Media Release

Northerners Have Day in Court Over Super-Dump Approval

Jul 12 1999

Toronto. A panel of 3 judges of Ontario Divisional Court will, tomorrow, hear the case brought by a northern Ontario coalition of citizens, farmers and environmentalists against the provincial government for their approval of a mega landfill in an abandoned iron ore mine located on the outskirts of Kirkland Lake.The coalition is challenging the decision of a 3 person environmental assessment hearing panel which, in June of 1998, issued a split decision with 2 of the 3 members giving conditional approval to a proposal to convert an abandoned iron ore mine into a 20 million tonne garbage dump.The third panel member issued a dissenting opinion, citing numerous concerns about the landfill design and the release of leachate into the surrounding watershed which flows through a large farming area and forms the headwaters of the Ottawa river system. Leachate is the toxic "garbage soup" which is formed when water percolates through the wastes at a dumpsite. The proposed dump at the Adams mine site would produce over 300 million litres of leachate per year according to figures presented by the company that wants to import the garbage, Notre Development Corporation.The Coalition is challenging the Environmental Assessment Board decision on a number of grounds, but a key point of contention is the Board's handing over of the actual decision on whether the dump could go ahead to a provincial bureaucrat, who made the decision based on new information provided by the proponent."The Environmental Assessment Board's job was to decide whether Notre Development had proven that the dump could be operated safely. When the evidence fell short of that mark, the Board should have rejected the proposal or asked for more evidence. Instead, the Board attempted to delegate its decision to some director in the Ministry" explained Joe Muething, a spokesperson for the Coalition.The court hearing is expected to take one day, and will hear arguments from the Coalition, represented by the Canadian Environmental Law Association, in the morning, followed by the three responding parties - the Ministry of the Environment, the Environmental Assessment Board, and Notre Development. - 30 -For more information:Brennain Lloyd, Northwatch - 705-497-0373Joe Muething - 705-544-8254Rick Lindgren, Counsel - Canadian Environmental Law Association, 416-960-2284