Action Alert: Lakes across Canada being turned into mine dump sites!

June 18, 2008

Earlier yesterday I posted an Action Alert about a proposed radioactive waste dump in the Great Lakes. Then last night while watching The National on CBC, I saw the news that lakes across Canada face being turned into mine dump sites. “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.”

Can you believe this?? First our Great Lakes are being turned into dump sites for radioactive waste, then our smaller lakes across the country face being dumping sites for mines!

Have we Canadians become such apathetic sheeple that our governments figure we won’t care if they allow our precious water — our life blood, necessary for our survival and our land which grows the food to feed us — to be used as industrial waste dumps? All to profit themselves and their mining corporation lobbyist friends? In the words of Chad Griffiths, a local environmentalist who attended the Long Harbour meeting: “It’s a trend. It’s an open season on Canadian water”.

Canadians must NOT stay silent about the further poisoning of our dwindling fresh water!! People, wake up!!! Let the politicians know that this is unacceptable!!! What will it take to make you shout out your anger? What will it take to wake you up? Will you wait until there’s not a drop of drinkable water left or an acre of un-poisoned, arable land remaining? Will you wait until then???

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.”

That means mining companies don’t need to build containment ponds for toxic mine tailings.

CBC News visited two examples of Schedule Two lakes. In Newfoundland and Labrador, the Vale Inco company wants to use a prime destination for fishermen known as Sandy Pond to hold tailings from a nickel processing plant.

In northern B.C., Imperial Metals plans to enclose a remote watershed valley to hold tailings from a gold and copper mine. The valley lies in what the native Tahltan people call the “Sacred Headwaters” of three major salmon rivers. It also serves as spawning grounds for the rainbow trout of Kluela Lake, which is downstream from the dump site.
[…]

Read more about this on CBC.ca.

I am angry beyond words…


Please sign petition against proposed Lake Huron nuke dump!

June 16, 2008

Progress Michigan has launched an online petition against a proposed nuclear dump 1/2 mile from Lake Huron in Canada and a massive oil refinery in Sarnia. Unfortunately, at first, Canadians couldn’t sign the petition. It wouldn’t take the Canadian zip codes. That is all fixed, now and Canadians can sign on!

The nuclear dump will take waste from 20 Canadian reactors and have to store it and isolate it from the environment for hundreds of years. Lake Huron is a drinking water source for millions of people in Michigan.

Citizens for Alternatives to Chemical Contamination, (along with many other Great Lakes environmental groups,) has been leading the charge against this proposal. The petition will grow the list of supporters standing with them against these risky projects.

You can sign the petition at: www.greatlakesnotadump.com. Please pass the link on to friends and neighbours.


Action Alert: Please sign onto “No Radioactive Waste Dump in Heart of Great Lakes”

June 16, 2008
Action Alert
Please circulate the following sign-on statement to your email lists. To sign on, simply send an email to kevin@beyondnuclear.org with your name, title, organization, and full contact information. Individuals are also welcome to sign. Please sign on by noon on Wednesday, June 18th so that we can submit our group comment to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency by the official deadline later that day.
If you’d like to submit additional comments, email them to DGR.Review@ceaa-acee.gc.ca no later than Wednesday, June 18th.
See http://www.acee-ceaa.gc.ca/050/DocHTMLContainer_e.cfm?DocumentID=26204 for additional information.
Thanks!
—Kevin Kamps, Great Lakes United Nuclear-Free/Green Energy Task Force
cell 240-462-3216, kevin@beyondnuclear.org
No Radioactive Waste Dump
in the Heart of the Great Lakes!
The proposal to build a deep underground dump (DUD) for radioactive wastes on the shoreline of the Great Lakes is unacceptable.  Water is the most likely dispersal medium for toxic materials in general, and for radioactive wastes in particular.
Nevertheless, that’s what is being considered at the Bruce nuclear complex on the Canadian side of Lake Huron.  The DUD would be located just over one kilometre (less than one mile) from the Lake, and would house all of the radioactive wastes from 20 commercial nuclear power reactors in Ontario – with the exception of the irradiated nuclear fuel.
It was recently reported that the Canadian Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) wants to manage the DUD project.  But the NWMO deals exclusively with the long-term management of irradiated nuclear fuel, and has nothing whatever to do with other categories of nuclear waste materials.  Does the NWMO’s involvement mean that the proposed DUD will eventually become a permanent repository for high-level radioactive waste  —  making it the “Yucca Mountain” of the Great Lakes region?
The Bruce nuclear complex currently hosts nine reactors (one of them permanently shut down), with proposals for four more. This would make it the largest nuclear power complex in the world. Already there are 500 outdoor silos for the “interim storage” of irradiated nuclear fuel about one kilometre from Lake Huron, and there are plans to build 2,000 more.
Since the DUD is only 50 miles from Michigan across Lake Huron, leakage of radioactivity from the dump could directly affect tens of millions of residents in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York, and contaminate the drinking water in Port Huron, Sarnia, Detroit, Windsor, Toledo, Cleveland, Erie, Buffalo, Toronto and countless other communities downstream.
Thus, this DUD proposal is not just a Canadian issue, but an international one.  In 1986, Canada protested when the U.S. proposed a high-level radioactive waste dump in Vermont because it was too close to the Canadian border; that proposed dump was subsequently cancelled. Now it is time for U.S. residents to speak out. The Canadian DUD proposal sets a dangerous precedent for the establishment of perpetually hazardous facilities on the Great Lakes, and impacts people on both sides of the border.
The successful emplacement of the DUD for so-called “low” and “intermediate” level radioactive wastes from across Ontario – and potentially from the rest of Canada – will create a threat to the Great Lakes watershed for generations to come. It will also increase the likelihood of the Bruce site becoming a permanent disposal dump for high-level radioactive wastes (i.e. irradiated nuclear fuel), which would increase the risks by many orders of magnitude.
Alarming as this proposal is, the process for assessing its environmental impact is also cause for grave concern.  In Canada, environmental panels reviewing proposed nuclear facilities have always been independent of the nuclear establishment — until now.  But for the DUD, the Government of Canada intends to place the review panel under the control of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) which is the regulatory authority for licensing nuclear facilities in Canada.
Six months ago, the President of the CNSC was fired by the Canadian federal government for being too strict in her enforcement of reactor safety regulations. The new CNSC President has clear instructions to fast-track all nuclear regulatory approval processes. No environmental assessment panel will be credible if it is dominated by this highly politicized regulatory agency.
Despite the conflict of interest, the CNSC stands ready to chair the environmental assessment panel and to fill two of its three positions. CNSC’s domination of the Full Panel Review is unprecedented, and will undermine the panel’s credibility. We urge CNSC’s exclusion from the Panel, so the panel’s independence is assured.
We ask that the public comment deadline be extended for six months beyond June 18th.  Given the longevity and the unprecedented nature of the hazard that the DUD represents for the entire Great Lakes ecosystem, as well as the minimal outreach to the United States and Native American/First Nations that the Canadian federal government has undertaken, this extension request is reasonable.
Sincerely,
Gordon Edwards (Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility, Montreal, Quebec)
and Michael Keegan (Coalition for a Nuclear-Free Great Lakes, Monroe, Michigan)
Co-Chairs
Great Lakes United Nuclear-Free/Green Energy Task Force
Kevin Kamps
Radioactive Waste Watchdog
Beyond Nuclear
6930 Carroll Avenue, Suite 400
Takoma Park, Maryland 20912

NDP MP takes strong stand against unethical weapons

June 15, 2008

Thanks to the tireless Alfred Lambremont Webre for posting this on his NUCLEAR FREE ZONE (on the peaceinspace blogs) and sending it out to the Peace list:

PARLIAMENT OF CANADA: NDP MP TAKES STRONG STAND AGAINST UNETHICAL WEAPONS – BC Southern Interior MP tabled a motion on abolishing depleted uranium arms

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
JUNE 12, 2008

NDP MP TAKES STRONG STAND AGAINST UNETHICAL WEAPONS
BC Southern Interior MP tabled a motion on abolishing depleted uranium arms

OTTAWA – NDP MP Alex Atamanenko (BC Southern Interior) – tabled a motion (M-509) on Wednesday calling on the government to take a leading role in helping to abolish the use of depleted uranium (DU) in armaments and munitions. The motion also calls for the government to cease the deployment of our military and civilian personnel in regions where these weapons have been or will be used.

“The Canadian government must take strong and decisive action to help rid the world of this environmental and toxic health hazard. Long lasting and often deadly effects on soldiers and innocent civilians alike have been well documented,” said Atamanenko. “Our military does not use depleted uranium weapons and we should not be deploying our soldiers to fight with armies who do.”

Atamanenko’s motion comes on the heels of a far-reaching resolution that was passed on May 22, 2008, by the European Parliament towards an EU and NATO-wide moratorium and global ban.

Atamanenko says depleted uranium weapons, much like cluster bombs and landmines, have an indiscriminate effect on civilian populations long after they are used in combat. He suggests this runs counter to the basic rules and principles that are already enshrined in international, humanitarian and environmental laws. Currently there are 18 countries that use depleted uranium weapons in their arsenals. Under international law they are considered weapons of mass destruction. Statutes and regulations under the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) prohibit the use of Canadian uranium in DU weapons.

“It is unacceptable that we would contravene our own laws and agreements by failing to ensure that our uranium is only used for peaceful purposes. I’m deeply concerned about the dangers of depleted uranium, and I strongly support my colleague, Alex Atamanenko’s motion,” added NDP Defence Critic, Dawn Black (Burnaby New Westminster)

-30-

For more information:

Office of Alex Atamanenko, MP
1- 613-996-8036

Status of House Business
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
M-509 – Mr. Atamanenko (British Columbia Southern Interior) — Depleted uranium weapons — Notice — June 10, 2008

M-509 — June 10, 2008 — Mr. Atamanenko (British Columbia Southern Interior) — That, in the opinion of the House, the government should: (a) adhere to paragraph 1 of the United Nations (UN) Resolution A/RES/62/30 and submit a report including views on the effects of the use of armaments and ammunition containing depleted uranium; (b) cease all deployment of military and civilian personnel in regions where uranium weapons have been, might have been, will be or might be used within the framework of future operations; (c) provide full information to military and civilian personnel on mission, as well as to professional organizations, about the probability that depleted uranium has been or might be used in their region of operation and to take sufficient protection measures; (d) fully support the establishment of an environmental inventory of depleted uranium contaminated areas, according to the specifications of paragraph 6 of a May 22, 2008, European Union resolution and include financial support for clean-up operations of affected areas; (e) call on all countries to abolish the use of depleted uranium weapons, and systematically halt production and procurement of this type of weaponry; (f) take a leading role in working, through the UN, towards an international treaty establishing a ban on the development, production, stockpiling, transfer, testing and use of uranium weapons as well as the destruction or recycling of existing stocks; and (g) forward this resolution through the Prime Minister to NATO, the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, the UN and the UN Environmental Programme, the European Organization of Military Associations, the International Community of the Red Cross and the World Health Organization.

United Nations (UN) Resolution A/RES/62/30
http://daccess-ods.un.org/access.nsf/Get?Open&DS=A/RES/62/30&Lang=E

VIEW/COMMENT ON THIS ARTICLE:

http://peaceinspace.blogs.com/nuclear_free_zone/2008/06/post.html


OCAP Not Participating in Sham Consultations: Minister Matthews lies to legitimize secret ‘poverty meetings’

June 13, 2008

This is the latest News Release by OCAP about the sham Deb Matthews consultations on poverty that are taking place throughout Ontario. Poverty is increasing at an alarming rate, yet the McGuinty government is holding ‘consultations’: reviewing “how to best organize the current system of supports to ensure effective investment and more efficient administration.”

Sounds like a more time and money-wasting publicity campaign, to make it seem as if they are actually doing something, methinks… They’re still trying to get a ‘definition’ of poverty, for chrissake! Haven’t we been down that road many times before? What is there to define about poverty? All they have to do is ask the poor: the working poor who must choose between paying rent or buying food; the disabled subsisting on ODSP/OW rates that haven’t been adjusted for inflation for decades; the struggling single mother who can’t afford childcare and decent food; the senior whose meagre pension doesn’t allow him/her to turn the heat on in winter; the destitute soul with mental health problems housed in fleabag firetrap motels; the homeless person exposed to thugs and the elements; the children and adults on native reserves (Kashechewan, etc.) who are sickened by tainted water, toxic soil and mouldy housing; and so on and on… Go out into the real community, instead of holding sanitized invitation-only ’round-table discussions’ where real questions, suggestions, input and ideas are eschewed — and ASK! They’ll give Ms Matthews the ‘definition of poverty’, if indeed she lives in such a bubble that she does not know what POVERTY is. The time for these meaningless consultations has long passed. With the worsening economic situation poverty and homelessness will rise. We need action, not consultation!

A good start would be raising the minimum wage to at least $10/hour NOW! Raise the rates for ODSP/OW by 40%! Instead of giving millions to big corporations (like GM who then proceed to lay off workers anyway) use the taxpayer’s money to build affordable housing. Listen to the people on native reserves and fix the deplorable conditions that they must endure. Do something constructive, something real and start now! Not next year, or the year thereafter, but NOW!


OCAP Not Participating in Sham Consultations: Minister Matthews lies to legitimize secret ‘poverty meetings’

June 11, 2008 – Yesterday, during an interview with CBC’s Metro Morning, the Minister of Children and Youth Services, Deb Mathews, claimed the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty was invited to and attended a secret poverty consultation.

In reality, these meetings have been designed expressly to avoid interacting with anti-poverty groups like OCAP and with poor people in general. OCAP has never received an invitation to attend these private consultations. These meetings make no attempt to address systemic poverty in this province, rather they seek to allay the public’s concerns “within existing resources.”

“We don’t need to waste our time in secret consultations. We need a government that is actually going to do something about poverty,” says A.J. Withers, an OCAP Organizer. “We know what the problems are. Welfare and disability rates are too low, we need a livable minimum wage now, we need more affordable housing and we need the housing we do have to be in decent repair.”

The Liberal government would like the public to believe it will make real and substantial changes in people’s lives. Instead, this government continues to quietly chip away at crucial money and services. “While they talk about reducing poverty, the Liberals continue to let welfare and disability rates lose ground to inflation. They slashed the Special Diet supplement that let thousands of people eat healthier food, and they introduced the confusing Ontario Child Benefit that means parents probably won’t be able to buy coats for heir kids this winter,” says John Clarke of OCAP. “This is not a government that actually cares about poor people, it is a government trying to get political capital by talking a lot about us, but doing nothing for us,” Clarke says.

While Matthews is a liar, she was right about one thing: there have been protesters outside of her sham consultations, in cities all across Ontario. This month, in Toronto, we plan to be among them.