Environmental groups unite to press concerns over strip mining
Two local environmental groups are joining together with others in the province requesting public consultations for communities affected by strip mining.
In a letter addressed to Natural Resources Minister Charlie Parker and Environment Minister Sterling Belliveau, Peter Boyles of Hillside-Trenton Environmental Watch Association and Patty Lloyd of Evansville have joined other groups asking a “full and frank discussion regarding the issues and significant adverse effects of strip and open pit mining operations in our communities.”
“We have protested with the group from Point Auconi before and they’ve come down here with us,” said Boyles. “The strip mining and blasting down there is causing problems and if they can’t mine coal then they can’t burn it here. We are all in this together.”
The groups, which also include Gays River Valley Environmental Protection Association, Citizens Against Strip Mining Boularderie Island, Cape Breton, Ecology Action Centre, Sierra Club Canada, Eastern Shore Forest Watch Association and The Partnership for the Sustainable Development of Digby Neck and Islands want to meet with both ministers in Cape Breton no later than August 20.
“Since 2005 we have had dozens of meetings with, and sent hundreds of letters to, a series of staff and ministers of Natural Resources and Environment regarding strip mining and open pit mining in Point Aconi, Evansville, Stellarton, Moose River and Gays River, and the message we have received is that the government most certainly does not take consultation with the public seriously,” the letter states.
The groups say they are constantly referred back to the “ineffective community liaison committees, local inspectors, and stacks of regulations” and such a response is no longer acceptable.
“The decision as to what information to release comes from high level bureaucrats and ministers. The policy of giving preference to mining ‘clients’ and keeping taxpayers in the dark, is many decades out of date and fiscally imprudent,” the letter states.
The groups say that by joining together, their voice will be stronger so that they will be able to get a “fair hearing and some honest answers.”