(June 25, 2008 - Toronto) - More than four years after citizens first documented PCBs leaking into the St. Lawrence River in Montreal, the Commission for Environmental Cooperation released a 327-page report documenting Canada's failure to enforce federal environmental laws.
The Factual Record focuses on widespread contamination at the Montreal Technoparc site and the government's knowledge that toxins such as PCBs leak continuously into the St. Lawrence River. Samples collected by Waterkeeper Mark Mattson in 2002 showed PCB concentrations nearly nine-million times greater than levels considered threatening to human and aquatic life. PCBs are one of the most feared chemicals in the world.
"The Commission's investigation reveals willful blindness on the part of the federal government, inconsistent enforcement and apathy in the face of shocking levels of pollution," says Mark Mattson, President & Waterkeeper with Lake Ontario Waterkeeper.
Mattson and Montreal-based environmental activist Daniel Green collected samples at the Technoparc site. They gave their investigation to Environment Canada in 2003, but the federal government closed the investigation and PCBs continued to pour in the St. Lawrence River.
In 2003, Lake Ontario Waterkeeper, Waterkeeper Alliance, Upper St. Lawrence Riverkeeper and local activist Daniel Green jointly filed a citizen submission with the Commission for Environmental Cooperation. The Commission is a formal oversight body created under the North American Free Trade Agreement to monitor environmental enforcement in North America. The Commission rejected Environment Canada's defenses and ordered that a factual record be prepared back in 2004.
"This factual record definitively establishes a fundamental breakdown in enforcement and environmental protection on so many levels. Our hope is that it will provide the impetus for the Canadian government to finally act," stated Waterkeeper Alliance Legal Director Scott Edwards. "The St. Lawrence and the people who use this waterway have been paying the price of the governmentÃs blatant disregard their safety for far too long."
CONTACT: Mark Mattson: 416-861-1237 Scott Edwards: 914-674-0622, x 13