Related: Other Locales

Northern Ontario’s Grassy Narrows Community

As reported below by TBNewsWatch on Sept. 15, 2015, Asubpeeschoseewagong First Nation (Grassy Narrows) is filing legal proceedings against Ontario.

The water at Grassy Narrows was contaminated in the 1960s and 70s by an estimated 9,000 kg of mercury discharged from a mill in upriver Dryden, Ontario. Devastating health effects ensued in the community, which continue to this day as mercury levels in the community’s waters remain dangerously high.

Now, MNRF-approved clear-cutting is set to begin within the community’s boundaries. It is known that clear-cutting activities can cause leaching of mercury from the soil into adjacent waters. The community is fighting back.

Grassy Narrows Chief Roger Fobister says plans for the province of Ontario to allow logging near the First Nation could expose community members to further mercury contamination.

Grassy Narrows Chief Roger Fobister says plans for the province of Ontario to allow logging near the First Nation could expose community members to further mercury contamination.

The Grassy Narrows community’s urgent concerns about mercury bring forward many of the same issues our group faces, about the responsibility of the MNRF to protect the health of Ontarians, and the integrity of the environment. Here is an excerpt from the TBNewsWatch article:

Despite the word “mercury” not appearing in the provincial 1,200-page logging plan, Ontario refused Grassy Narrows’ request for an enhanced environmental assessment last winter.
The MNRF’s own response to Grassy Narrows’ request for environmental assessment stated that “[t]he potential for forest management activities to result in mobilization of terrestrial mercury into aquatic systems is well documented and a serious concern.”
The ministry goes on to say, “[t]here are no claims that [provincial logging rules] direction and application of the [provincial logging rules] will mitigate or eliminate Hg [mercury] mobilization.”

What’s Happening in New Brunswick with J.D. Irving Ltd.

Citizens of New Brunswick are facing vast and indiscriminate clear-cutting of forests in areas where the land has been enjoyed by generations of people. In New Brunswick’s case, the province’s major industry is forestry, and its major forestry company is J.D. Irving Ltd. As in Northwestern Ontario, the people and workers have experienced odd “log shortages,” area mill closures, encroachment on private property, and loss of forests valued for their beauty, flora and fauna.

In this video, author Charles Thériault interviews Dr.William Parenteau on the practical and ideological facets of the unfolding situation. Nine + minutes – but well worth watching. Dr. Parenteau studied at the University of Maine and the University of New Brunswick, where he completed his doctoral thesis on the development of the pulp and paper industry in New Brunswick.

 

Please visit Charles Thériault’s website, “Is Our Forest Really Ours?” for more excellent materials on the various facets of this urgent problem. Consider supporting his cause. Please also visit their Facebook Page.

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