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Site: Prince Mine, Point Aconi Block
Location: Point Aconi - McCreadyville
Status: Closed/ To be Reclaimed
- Operated between 1975 - 2001
- Produced >22 million tonnes
- Ash 12%; Sulphur 3.8%; BTU 11,800
- Waste piles 250,000 m3 (5.7 acres)
- Acid water treatment facility
Source: Coal Related sites in Industrial Cape Breton, NSDNR 2003

August 31, 2008 - While a waterfall from what was the wetlands continues to gush into Pioneer's pit, it's pumped out 24/7 into a pipe that disappears underground but there's nothing coming out of it at the other end into a trench that eventually trickles into the old portals, it's got to be going somewhere in violation of the Terms and Conditions of Approval..

COVER-UP!

Instead of enforcing compliance with the rules and regulations and conditions of approval, the Environment Department continues to cover-up Pioneer Coal's obvious violations every single step of the way:

Date: Fri, 29 Aug 2008
From: langilbd@gov.ns.ca
Subject: Coal Hollow Brook, Point Aconi

If you wish to gain further knowledge regarding site infrastructure in place at the site for water management, please contact a facility representative or the CLC.

With respect to your request for copies of any monitoring or testing of Coal Hollow Brook, it will be necessary to contact Ms. Aimee Standen-Burns, our Information Access & Privacy Manger at (902) 424-2577.

Sincerely,
Brad Langille
Inspector Specialist

August 26, 2008 - While an eagle circles its "reclaimed" habitat that's now a 150 feet deep pit by the shore, the Environment Department is in a tizzy over word that what looks like salt water, smells like salt water, tastes like salt water, is actually Salt Water Intrusion of our aquifer. And they're in the Pump House trying to figure out why there's suddenly "orange percipitate" coming out of an old Devco culvert nearby that naturally Environment also did not know about until local residents complained. And despite the government's denials, there's yet more evidence of activity in the Boularderie Resource Block where the deer cross the road..

Meanwhile, as nearby homes are being shaken and covered in dust and the smell of smoke from the blasts, there's a problem at the Pier dear, so the coal trucks are sitting idle as Pioneer Coal builds a bigger and better hopper even though there's not supposed to be any processing or stockpiling of coal at their "reclamation" project at Point Aconi.

August 22, 2008 - Despite all the monitoring by the mining company and the Environment department and their Anonymous Community Liaison Committee: fishermen have been reporting that the trucks are so close to shore they appear to be in the water, the drainage ditch behind the stockpile that CASM reported last year appears to have flowed over the cliff into the ocean, "orange percipitate" can be seen oozing out of the cliff face where they've clearcut and blasted over 100 feet deep from the Prince Mine to the shore, Coal Hollow Brook is bright orange, and this week's Halifax Herald cartoon says it all while Frank Magazine reports that Point Aconi's MLA Cecil Clarke is too busy clowning around in Democracy 250 parades! .

August 14, 2008 - Undeniable evidence of violations of the government's Terms and Conditions of Approval continues with impunity. For a reclamation project that's not supposed to have any processing and stockpling of coal on site Pioneer's doing a lot of it and the dust has to go somewhere. For a project that's supposedly pumping the mine water into the underground workings there's not much trickling into the portals and it has to go somewhere. For a project that's not supposed to have any Acid Mine Drainage discharging into our brooks it continues anyway, all while the anonymous Community Liaison Committee is still nowhere to be seen or heard. The moratorium on strip mining the other sites under provincial jurisdiction expires next April. Do you want this done to your backyard and brooks and Crown land and fishing grounds under Premier MacDonald's false pretext of "cleaning up" and "progressive rehabilitation"?.

If this was your septic system discharging into the brooks and ocean what would the government do about it by now?:

July 13, 2008 - The sounds of children playing on Tony's Beach can be heard in the open pit less than 80 feet from the shore that's filling with salt water faster than they can pump it out of sight and out of the Environment Inspector's mind. Determined to cause as much environmental terrorism as fast as they can before someone enforces the law, they've blown up the remaining dynamite holes next to the brook that Minister Parent did not know about prior to issuing his approval. And contrary to the Terms and Conditions they're processing the high sulphur coal on site and trucking it to NSPI's power plants in violation of every emission standard in the book before Rodney MacDonald's government gets kicked out in a sea of shame and corruption..

Donkin Coal Project:
"The target market is power plants locally and along the U.S. eastern seaboard, Europe, and potentially steel plants. The current committed flue gas desulphurization conversions of power plants in the United States eastern seaboard will enable consumption of over 300 million tonnes of high energy, high sulphur (Donkin quality) coal per year by 2014."
- Nova Scotia Minerals Update, Dept. of Natural Resources, Winter 2008

NOTE THAT: Without informing the public, Premier Rodney MacDonald is allowing the high sulphur coal being strip mined at Point Aconi for almost a year now to be burned in Nova Scotia's power plants without the flue gas desulphurization that everyone has said all along is required. Without it, high sulphur coal is banned from import and use in most countries, except in Rodney's "cleanest" and "greenest" Nova Scotia!


Point Aconi Reclamation Project:
"Without the ability to operate 24 hours/day on the surface coal mining operation ... the coal resource will not be maximized because of future reductions in SO2 emission levels and the economics of the project will be negatively impacted to the point of not being feasible."
- Pioneer Coal's Environmental Assessment Registration Document approved by Environmment Minister Mark Parent on 12 September 2006

June 22, 2008 - Despite the government's Briefing Note on Coastal Construction claiming that there is no activity in the Boularderie Resource Block the undeniable evidence proves otherwise. The area has been clearcut and workers say they will be taking the clay and then mining the coal for Nova Scotia Power. So where's the Environmental Assessment and public consultation the government has been promising all along? .

Meanwhile, in Pioneer Coal's Point Aconi Resource Block nothing is going according to the approved Excavation Plan. The pit dug this winter in the wetlands along the shore filled with water faster than they could pump it out and has been filled in, and the remaining dynamite holes haven't been blown up. Perhaps because there's now cracks in the cliff that's rapidly crumbling since the water that holds it together has been cut off and now there's orange stuff oozing out of it that's obviously not a "percipitate". Sherie Lee Lane is now a moonscape thanks to Rodney's "reclamation" of our Crown woodlands and wetlands at the mouth of the Bras d'Or Lakes.

BEFORE "RECLAMATION"

NOW

March 8, 2008 – While the Environment Department's Inspector continues to turn a blind eye to the obvious, runoff from Pioneer Coal's strip mine is polluting our lobster fishng grounds at the mouth of the Bras d'Or Lakes. It's not even Spring yet and water continues to gush into the pit faster than they can pump it out from the wetlands that the Environment Department insists have not been disturbed. As always, the government's claims about this project contradict what everyone can see with their own eyes..

December 9, 2007 – Ignoring over 250 years of knowledge about the adverse effects of burning Boularderie Island's high sulphur coal, the progressive rehabilitation of Rodney's Park blasts on as water continues to quickly fill every excavation of what was healthy Crown woodlands and wetlands at the mouth of the Bras d'Or Lakes as Pioneer Coal prepares to highwall mine under the ocean and homes along Forrest Lane under the obviously false pretext of cleaning up old crop pits. The mine water is supposedly being pumped into the underground workings of the Prince Mine which go out under the ocean and were orginally expected to reach capapacity in 2008. The most recent data and reports, and aerial photos, are being squelched under FOIPOP. .

All kinds of news not fit to mention by the media can be found in advertisements in the Cape Breton Post:


"The targets can be met without forcing either early closure or major new capital expenditures on the utility. Reductions in air contaminants can be accomplished by a combination of switching to cleaner burning gas where feasible and using imported coal that contains less sulphur and generates lower levels of air contaminants than many indigenous coals."- NS 2001 Energy Strategy, Part V Coal

"It is worth noting that Nova Scotia now has sulphur reduction legislation in place, requiring provincial SO2 emissions to halve, from 189,000 tonnes in 1995–1999 to 94,500 tonnes by 2010 (NS Environment 2005). NSPI is responsible for reducing the majority of the emissions from 145,000 tonnes (1995–99) to 72,500 tonnes (2010). At present, this is being achieved with the purchase of expensive low-sulphur coal from Venezuela, Columbia and the United States. In order to use less expensive higher-sulphur coal, NSPI is proposing the addition of a Flue Gas Desulphurization (FGD) unit at their Lingan coal-fired thermal power station at a cost of about $170 million (NSPI 2005)." - Energy Security in Nova Scotia, 2007

"NSPI’s regulator, the UARB, approved $5 million for the installation of a Low NOx Combustion Firing system on Lingan Unit 3 on April 5, 2006, which has now been installed. Nova Scotia Power requested to discontinue its application for the remaining $172 million for the flue gas desulphurization equipment in response to requests from stakeholders for more study. The UARB agreed with NSPI’s request. An Integrated Resource Plan (“IRP”), which will analyze a variety of factors to assess how best to proceed ... is expected to be completed in the first half of 2007." - Emera, November 2006

November 28, 2007 – If strip mining is not good for Digby Neck or Inverness then why is it good for Point Aconi to Port Morien? For three months now they have been strip mining high sulphur coal from Devco’s old Prnce Mine site and trucking it to Lingan without anyone saying a word about it. While Professor Bob Fournier of Digby Neck panel review fame is traveling the province again for public input to a review of the province’s 2001 Energy Strategy that paved the way for strip mining Cape Breton, they blasted our coastal Crown woodlands and wetlands at the mouth of the Bras d’Or Lakes again today in their rush to burn the coal at Nova Scotia Power’s generating stations before the old emission standards are enforced much less the new.

November 24 - "No coal processing facilities are planned for the site", is that why Pioneer is not using the hopper they built and are instead processing the coal out of sight and stockpiling it in the building? Meanwhile, NSEL's Monitoring and Compliance office continues to make "exemptions" to every rule and regulation and Term and Condition of Approval in the book and is requiring the public to apply under FOIPOP for answers to obvious questions.

Who do you believe, Minister Parent or what we can see and hear with our own eyes and ears?
Still unable to explain the meaning of "Mining Blocks" or the size of the "footprint" much less admit there's any "acid mine drainage", NSEL doesn't know what "7 am - 7 pm" means either as Pioneer strip mines in the middle of the night while Minister Parent tells the media that they're "not blasting" our coastal Crown woodlands and wetlands. (Double click Play button)

October 28th, 2007 - In view of the Cabot Trail from Glooscap's Cave to Cape Smokey, Premier Rodney MacDonald's "progressive rehabilitation" of our healthy coastal Crown woodlands and wetlands in Point Aconi continues as deer flee the scene of the crime before they too get blown to pieces by blasts felt miles away. High sulphur, high mercury, high ash coal that wasn't fit to burn before is now being strip mined along Sherie Lee Lane while a steady stream of trucks takes it to Lingan or is sold in the local market for $125 a ton. While the politicians and media flock to Donkin, not one of them has been known to take a tour of the Prince or inform the public of what's really going on. Meanwhile, the Department of Justice continues to stonewall on CASM's appeal under the NS Environment Act while the feds disavow any responsibility.

The evolution of Rodney's Park along the western property line of the NSDNR Crown land at Point Aconi

October 15th, 2007 - While Premier MacDonald's government sanctioned environmental terrorists blasted our healthy Crown woodlands to smithereens that shook houses 5 km away, mining the high polluting coal from the Prince Mine outside of the approved "Mining Blocks" and trucking it to the high polluting generating station at Lingan continues with impunity under a cloak of deceit and secrecy by even the media and Official Opposition at this first of 14 planned strip mines from one end of CBRM to the other despite the adverse effects on climate change.

October 14th - Still flaunting the fact that they can violate every law and regulation and term and condition in the book with impunity, Pioneer was mining coal on a Sunday under the government's blatantly false pretext of "cleaning up" our supposedly "derelict" Crown woodlands and wetlands. The western property line has been excavated across Sherie Lee Lane up to the brook by the shore which is now bone dry as the water is being pumped elswhere. Under the government's absurd claim that centuries old hand dug crop pits are "a threat to wildlife", they'll be blasting what's left of our Crown land to smithereens at 3pm on Monday.

October 1st - Government sanctioned Pioneer Coal continues to mine high sulphur, high mercury, high chlorine, high ash coal from Devco's old Prince Mine and truck it to the province's highest polluting generating station at Lingan without a proper environmental assessment, while excavating coastal Crown NSDNR woodlands and wetlands out of sight and out of mind.

September 29th - While Minister Parent announced implementation of the 2005 national standard for mercury emissions from coal-fired generating plants, contrary to the meaningless Terms and Conditions of Approval for this project Pioneer Coal was working overtime on Saturday in a rush to strip mine the high sulphur, high mercury coal from the Prince Mine and truck it to Lingan before the new emission standards take effect, or the public finds out. And out of sight of even the media's eye, yet more coastal NS DNR Crown woodlands and wetlands have been destroyed for generations to come under Premier MacDonald's false pretext of "remediation" of this supposedly "derelict state" that has never been mined before..

September 26, 2007
"We're pleased to be able to move forward with the implementation of the national standard. We are committed to reducing our environmental footprint and protecting human health, and these regulations will help us do that." - Mark Parent, Minister of Environment and Labour, on implementation of the 2005 national standard for mercury emissions from coal-fired electric power-generation plants

September 21st - For the third time in as many weeks the police came out to Point Aconi because some men, women, children, dogs and a parrot dare to speak out against strip mining Boularderie Island for high polluting coal. Meanwhile there's still no sign of any policing of the government sanctioned environmental terrorism going on inside the mine site.

September 20th - Federal ministers' responses to CASM's petition under the Auditor General Act due - see Documents

September 16th - What a crime! Contrary to the Terms and Conditions of Approval requiring the water to be pumped into the underground mine workings, several huge lakes of water have already formed everywhere Pioneer Coal has excavated in our coastal Crown wetlands, and yet more "orange precipitate" is gushing into the brook and out into our lobster fishing grounds at the mouth of the Bras d'Or Lakes. But that's okay by NS government standards and it's the public who dare to monitor and publish the photos for everyone to see who are treated as criminals and called the cops on us, again. What else are they trying to hide about this ill-conceived project destroying our coastal Crown land for generations to come?





SUNDAY, 09/09/07 - A beautiful day at the beach was disturbed by noises of machinery in the woods at Pioneer Coal's strip mine where the NSDNR Conservation Officer hired for the job was busy lumbering on a Sunday against the Terms and Conditions of Approval. Security got hot and bothered by a bunch of women walking around taking pictures and called the police, again. Who can we call when the government destroys our coastal Crown woodlands and wetlands strip mining high polluting coal to burn at their highest polluting generating station under the false claims of "cleaning up" Devco's old Prince Mine and being the "cleanest, greenest" province?






"The open surface mine will remove dangerous
deep holes from previous mining activity which
are currently a threat to wildlife."

 
- NSEL's Summary of its Industrial Approval, 13 September 2006

September 3rd - Still in a state of denial about the existence of wetlands and acid mine drainage, government sponsored destruction of our coastal Cown Land continues under the pretext of "cleaning up". Obviously logs and straw and a plastic barrier could not stop the flow of water over the edge into the ocean flowing brook downhill that NSEL did not know about.


NS Energy Strategy, Part V Coal, 2001
(Note, over 1% sulphur is banned for import or use in most developed countries)

Application of clean coal technology could potentially allow indigenous fuel sources to continue to contribute to our energy future. Generating at least some of our electricity from coal-fired plants will contribute to the diversity and overall price efficiency of our generation sources.

The downside of implementing clean coal technology at present is cost and, in some cases, incomplete technology development. Installing new clean coal technology on an existing plant can represent a significant capital investment in a plant that may have a limited life span. In Nova Scotia, additional capital costs would have to be recovered through the utility's rate base, putting upward pressure on the price of electricity.

It is recognized that technological solutions for one problem can exacerbate another. For example, installing SO2 scrubbers in a plant such as Lingan may decrease the overall efficiency of the unit, thereby increasing CO2 emissions. Current action to reduce SO2 emissions in such a facility might, therefore, conflict with future actions to reduce CO2 emissions, potentially stranding the costs of the SO2 scrubbers, with attendant overall cost to the utility and, eventually, to consumers.

Nonetheless, action is required with respect to air emissions from coal-fired thermal plants. The measures in the energy strategy will make a real difference to our environmental performance, providing a clear signal that Nova Scotia takes its responsibilities seriously and expects other jurisdictions to do the same. The targets can be met without forcing either early closure or major new capital expenditures on the utility. Reductions in air contaminants can be accomplished by a combination of switching to cleanerburning gas where feasible and using imported coal that contains less sulphur and generates lower levels of air contaminants than many indigenous coals.- NS Energy Strategy, Part V Coal, 2001

Click for September 2006 - August 2007 Status Reports

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