concerns about uranium in humans and widespread groundwater contamination under the Cameco uranium conversion facility. The Cameco plant was shut down since last summer. At a Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission hearing in May, the company revealed that the underground contamination may be spreading faster than expected and could now be affecting Lake Ontario.
Edwards v. DTE In 2007, Scott Edwards launched a private prosecution against Michigan-based coal plant operator DTE Energy. Edwards' prosecution charges the company with violations of Canada's Fisheries Act, citing mercury contamination of fish and sediment in the St. Clair River. DTE Energy has been summoned to court to respond to the charges and is expected to appear on July 7, 2008.
Lafarge â€œalternative fuelsâ€ appeal Lafarge and the Ministry of the Environment appeared in an Ontario court this spring in an effort to stop the upcoming appeal of the company's licence to burn tires, plastic, bone meal and other waste in its cement kiln near Bath, Ontario. The court has not yet ruled, and the hearing is still scheduled to begin this fall.
Wolfe Island Wind Project Wolfe Island residents concerned about the location of some wind turbines in migratory bird habitat and wetlands appealed the province's approval of the Wolfe Island Wind Project. Waterkeeper requested mediation with the Project's proponent in order to allow the wind power project to proceed while still protecting critical habitat. The Minister's response is still pending. The federal environmental assessment is still in the early stages. Meanwhile, Lafarge has applied for a licence to manufacture the concrete for the wind turbines. Its manufacturing facility on the Island will discharge particulate, nitrogen oxides, sulphur dioxide and carbon monoxide. Public comments on Lafarge's proposal can be submitted now through June 25, 2008.
A Model Act to Preserve Canada's Waters Water diversions are widely regarded as one of the greatest threats to Canada's drinking water supply. The issue made national headlines in May when Waterkeeper founder Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. addressed the issue in a speech at Trent University. Waterkeeper Mark Mattson is part of the Canadian Water Issues Council, which has drafted a model act designed to keep water in its natural basin, while meeting Canada's environmental and trade objectives.
Navigable Waters Protection Act Proposed amendments to one of Canada's oldest Acts could undermine the public's ancient right to access waterways across the country. Waterkeeper submitted a brief the House of Commons Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities. Vice President Krystyn Tully appeared before the committee on May 29, 2008 to describe the importance of navigation to individuals across Canada and in the Lake Ontario watershed. A transcript of this presentation should be available online shortly.
Announcing The 5th Annual Joe Burke Wolfe Island Literary Festival @ The Duck Shed, Brophy's Point. Saturday June 7, 2008. 3pm.
Claudia Dey Joseph Boyden Jennifer Lovegrove Steve Heighton Tannis Rideout Michael Holmes plus music by the Billie Hollies
Hosted by Dave Bidini
Broken Social Scene have designed a special t-shirt for the Yellow Bird Project. This t-shirt, designed by their drummer Justin Peroff, is being sold to raise money and awareness for Lake Ontario Waterkeeper.
*** SPECIAL OFFER: FREE CD!!! ***
Now courtesy of Lake Ontario Waterkeeper, when you order two Broken Social Scene t-shirts (of any size) you will receive a free copy of At the Barricades:Volume 1, a compilation featuring "Until It's Dead" - a new, exclusive track from Broken Social Scene. We will mail it to you free with no additional shipping cost incurred, only while supplied last!