Our Relentless Former Webmaster
Gone but not forgotten
something terribly wrong when this parrot knows more about what's realy
happening at Point Aconi than the people of Nova Scotia are allowed to know.
Noah has seen with his own eyes what the government and the coal company and
the power company and the media aren't telling anyone and don't want the
public to know.
Next to prime fishing grounds at the mouth of the Bras d'Or Lakes, with the Bird Islands and the Cabot Trail and Cape Smokey in the background, Premier Rodney MacDonald's government has turned a deaf ear to the community's concerns and a blind eye to environmental problems, and has begun strip mining coastal Crown woodlands and wetlands for some very high polluting coal that wasn't fit to burn before, and has begun burning it at the province's highest polluting generating station at Lingan without any expensive "clean coal technolgy".
This is being done under the false pretext of "cleaning up" past mining in Point Aconi, and is being done as quickly as possible "because future reductions in SO2 emission levels and the economics of the project will be negatively impacted to the point of not being feasible."
The Environment Act and the Terms and Conditions for Approval have been thrown out the window as Pioneer Coal thoroughly detroys our coastal Crown woodlands and wetlands threatening our fishing grounds, our water supply, our nearby farms, our tourism industry, our real estate, our quality of life, and the legacy we leave for future generations.
This is being done under a cloud of secrecy and no publicity. No one came to cut a ribbon or preach the benefits of strip mining high polluting coal from coastal Crown land, or take a tour of the site and show the public what they're doing under the pretext of "cleaning up" Devco's old Prince Mine, while the government approved "Community Liaison Committee" has proven itself to be merely a mouthpiece for government sanctioned disinformation.
Under the NS Environment Act, the area's concerned Citizens Against Strip Mining on Boularderie Island launched an appeal of the Minister's approval of this project to the NS Supreme Court but the Department of Justice is stonewalling while their Access to Information Officer is stalling release of reports that ought to be public.
Meanwhile, the strip mine is proceeding but not at all according to the approved plan. As but one example, in recent weeks water has filled any excavation of the coastal wetlands faster than they can dig it, instead of pumping the water into the undergound workings as required by NSEL's Approval, they're pumping it in the opposite direction to a huge lake that is quickly forming just metres from the shore.
As destruction of our coastal Crown lands continues, the exposure of the excavated high sulphide bearing material to air and water is already causing Acid Mine Drainage (aka "orange precipitate") to be discharged into our fishing grounds via a brook that NSEL did not know about despite the 4 foot NSDNR Crown stake next to it, while the various provincial and federal departments are passing the buck between each other and the homes of local residents are shaking from the blasts.
Nova Scotia's Department of Environment says it's the federal department of Fisheries and Ocean's responsibility, DFO says it's Environment Canada's responsibility, Environment Canada says its Natural Resource's responsibility, NRCAN says it's Devco's, but since Devco sold the Prince Mine to Pioneer Coal just days before it became subject to federal environmental assessment, it's not their reponsibillity any more either!
The Provincial government ministers all kept their blinders so firmly glued to their faces that they didn't even ask for a copy of the federal 2004 report on the Prince Mine until long after issuing their approval to Pioneer Coal's strip mine, and only then because CASM filed for a Section 115 investigation under the Environment Act..
Got a wetland or coastal brook or toxic materials in the way of getting approval for your project? No problem, just don't mention them under the government's don't tell, don't ask process of environmental assessment and industrial approval, even their site Inspectors and Conservation Officers won't notice the obvious.
In 2001, Devco closed the last of its mines, the Prince Mine at Point Aconi, in part because the high sulphur coal wasn't even fit to burn in the new Point Aconi generating plant built next door. In 2003 the mineral rights to the coal on Devco properties across the region were transferred to the province. The province then issued a call for proposals from mining companies for the "exploration, development and reclamation" of 4 million tons of the Sydney coalfield that may be extracted by strip mining.
Locations of the "surface" coal resources proposed for strip-mining in just this first of four planned tender calls include 29,000 acres of Boularderie Island, Point Aconi, the Bras d'Or Lakes, New Waterford, Gardiner Mines, Dominion, Donkin, Birch Grove, Port Morien and Broughton, according to the government's maps, over 14 sites in total.
Before any environmental assesment had been done, the MLA for the area and then Minister of Energy Cecil Clarke held a pubic meeting during which the public was told that "no is not an option". Pioneer Coal's proposal to strip-mine 1.6 million tons of coal over a 7 year period near the old Prince Mine in Point Aconi was approved with "conditions" despite opposition from 76% of residents polled in a municipal survey and all the region's elected representatives and candidates from all levels of government and political parties and First Nations.
Strip mining in a wetland requires draining millions of gallons of water from the surrounding area. Many of the sites are close to water reservoirs and sensitive wetland areas.
The Boularderie area proposed for strip mining acts as a large sponge that supplies water to Upper and Lower Morien aquifer. Loss of this water source will impact domestic wells throughout the area and nearby large scale farming operations that work some of the richest agricultural land in Cape Breton, and on a very lucrative fishing industry off the coast and salmon river and eagle habitats inland. Being the tip of an island on the Atlantic Ocean, the hydrological effects of strip mning also cause salt water intrusion.
Imagine what the view from the Bras d'Or lookoff will look like once it's been strip mined! Will tourists want to venture beyond the Seal Island Bridge? Will homecomers still want to retire here? Will there be any possibility for other economic development for many years to come?
This is what the Province wants to do to Cape Breton Island from Point Aconi to Port Morien if we don't stop it: Stellarton
If anyone can find a shred of vegetation growing on this "reclaimed" site, send us a photo!
April 6, 2006
Premier Rodney MacDonald was his own biggest supporter in his bid to lead the provincial Conservative party. MacDonald donated $10,000 of his own money to his campaign, according to documents released Thursday by the three leadership candidates.
Antigonish-based Nova Construction, which builds roads and strip mines, was MacDonald's largest corporate donor. The company gave him $7,500, but also gave $2,500 to LeBlanc.
(Nova Construction=John Chisholm=Pioneer Coal Ltd.)
Sunday, June 4th, 2006
Nova Scotians have been mining coal for three hundred years and now the provincial government hopes to revive it. It wants to do this not just for the energy but to clean up what it considers a dangerous mess left by previous underground mining. According to the government, past mining efforts left us with public hazards from holes and waste rock piles and it sees surface mining or strip mining as the best way to fix this. But Cape Bretoners are not strangers to their own legacy of strip mining and they didn't like the experience so the government's plan is running into a lot of opposition.
June 13th, 2006
|And the sweat on
the back is no joy to behold in the heat of the steel plant or mining the
coal. And the foreign owned companies force us to fight for our survival,
and for our rights.
We are an Island, a rock in a stream. We are a people, as proud as there's been. In soft summer breeze, or in wild winter wind The home of our hearts, Cape Breton... - The Island
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