Cullen calls for strong action on contaminated sites Published: August 19, 2008 11:00 PM
“It really hit me that so many of the ridings with the most contaminated sites were northern, or rural, or heavily First Nations in population. (MP Cullen)Dear Friends,It took a while but, this is is exactly what I had hoped would happen from my press releases and the other emails I sent to 2,500 people including: every MP in Canada, all opposition candidates for each Federal riding where there were 9 or more Federal toxic sites plus, to hundreds of media, Environmental and Social/Justice NGO's Worldwide, hundreds of First Nations, Métis and Inuit leaders, hundreds of 'Grassroots' people and Dr.'s and scientists worldwide. Unity amongst all people is all I am seeking on this issue. Think, for a moment, of the children who might be left with this toxic legacy if we ignore it in our generation! Now, perhaps, this toxic mess in Canada will finally be cleaned up before even more people get sick!Link to One of Many news articles on this topic in the last few days:For Land and Life,John H.W. HummelPollution Researcher,Nelson, B.C.Canada
Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen has reacted strongly to the Aug. 13 LD News story detailing that 984 federal contaminated sites are located in his riding, the highest total for federal ridings in B.C., and the second-highest in Canada.
“I’ve been the NDP’s Environment critic in Parliament for four years, and I’ve never even seen this report,” commented Cullen.
“It really hit me that so many of the ridings with the most contaminated sites were northern, or rural, or heavily First Nations in population.
What really struck me was how many sites had no action plan and no site management strategy,” he said.
The Treasury Board database came to the notice of MPs due to the efforts of a toxics researcher in Nelson, B.C.
“It just shows what citizens can do when they’re determined to fight pollution,” said Cullen.
“I think the number of contaminated sites in Skeena-Bulkley Valley may be a little high; I went through and sampled the database, and some sites appear to be duplicated,” he commented.
“But, still, we need the Treasury Board to step up, and any individual owners who are responsible for those contaminated sites.
We need to be more strict, and have better laws. Anyone who contaminates a site ought to have to post bonds to take care of clean-up costs. We need better protection.
There’s two issues: the list itself, and adding to the list. That’s what we don’t want. In order to stop the list of contaminated sites growing, people have to know they’re going to be hit with fines, if they don’t adhere to the laws.”
He said the policy of the federal Conservative government is woefully inadequate. “We release toxins into the environment, and find them in the products we buy, and the government just blinks.”
“Ignorance is not an excuse; especially if it’s willful. There were no laws, and no fines, but that can’t go on. We can no longer pretend there is no cost to pollution.”
“If you have 6,000 metres of contaminated soil, you can’t just put in a front end loader and clean it up in an afternoon. Some of those sites could take years to clean up, and it could take hundreds of millions of dollars, if not billions.”
The President of the Treasury Board and the Minister of the Environment should be aware of the report.
“They’re given briefings by their officials,” he said.
Cullen said the NDP caucus intends to put pressure on both ministers to get some action.
“As the party’s Environment critic, I’ve alerted all NDP MPs as to the contaminated sites database. We’re going to meet as a caucus and develop a policy we hope to take to an all-party committee in Parliament.
We need some action across party lines on this. The contaminated sites are a national problem. We need to band together to clean up these sites, and then enact tougher legislation to protect future generations,” he concluded.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Federal contamination of Indigenous lands John Hummel has created a usable database of federal contaminated sites by federal riding, and has alerted federal MP's. Excellent work John!!