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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

27 September 2009 - KABOOM! There was another powerfull blast on Friday as Pioneer Coal continues to rape and pillage the DNR Crown land at Point Aconi as fast as possible under the pretext of cleaning up Devco's old Prince Mine. After CASM posted photos of the mud flowing down their man made hill, a sloped road has been carved into the side of it. At the top of the hill of DNR's reclaimed woodlands and wetlands is a pond of water. At the other side of the site, water continues to percolate out of the ground and flow into Coal Hollow Brook, but so long as no one asks and they don't tell, what no one knows won't hurt us, eh? Meanwhile, cleanup of Devco's old Princess Mine in Sydney Mines is on schedule for completion this fall. "A plastic liner is being used to cover the waste rock pile. Once the liner is in place, the area will be covered with topsoil, seeded and transformed into a park-like setting with walking trails." There's no such plan at Pioneer's Prince. The "flagship test case" at Point Aconi of what to do with Devco's coal rights and properties that was a "no is not an option" "done deal" behind closed doors before the public found out about it is an example of what can still happen anywhere, the local residents and communities have no rights, no say, no seat at the table.


September 2009 - After 3 years of "reclamation" at DNR's "flagship test case", and a Reclamation Study by their panel of experts, and Terms of Conditions of Approval that requires a review of Pioneer's project after 3 years, there's no sign of any public information or consultation from the usual suspects. Instead, what was a flat coastal Crown woodland and rare wetlands is now a huge hill higher than the hydro poles with some grubbings dumped on it. We hear that the Novaminer got stuck just when they were about to start highwall mining under the ocean so that's been nixed! Pioneer wasted no time covering up the holes they've created under the pretext of cleaning up old hand dug crop pits. The pit Pioneer excavated next to the Prince Mine Road that was filled in after CASM complained of acid mine drainage has been excavated again, presumably in preparation for highwall mining under the homes on Forrest Lane.

August 2009 update – Three days after extending the moratorium on “reclamation” of the other 13 sites across CBRM for another three years the MacDonald government fell on a confidence vote and was relegated to 3rd party status in a historic June 9, 2009 election of an NDP majority government in Nova Scotia. Point Aconi’s Regressive Conservative MLA Cecil Clarke (right) was re-elected by the seat of his pants aided by his significant other campaign manager Kirk MacRae (left) and hasn’t been seen since.

Three days after the election Environment’s Inspector Langille called a complainant of the previous week’s blast and was an entirely different person than we’ve been dealing with for the past 3 years. There hasn’t been a blast since, and he arranged for us to get a copy of the blast reports without having to go through FOIPOP. Since “reclamation” of the “Prince Mine site” began there have been 46 blasts all near the maximum allowable concussion and vibration levels
(Air Concussion 128 dBA, Ground Vibration 12.5 mm/s (0.5 in./sec.) Peak Particle Velocity).

Meanwhile, under the Tory government’s false pretext of cleaning up old hand dug crop pits on coastal DNR Crown land that has never been mined before, Pioneer Coal has blasted and excavated a huge 160 foot deep pit and has been creating more holes as it highwall mines under the land and under the ocean and nearby homes for high sulphur “surface” coal as fast as they can before the 2010 emission targets are enforced and there's no legal market for the high polluting coal.

Under the Tory government’s guise of “progressive rehabilitation”, under the direction of NSE's anonymous Community Liaison Committee that holds secret meetings and submitted a secret land use plan to the government, a huge stockpile of various materials excavated from the “Prince Mine site” higher than the tree tops has been covered with soil and some clumps of vegetation dug up from somewhere else and dumped on what was a rare peat bog forest full of all kinds of wildlife and rare plants before the government’s “clean up” began.

A treasure trove of 350 million year old fossils being excavated during the process that rivals Joggins is being laid to waste while the local first class fossil center in Sydney Mines, that attracts visitors from across the continent, is denied funding or access to the site because MLA Cecil Clarke wants to turn the museum into a call centre.

Point Aconi is a prime example of the Tories legacy of “sustainability” and “environmental goals” that bring “economic prosperity” for their friends in the mining industry and undermine any other development for decades to come.

DNR’s Scott Swindon has finally agreed to another meeting with Nova Scotia’s environmental groups to discuss, among other things, “sustainability” and “reclamation” using a “critical thinking process”, but still won't admit it's mining!

15 April 2009 - While the recent Case Study identified Acid Rock Drainage as the major environmental issue and can be exacerbated by fissures caused from blasting and its discharge is an indictable offence punishable by a jail term, evidently NSE's method for dealing with this liability is to continue to deny that the problem even exists! NSE's Inspector has finally noticed that Devco removed the pipe from the pumphouse to Coal Hollow Brook but says there was no "flow" in it, and Pioneer plugged bootleg workings on its strip of land in March, so now "a visible flow continues to discharge to Coal Hollow Brook, presumably from a bootleg pit on an adjacent parcel of private land" where CASM's photo shows there was no "flow" before! There was no "flow" at all prior to Pioneer's "reclamation" of the Prince Mine site. Meanwhile, the Case Study revealed that a Ministerial review of the Moratorium on the other sites "might occur sometime in May". If there's not a much needed non-confidence vote before then!

3 April 2009 - 3 years ago today Premier MacDonald flew over old mine sites in the area and said he was "upset" at what he saw and announced a 3 year moratorium on the 13 other sites across the region. Today Pioneer blasted sky high more DNR Crown wetlands for high sulphur coal to burn at NSPI's power plants under the deceitful guise of "reclamation" at Rodney's 3 year "flagship test case" in Point Aconi. Time's up!

In response to CASM's Application for Investigation last September of the flooding around the pumphouse that could be heard gushing into the roadway ditch, NSE's Inspector said that he "did not observe an offsite discharge", and that "a significant additional volume of water compared to what is present in Photo 36 is required to result in an offsite discharge."

But now that the snow has melted and the grass is low anyone can easily see the trench of water running down the hill just inside the fence, then flow around the pump house where it pools in the grass at the corner of Point Aconi Road, and is discharged through a blue pipe into the roadway ditch which then flows through a culvert under the road and into Coal Hollow Brook. Imagine what else is going on out of sight out of mind while the Premier from Cape Breton fiddles and step dances as they all pass the buck around and NSE's Inspector keeps his blinders on! What if it's your home being blasted and highwall mined under or flooded, who ya gonna call? Your MLA Cecil Clarke? Good luck!

Pioneer's Novaminer is here!

22 March 2009 - The Tories crime against Cape Breton is about to get a lot worse under their deceitful definition of "surface mining" and spin doctoring about "cleaning up" the Prince Mine. Pioneer Coal recently brought in its Novaminer Highwall Miner to mine 24 hours a day under the ocean and the homes on Forrest Lane that they were supposed to buy under the Terms and Conditions of Approval, but it's proven time and time again to be a completely meaningless document as they rape and pillage for high sulphur coal as fast as possible, in violation of every environmental standard on the planet. Meanwhile, in keeping with the Tories lack of respect for the local community's well founded concerns and their flawed management processes, yet another 3 months have passed and still the regulators at NSE have not provided any updates as promised in their response to CASM's Application for Investigation. And there's still no public consultation whatsoever about the "reclamation" of this coastal DNR Crown land at the mouth of the Bras d'Or lakes, nor any update from the promoters at DNR on their 3 year "Reclamation Study" by a panel of experts and Moratorium on the other old mine sites across CBRM.  

"It is abundantly clear that the land on this property is in a derelict state, from years of underground mining and bootlegging. There can be no question that a significant effort is required to return this property to a safe and productive state, and it remains my conviction that the best means to effect this is to allow the remaining coal to be recovered, and to allow this recovery to pay for the remediation. I believe that the end result will be a benefit for the land and for the community."
- Premier Rodney MacDonald
11 May 2006

Where's next on his hit list?

Rodney's Park 3 years later

"I've seen some of those sites and it upset me to the point where we have now launched this new review of the historic sites to see what we can do to enhance them with vegetation and make the land useable."     - Premier Rodney MacDonald, 16 May 2006 after flying over previous strip mine sites in the region.

2006 - Before along Sherie Lee Lane, Point Aconi:

2008 - Now along Sherie Lee Lane, Point Aconi:

Upset?!


15 January 2009 - Gee, what are the chances that NSE’s Inspector has taken his blinders off and observed the remediation work being done between the pump house and Pioneer’s culvert at Coal Hollow Brook as part of Devco’s Franklyn Project! Devco has dug a hole and removed part of the tunnel from the pump house to seal it off.

Last year’s Application for Investigation revealed that NSE had not reviewed Devco’s environmental assessment of the Prince Mine before issuing approval for Pioneer Coal’s project. This year, evidently they still don’t collaborate or share information with Devco, so NSE pleads ignorance and are still “reviewing” the area 5 months after an affected landowner officially complained of discharges from the culvert on Pioneer's strip into the brook! What other “details” does NSE still not know about the mine site and Pioneer Coal failed to report?!

22 December 2008 - The Environment Department's Inspector hand delivered his response to CASM's Application for Investigation of Coal Hollow Brook and other concerns. As expected, he whitewashes everything everyone can see with their own eyes and that he and the 3 stooges won't stand up and do what ought to be done before any more predictable damage is done by their "reclamation" of old mines sites and their failure to insist on a proper environmental assessment and inspection.


20 December 2008 – Four months have passed since affected landowners in Point Aconi formally complained under the Environment Act about the obvious pollution of Coal Hollow Brook but the Department has still not responded or shown any respect whatsoever for the public’s concerns. Instead we hear they’ve been busy conjuring up a cockamamie story about a dog falling into a hole that Pioneer filled in that caused the problem at the culvert, but it’s taken two years for the Environment Department to find out about it and only because the public complained. Since the Department still has not bothered to find out where the old underground workings go or whether they’ve collapsed from Pioneer’s blasting and excavating, they don’t know where the mine water goes until it starts flowing into our brooks and wells and fishing grounds and the damage is done. Enforcement of the Environment Act is entirely at the Minister’s discretion and evidently instead of addressing the problem Mark Parent continues to cover up for Pioneer Coal while the public pays the price for this corrupt political patronage for generations to come.

"Mining activities in Nova Scotia are regulated both federally and provincially, and are subject to environmental assessments and industrial approvals. Such approvals involve stringent requirements for the removal and treatment of contaminants prior to discharge to the environment. Discharge limits are placed on any releases such that the environment and downstream water uses, including habitat for aquatic life, are protected - consistent with the federal Fisheries Act. Moreover, any approvals that my Department may issue for such an activity would require a review by the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) to ensure that provisions of the Fisheries Act are met."- Environment Minister Mark Parent lies again, 5 December 2008

6 December 2008 - Since CASM formally complained to the Environment Department three months ago about the adverse effects being caused by the "reclamation" of Point Aconi, many of the problems have been quietly covered up or mitigated. The Inspector's response required under the Environment Act is due December 25th, but as happened before, we expect the guts of it will be squelched under the Freedom of Information and Privacy Act and Pioneer Coal's record will remain squeaky clean. The Premier and Cabinet Ministers responsible would rather no one ever mention the obvious facts about their "flagship" "test case" to prove they can clean up old mine sites the "environmentally right way" before lifting their moratorium on other sites across the region and province wide in the next few months.
At Coal Hollow Brook the property line has been blazed between Devco and Pioneer's property but there's still no word on what the various responsible bodies plan on doing about the obvious pollution of the brook this summer. Environment went ballistic when they found out DFO and Devco had been notified and had sent in their own water tester when they couldn't get any straight answers either.
 

No doubt Environment's report will be similar to their coverup of the discharge of "orange percipitate" into MacDonald Brook last year. Environment claimed the only problem was "aeshetic" but the culvert and the well and the acid mine drainage have since vanished without a trace!
 

If Devco's old culverts are sealed off it throws the approved water management plan right out the window and raises some obvious questions: where is the mine water being discharged to, where do the underground workings go? Do we find out when it starts springing up in our brooks and water wells and farming and fishing grounds?

The topsoil has been pushed into the pit behind the homes on Forrest Lane to neutraize and cover up the acid mine drainage in what was supposed to be Excavation #1 that evidently has not proceeded according to the ill-conceived plan approved by the Environment Dept. that refuses to allow an independent review of the project.
 

The overflowing brook behind the overburden stockpiles has been cut off, now it's gushing out of the pond where it has washed out the road on neighbouring private property.
 

The water from the wetlands between the stockpile and the shore is now being drained into the excavated pit over a year after it was reported to Environment's Inspector.
 

The water along the perimeter of the workarea has been covered up and another drainage pipe installed nearby.
 

There's still no drainage in the ditch while apparently they're covering up the acid mine drainage above the underground portals.
 

Signs have been posted inside the mine site about the warning signals when blasting.
 

The shoreline was drilled with dynamite holes and blown up but the rubble remains several months later at what was supposed to be Excavation #2. Evidently nothing is being done according to the approved "progressive rehabilitation" plan.
 

Yet again, after a formal public complaint to the Environment Department their anonymous Community Liaison Committee that refuses to meet with the community finally posted the minutes from their latest meeting at the gas station on the highway that passes the requirement for public consultation.
 

Over 100 acres of healthy woodlands and wetlands at Point Aconi have been thoroughly destroyed to "clean up" an old mine shaft, there's another 6,000 to go across the province under DNR's no is not an option "Reclamation Challenge" that disregards the obvious environmental consequences for generations to come.
 

Premier MacDonald's dirty secret remains under wraps as no one dares to inform the public that they've been strip mining and trucking the local high sulhur coal and burning it at Lingan for over a year now in violation of every emission standard in the book and under false pretexts.
 

 
"There is no way we could meet local emissions standards with local coal" - Nova Scotia Power

30 November 2008 - Two years after the Environment Department learned about the presence of wetlands disturbed by the construction of a "haul road" along the Hub Seam, the area has been strip mined and refilled and graded, flooding and killing the woodlands along side it, while the beaver living in the lagoon was reportedly shot. Two years after the Environment Department learned about the "orange percipitate" being discharged from the settling ponds into MacDonald/Morrison Brook and swore it was harmless, the well and the discharge pipe and the orange pericipitate have completely disappeared! So where is the mine water being discharged? There's still nothing coming out of the pipe from the "reclamation" of the DNR Crown land along the shore where fox and deer tracks can be seen circling around the edge of the excavated pit.

Simple observation shows something's been happening at Coal Hollow Brook since local landowners reported 3 months ago that the brook had turned orange but Environment's Inspector still hasn't done anything to stop the flow of contaminants into our fishing grounds. Hopefully the arrival of the feds on the scene will smarten them up in a hurry and Rodney's Reclamationists will have some explaining to do about his "cleanup" of Point Aconi this "environmentally right way".

November 4 - Rodney's raping and pillaging of Boularderie Island based on blatant deceit and disinformation about "reclamation" the "environmentally right way" continues with impunity as top soil is removed from Coastal Construction's Cabinet Approved site to coverup the toxic ash dump at NSPI's "cleanest" power plant.

Boularderie Island Block
"Forest cover is widespread in the claim block and consists of a fairly even mix of softwood, mixedwood and hardwood forest. Wetland habitat is not abundant in this claim block; however, a variety of wetland types are present including bogs, fens, deep marsh, shrub swamp and estuarine flat (Figure 5.4A). Several areas of important wildlife habitat are found in the western part of the claim block including Wood Duck nest boxes along Aconi Brook and a Bald Eagle nest east of Mill Pond. There are a number of habitats present in the claim block that have elevated potential to provide habitat for rare or endangered species of plants and animals. These include the various wetland habitats, riparian areas, sea cliffs, and marine shore lines." - Cumulative Effects Assessment of Surface Coal Mining in CBRM, September 2005

Just don't call it a coal mine or a reclamation project or a wetland or a brook, and strip mine it in under 2 hectare sections and voila, the Environment Act doesn't even apply and their Inspector knows nothing about it!!!

November 3, 2008 - Now that the feds know about the Acid Mine Drainage from the culvert into Coal Hollow Brook the evidence appears to have been neutralized with lots of lime. The Acid Mine Drainage in the pit has been covered with topsoil, and Morrison Pond is also milky since they used it as an illegal truck route. Construction of the coal processing facility that was not in the Approval continues. A lake has formed where Pioneer removed topsoil from across the road outside of the approved Mining Blocks while trucks leaving the site kick up a dust storm. But still no response from Nova Scotia's Department of Environment to formal complaints from affected local landowners as conditions go from bad to worse.

October 31, 2008 - Almost 3 months have passed since an affected homeowner filed an Application for Investigation under the Environment Act of Acid Mine Drainage being discharged from an old Devco culvert into Coal Hollow Brook and pinpointed the location on a property map with the PID#. Evidently NSDE's Inspector Specialist has been so busy covering up for Pioneer Coal that he still has not contacted the property owner who says they know nothing about it!!! The location is marked on the map of Devco's Franklyn Project that was recently distributed to homes in the areas of Devco's planned remediation of its properties. Devco says Pioneer was required to pump the discharge from the Prince Mine site into the underground workings, not into the brook. Devco asked if Environment inspected the site but no one's been able to get a straight answer out of them so Devco's going to call NS Dept. of Environment and find out what the hell's going on here and get back to us!

Update: After the different powers that be blew a few gaskets over who said what to whom, apparently the culvert is on the strip of land that Devco conveyed to Pioneer Coal. Devco used to monitor Coal Hollow Brook until they sold the property, since then it's Pioneer and the province's responsibility. As of 13 November 2008, NSDE still has not responded to the public's "allegations" about the obvious pollution in the brook, haven't even so much as said thanks for the info we'll look into it.

December 5, 2003 - Cape Breton Coal Exploration Call Issued
The province issued a call for proposals for exploration, development and reclamation of coal resources for four areas of Cape Breton located in Point Aconi, Broughton, Boularderie Island and Birch Grove.

June 7, 2005 - Province Provides Special Exploratory Licence

A North Sydney company has received approval to conduct preliminary and conditional exploration for coal on a parcel of land adjacent to the Prince Mine Road (Route 162) in CBRM. Coastal Construction will receive a special licence to explore within a specified area, subject to landowner consent. Before proceeding with the development of a coal mine in this area, Coastal Construction will first have to apply for and receive a special mining lease from the Department of Natural Resources. The company will need environmental assessment approval and industrial approval from the Department of Environment and Labour.
December 2, 2005 - Surface Mine Study Brings Rule Changes
Approvals for surface coal mining applications in Cape Breton Regional Municipality (CBRM) will have a greater emphasis on restoring disturbed land to its former or other productive uses."I am particularly pleased with the new guide to reclamation for operators. Should any surface mining projects receive approval, reclamation will be top-of-mind once work begins," Environment and Labour Minister Kerry Morash said.

11 April 2008 - "At this point in time, no excavation registration has been accepted, and no Letter of Authorization issued with respect to the Coastal Construction property on Boularderie Island... Minister Taylor stated in a press release dated April 3, 2006, when the announcement of the Point Aconi mine approval was made that "thirteen other potential lease sites from the former Devco lease will be put on hold for three years." His public statements at the time were that we wanted to ensure that any future surface coal mines in this area would have the benefit of lessons learned from mining and reclamation of the Prince Mine site." - Scott Swinden, NSDNR Mining Director

30 October 2008 - Proving yet again that their word is worthless, DNR has thrown the terms of their Special License to explore the Boularderie Island Resource Block out the window, and NSDE has thrown its Guide to Surface Coal Mine Reclamation Plans out the window as they grease the wheels for Coastal Construction & Co. to slide through the under 2 hectare loopholes and strip mine topsoil from their Boularderie "reclamation" block and truck it to NSPI's ash dump without any Environmental Assessment and public consultation as promised, and despite Rodney's moratorium, etc., etc.!!! Meanwhile up the road, to mitigate complaints of the effects of the blasting in the area, Pioneer has installed a new sign at the entrance to its Prince Mine "reclamation" site!

27 October 2008 - After 2 weeks of passing the buck it took a public protest and media inquiries for the government to do what the project's Monitoring and Compliance Inspector ought to have done in the first place - the barricade has been put back up on Sherie Lee Lane and the loader is heading back to where it came from. Doesn't look like Pioneer Coal is going to be sneeking out any more topsoil any time soon, but as usual, the irreparabe damage is already done with no penalty to Rodney's favourite political patron.

Many thanks to everyone who came to the protest on Sherie Lee Lane on Friday!!! As a result, Vehicle Compliance and the Transportation department ordered Pioneer Coal and Nova Scotia Power's contractors to stop using construction trucks along Sherie Lee Lane and are meeting about it on Monday, and the Natural Resources department is investigating their role in the matter. Still no word from the Environment department acknowledging any responsibilities or jurisdiction for this project creep across Morrison Pond, out of sight out of mind.

October 24, 2008! - Almost two weeks ago CASM noticed that they're hauling overburden material from Pioneer Coal's reclamation of DNR's Crown land at Point Aconi to NSPI's ash dump along the back dirt road across Morrison Pond in contravention of everything in the book. As usual, the Environment department responsible for monbitoring and compliance of the project passed the buck, this time to the Transportation department. But they claim to know diddly squat, couldn't even find Sherie Lee Lane after closing off a portion of it through the mine site last year, and passed the buck to Vehicle Compliance. But the trucks weren't hauling all week, until today when the vehicle compliance officer was on the other side of the island! About 30 concerned residents drove up the public access portion of Sherie Lee Lane and ended up in a traffic jam of construction trucks. After a few hours the Transportation department finally admitted that the off road construction trucks should not be on the public road and shut them down. An hour later they were hauling again anyway, until Vehicle Compliance arrived back in the area and shut them down! No fines on the promise they'll fix the damage they've done to the road and stop using construction trucks on it. Now if only someone can get Environment and Natural Resources to answer as to why they're hauling overburden from the supposed reclamation of DNR Crown land to NSPI's ash dump in the first place since it's not mentioned in the environmental assessment and approval of Pioneer Coal's project, and violates the Guide to Surface Coal Mine Reclamation Plans that Pioneer Coal is required to adhere to under Environment Minister Mark Parent's Terms and Conditions of Appoval that proves yet again to be a completely meaningless document. Meanwhile, Environment's completely useless and anonymous Community Liaison Committe has posted it's first meeting minutes in over a year. The July 2008 minutes announce that the Chairman has resigned, another three months later and the Environment department still hasn't disbanded this disreputable farce and do it right, while Pioneer flaunts that they can do whatever they want and the government claims there's no complaints!

"The Governor in Council on the report and recommendation of the Minister of Natural Resources dated February 21, 2007 is pleased to approve the issuance of a lease by the Minister of Natural Resources of a parcel of Crown land containing 61.24 hectares, situated at Point Aconi in the County of Cape Breton to Pioneer Coal Limited for the purpose of surface mining for coal and the placement of infrastructure necessary to develop and operate a surface coal mine and for no other purpose, for a term of ten (10) years at the annual rent to be calculated by multiplying the appraised market value of the land by 10%." - March 12, 2007

"It's a remediation plan to clean up a couple of centuries of coal mining, often bootleg mines. At the end of the day it has been shown in many cases that the land is in much better condition afterwards and we look forward to the completion of the remediation of Port Aconi.” - Natural Resources Minister David Morse in House of Assembly, 28 March 2007, Hansard

"The proponent shall ensure that the Department's 'Guide to Surface Coal Mine Reclamation Plans' and as amended from time to time is adhered to as part of the site reclamation activities." - Environment Minister Mark Parent's Terms and Conditions of Industrial Approval, 12 September 2006

October 17th - Last week Sherie Lee Lane was widened, truck crossing and road narrowing signs were put up and the highway median covered with dirt so they can drive over it. All week, all day long, at least 10 trucks hauled topsoil from the strip mined DNR Crown land to NSPI's ash dump. After receiving complaints the Transportation Department inspected the area and saw nothing, don't even know where Sherie Lee Lane is! So today we showed them but after heavy rains turned the road into slick mud Pioneer's not hauling today, instead they're pushing topsoil into the excavated pit that filled with acid mine drainage.

Schedule M - Page 1 to Approval 2006-051995: "The stockpiles shall contain any available topsoil from the site, common material, and rock. Stockpile #2 shall contain materials excavated from the adjacent wetland. Stockpile #2 materials shall be kept separate within the stockpile to allow for proper reinstatement of materials"
 
Schedule L - Page 1 to Approval 2006-051995: "The Proponent shall ensure the progressive rehabilitation plan as described in the Industrial Approval Application Supporting Document"

From: Brad D Langille (langilbd@gov.ns.ca)
Sent: October 17, 2008 12:34:26 PM

With respect to this instance, the material being hauled off site does not contradict the approval issued to Pioneer Coal Limited nor does it contradict standard policies that are applicable to everyone with land access in the province. The Term and Condition referencing transportation routes is specific to the trucks transporting coal off site that are directly affiliated with Pioneer Coal Limited. As noted in my previous email, the vehicle/equipment traffic exiting the site via Sherri Lee Lane is not property owned or operated by/for Pioneer Coal Limited.

October 15th - Flaunting the fact that by the time the Environment Department ever gets its act together, the coastal Crown land along Sherie Lee Lane will be completely raped and pillaged as Pioneer Coal strips what's left of the top soil and construction trucks that aren't supposed to be on public roads haul it to NSPI's ash dump as tourists looking for directions to the beach get caught in the traffic jam. As always, the Environment Dept. has passed the buck, this time to Transportation at 563-2240

October 14th - Proving yet again that Minister Parent's Terms and Conditions of Approval is a completely meaningless document, instead of stockpiling the topsoil from the wetlands Pioneer Coal is trucking it across Morrison Pond along Sherie Lee Lane to the ash dump at NSPI's power plant, out of the Environmental Inspector's sight and out of mind!!!

Over 60 days have passed since residents of Point Aconi first complained to the Environment Department that Coal Hollow Brook has turned orange and provided photographs and a map to the source of the discharge, followed by water test results and a submission signed by a Commissioner of Oaths, and still the Environment Department has not so much as said thanks for the information or that they've checked it out or done anything at all about it!

October 12th - The barrier across Sherie Lee Lane at Tony's Beach has been bulldozed aside as Pioneer prepares to turn it into a truck route to NSPI's power plant! Got a wetland as obvious as Morrison Pond in the way? No problem, don't tell and the Environment Department won't notice even after the experts try and tell them!!! Got a median blocking access across the highway? No problem, just dump some dirt and drive over it! Have you destroyed hundreds of acres of healthy coastal Crown woodlands and wetlands and wildlife habitat under the false pretext of "cleaning up" old mine sites despite the community's concerns? No problem, Rodney's departments of Natural Resources and Environment will grease the wheels for your "reclamation" of the Prince Mine site the "environmentally right way"! Got acid mine drainage oozing out of everyhwhere the high sulphur coal meets air and water? No problem, the Environment Minister will squelch his inspectors' reports and pass the buck on everything!

October 5th -Nothing appears to be going according to NSDE's approved excavation plan.

Any kid who's dug a hole in the sand at the beach knows what happens when you dig deap enough close to sea water, but apparently Nova Scotia's Environment Department still don't get it. Or perhaps this is why Pioneer still hasn't excavated the rest of the shoreline they plan to highwall mine under 6 months after drilling the dynamite holes and blowing it all up!

October 2nd - Better go visit Tony's Beach before Rodney's Reclamationists cut off the remaining public access along Sherrie Lee Lane so no one can see the trucks hauling the high sulphur coal to the Point Aconi power plant across Morrison Pond that according to the environmental assessment isn't even a wetland despite the obvious. Project creap continues with impunity as more topsoil is removed from outside the approved Mining Blocks, and the facility representative goes about his merry way while the latest minutes of meetings posted at the gas station of the anonymous Community Liaison Committee is dated 19 March 2007!.
September 21-29th - Six weeks have passed since the public notified the Environment Dept. of obvious Acid Mine Drainage being discharged into Coal Hollow Brook and still they will not acknowledge whether they even went to look at it much less do anything about it. Since blasting and excavating our coastal wetlands has affected the area’s hydrology, Acid Mine Drainage can also be seen oozing out of the ground at the nearby tilled area, in drainage ditches along Point Aconi Road, into Brogan’s old mine site, and most likely from the settling ponds that leak into Morrison Pond. Meanwhile, flaunting the fact that Minister Parent continues to turn a blind eye to violations of his Approval, Pioneer has been excavating top soil from across the road and trucking it into the mine site to make it look cleaned up and re-vegetated in a hurry..

NSDE COVERING UP FOR PIONEER COAL!

Proving yet again that they're in the business of covering up for the mining companies instead of monitoring and enforcing the Environment Act, six weeks and two applications for investigation later and still NSDE hasn't so much as inspected Coal Hollow Brook much less admit the results! View CASM's Application for Investigation pursuant to Section 115 of the Environment Act that Minister Parent's Environment Department is already squelching as usual.

September 11, 2008 - Watch out! Blowing up our woodlands and wetlands to smithereens, and ignoring the concerns of residents whose homes are being shaken by the blasts and covered in dust and the smell of smoke, continues to be Rodney's idea of the "environmentally right way" to "clean up" old crop pits across Nova Scotia! And his Environment Dept. still won't say if they've taken any water samples from the site, much less release the results to the public..

“East of the five existing entrances to the underground mine (portals), surface water enters bootleg pits, drains into the Water Level Tunnel and gathers at the water pumping station and then directed into the Prince Mine underground workings. This water is highly acidic and cannot be discharged into the environment untreated. This water is presently stored in the workings; however, ultimately, the storage capacity will be reached and a sustainable solution will be required. Surface mining through this area and subsequent backfilling will eliminate the present requirement.” - Pioneer Coal's EARD
September 7-8th - There's a bit of a stink going on as the field along the Prince Mine Road floods and Pioneer Coal works to put in a new pipeline from the pump house to the old portals. The stockpiling and building of a new processor for coal continues despite the lack of any environmental assessment or approval, and the coal trucks are back on the road kicking up dust as the site manager and facility representative does his thing.

Previous Status Reports:   2006-2007,   2007-2008

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