Media Release

Environment Minister Water Protection Measure Full of Holes, Says Environmental Law Group

Nov 09 1999

Toronto. Environment Minister Tony Clement has promised last September, and repeated yesterday in the media, to protect Ontario's ground water resources from commercial and industrial users. However, according to the Canadian Environmental Law Association, the measures are not being implemented, and his announcements are giving a false sense of comfort to those that worry about the province's water resources. According to Minister Clement's September 28, 1999 announcement, all new water-taking permits would include new conditions, including a two-year time limit, a log book measuring how much water is being withdrawn and stream flow monitoring to determine if there is an impact from the water-taking. However, according to a review of the permits issued since September 28, 1999, 27 of 29 permits were approved. Some permits lacked the conditions mentioned by Minister Clement, for example, one permit had a five year limit, two had ten year limits and the remaining permits had no limits at all. "This proves that the government is not serious about protecting groundwater," noted Paul Muldoon, Executive Director of the Canadian Environmental Law Association. "If the Environment Minister was serious, the water taking laws would be revamped with new regulations. The measures contained in the announcement right now are full of holes." According to CELA, Ontario water resources remain under threat due to the fact that billions of litres of water have been allocated for commercial water bottlers. There has also been severe demands on Ontario's groundwaters from expanding urban centres. Last year, water protection measures grew into an international matter when Nova Group was successful in attaining a water-taking permit to export 600 million litres of water to Asia from Lake Superior. The permit was eventually cancelled. - 30 - For more information: Paul Muldoon, Executive Director, or Theresa McClenaghan, Counsel, orRamani Nadarajah, Counsel, (416) 960-2284