Tag Archives: ontario

Saugeen Ojibwe and U.S. Politicians Oppose Nuclear Waste Burial Near Lake Huron

AP PHOTO/JOHN FLESHER
Currently intermediate-level radioactive waste rests in shallow pits at the Bruce Power nuclear complex near Kincardine, Ontario. Ontario Power Generation, a quasi-public company owned by the provincial government, wants to bury it. 
by Martha Troian, 12/12/13  Source: Indian Country Today 

A controversial proposal to bury nuclear waste a half mile from Lake Huron’s shoreline in Ontario is proceeding over indigenous objections in a plan that has repercussions on both sides of the U.S.–Canada border.

Opposition to the plan, which would inter low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste about 2,230 feet underground in solid rock, is sparking opposition from Indigenous Peoples and U.S. politicians alike.

“We have a long list of fears, legitimate fears in our community about these facilities, interaction with our rights, our interests and our way of life,” said Saugeen Ojibwe Nation Chief Randall Kahgee to Indian Country Today Media Network.

The Saugeen Ojibwe is one of several indigenous communities opposing the application of Ontario Power Generation for a license to store nuclear waste in an underground facility. Ontario Power, a public company owned by the provincial government, is one of the largest power generators in North America. It wants to construct a deep geologic repository—akin to a mine shaft—for storing low and intermediate-level nuclear waste within the municipality of Kincardine. The repository would be located at an existing nuclear site known as the Bruce Generating Station, where there is already a nuclear waste-management facility. The waste in question is stored there above-ground, or in shallow pits.

A three-member joint review panel appointed by the Canadian Nuclear Regulator, which oversees nuclear projects in Canada, wrapped up weeks of hearings at the end of October. The panel received submissions from disparate parties ranging from the public, to non-profit organizations, to indigenous groups and U.S. politicians. The panel will report to Canada’s environment ministry after reviewing the testimony and documents, and the federal government will issue the final decision sometime in the spring.

Kincardine agreed to host the waste in return for $35.7 million that Ontario Power will pay the town and some neighboring communities over 30 years. The facility would be about 2,300 feet (680 meters) below ground, built to store low and intermediate-level nuclear waste from the power generator’s nuclear plants all over the province. Materials include the ashes of items used at nuclear facilities such as mops, clothes, floor sweepings and gloves, according to theCanadian Press. Intermediate-level waste comprises things like filters, resins and reactor components. The site has been studied and analyzed by engineers, geologists, geoscientists and hydrologists and is safe for this purpose, Ontario Power officials told ICTMN.

“This is 450-million-year-old rock where we propose to store the low and intermediate waste,” said company spokesperson Neal Kelly. “It can be safely stored, and there are multiple, natural barriers around it.”

Company experts predict the rock will remain stable, which means the risk of radioactive leaks from the site is minute. The area is not known for earthquakes. Nor does it hold any resource potential, which eliminates the likelihood of people digging in the area in the future, Kelly said.

But this is not enough for Kahgee, whose Saugeen Ojibwe Nation lies on the shores of Lake Huron.

“We’ve been very careful how we’ve maneuvered ourselves with respect to this project,” said Kahgee. “Our people should not have to shoulder the burden for the industry forever. That is something that is not contemplated in our treaties.”

The Saugeen Ojibway Nation said they were never even consulted about construction of the Bruce Generating Station in the 1960s, despite its being located on their traditional territory. Bruce Power, the generating station’s parent company, is the outfit that two years ago proposed to ship defunct radioactive steam generators by boat through the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence Seaway to Sweden for recycling.

RELATED: Bruce Power Radioactive Shipment: What Could Possibly Go Wrong? Right?

Kahgee, who made three submissions to the joint review panel, said new issues kept arising out of the hearings, such as Ontario Power’s desire to eventually store decommissioned waste there. But Kelly said the company would have to undergo another round of regulatory hearings to do so.

But that is just what alarms Kahgee, and it only validates his community’s longstanding fears about Ontario Power’s intentions. Ontario Power’s president vowed not to put a shovel in the ground without Saugeen Ojibwe approval. The company has also agreed to deal with past grievances.

Stop The Great Lakes Nuclear Dump, a non-profit organization, has also spoken out against the project, collecting nearly 42,000 signatures in an online petition by late November. Notable signatories included reknowned Canadian environmentalist David Suzuki, Democratic Michigan State Senator Hoon-Yung Hopwood and Farley Mowat, a Canadian author. The organization has several concerns, said spokesperson Beverly Fernandaz, foremost among them being the site’s proximity to North America’s greatest fresh water supply, depended upon by 40 million people in two countries.

“A bulk of [Ontario Power’s] outreach was in the local communities,” she said, most of whose residents work for Ontario Power or Bruce Power, or are retirees receiving a salary or pension from the nuclear industry.

Moreover, Ontario Power did not inform New York, Ohio, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Quebec or other Ontario communities outside of Bruce County, Fernandez said. However, Ontario Power has held hundreds of briefings over the past seven years, Kelly countered. Hearings or no, the opposition is strong in Michigan, which lies on the other side of Lake Huron from Ontario.

“Neither the U.S. nor Canada can afford the risk of polluting the Great Lakes with toxic nuclear waste,” U.S. Representatives Dan Kildee, Sander Levin, John Dingell and Gary Peters of Michigan said in a letter submitted to the panel, according to the Canadian Press.

These echo the concerns of the Saugeen Ojibwe.

“We do not think there’s a sufficient record in front of the panel to make the recommendation for this project to proceed,” said Kahgee.

But while his First Nation doesn’t appear willing to store nuclear waste, other areas seem a little more open to the idea. Recently four communities in northwestern Ontario received $400,000 from Nuclear Waste Management Organization for finishing the first round of study into becoming possible storage sites.

Read more at http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2013/12/12/saugeen-ojibwe-and-us-politicians-oppose-nuclear-waste-burial-near-lake-huron-152670

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Swamp Line 9 tar sands pipeline occupation update

12 August, 2013. Source: Swamp Line 9

banner(HAMILTON, ON) On Wednesday August 14th the thirteen individuals arrested and charged under the Trespass to Property Act during a blockade of a local oil pumping station will have their first court appearance. On the morning of June 26th, 2013 eighteen people were arrested for participating in a six day occupation of Enbridge’s North Westover Pumping Station. Thirteen of those individuals were charged with trespass, four with mischief to property and one with break and enter in a direct action dubbed ‘Swamp Line 9’.

The protesters have defended their actions and remain committed to fighting the expansion of Line 9, which is why a demonstration has been called for Wednesday prior to their scheduled court appearances.

“It’s absurd that we are being criminalized for trying to protect the land and water while Enbridge is free to destroy and pollute it” David Prychitka states. “Their crimes are killing people and our government continues to let them do so unabated.”

Public records show that in just the past few years Enbridge has been fined $7.2 million for nearly 700 separate instances of environmental infractions. Just last month Enbridge was found to have been operating in Hamilton without the proper permits for nearly forty years – a lapse that was allowed to occur, some say, due to a lack of oversight and reliance on industry to regulate themselves. Continue reading

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Breaking: Occupation launched at Enbridge’s Line 9 pipeline in Ontario

June 20, 2013. Source: Swamp Line 9

Representatives from Six Nations speak to reporters.  "Enbridge is operating in our territory without any consultation with is, and that's outrageous.  We're here for all people and their children - It's not just native people anymore."  Photo: @AdamCarterCBC

Representatives from Six Nations speak to reporters. “Enbridge is operating in our territory without any consultation with us, and that’s outrageous. We’re here for all people and their children – It’s not just native people anymore.” Photo: @AdamCarterCBC

As this statement is released, we are digging in and occupying Enbridge’s North Westover Pump Station in the Beverly Swamp. We have done this to stop construction in preparation for the reversal of their Line 9 Pipeline to carry toxic diluted bitumen from the Alberta Tar Sands through our communities and watersheds, likely for export.

For the past year, we have organized in our communities across Southern Ontario to raise awareness of Enbridge’s plan to reverse Line 9. Increased awareness quickly lead to concern and to a desire from our communities to at the very least make our voices heard about our opposition to this project. What we found was a rigged game, where the political party most indebted to the oil industry had taken spectacular measures to remove the usual environmental oversights from Line 9 and other pipeline projects. The Line 9 reversal is, from the perspective of the powerful, a foregone conclusion and they have insultingly offered only the most meaningless opportunities for public engagement.

Of course, we understand that even if there had been a full Environmental Assessment, this project would still be going ahead. If anything, the federal government simply had the good courtesy to be honest that they just don’t give a shit what anyone thinks. Although we have few illusions about process, it is very much the case that the removal of the usual process is what has lead to this exceptional step of occupying a construction site. Deprived of all other options for dissent, the move to direct action to stop this reversal is obvious to even the most law-abiding of people. Perhaps we should thank the federal government for removing the usual sham of participation to make it clear that there is no pipeline debate – there is just a pipeline fight.

We are establishing a camp on Enbridge property in the middle of the Beverly Swamp, the largest remaining forested wetland in Southern Ontario. The health of this wetland is crucial to the health of the Spencer Creek, which feeds Cootes Paradise, the beautiful marshland that forms the western end of Lake Ontario. Protecting the water is vitally important — once water is poisoned, it can’t be undone. Continue reading

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Ethical Enbridge? The real story of Line 9 and the tar sands gigaproject

By Dave Vasey, Skura Saunders, and Sonia Grant, January 23 2013. Source: Rabble

Image: Rabble.ca

Image: Rabble.ca

Enbridge’s Line 9 reversal project has become a hot button issue in Ontario as Big Oil seeks to expand tar sands markets in the 401 corridor, the U.S. and potentially Europe. Line 9 runs from Sarnia, Ontario to Montreal, Quebec, passing within 50 km of an estimated 9.1 million people, including 18 First Nation communities, and directly through 99 towns and cities. In true Orwellian language, the reversal is being sold to the public as a jobs-creating, low impact, and ‘ethical’ project. It is none of these things.

Early in the application process, Enbridge misled the public by promoting the Line 9 reversal as part of its $3.2 billion “Light Oil Market Access” initiative. Pressure by environmental groups clarified Enbridge’s intent to pump tar sands dilbit through Line 9. The early mistrust established by Enbridge foreshadows the ethical doublespeak the public is expected to embrace with the Line 9 reversal. Indeed, the tar sands gigaproject is one of the most violent projects on Earth and the extraction of dirty fuel represents at once a blatant case of environmental racismclimate chaos, and ecological catastrophe. Continue reading

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A decade of resistance and renewal: First Nation celebrates longest running logging blockades in Canada

By Anna Willow, December 3, 2012.  Source: Media Coop

grassnarrowsOn December 3rd of 2002, members of Grassy Narrows First Nation launched a direct action blockade to prevent the passage of logging trucks and equipment through their traditional territory.  This December marks the 10th anniversary of the Grassy Narrows blockade, now the longest running logging blockade in Canadian history.  Located fifty miles north of Kenora (a small Canadian city on the north shore of Lake of the Woods), Grassy Narrows is a semi-remote Anishinaabe community with an on-reserve population near 950.  For generations, the people of Grassy Narrows have hunted, trapped, fished, and gathered throughout a vast 2,500-square-mile region drained by northwestern Ontario’s English-Wabigoon River system.  Not only their livelihood, but their culture, language, and spirituality are closely connected to their boreal forest homeland.

In the 1990s, as industrial logging intensified across Canada, Anishinaabe subsistence harvesters watched clearcuts grow larger and draw closer to their 14-square-mile reserve with growing unease.  They wrote letters to logging companies and government officials, but received no substantive response.  They conducted peaceful protests in Kenora, Toronto, and Montreal, but the clearcutting continued.  They requested environmental assessments and judicial reviews, but were only met with rejection and bureaucratic stalling.  It was time to take a stand.  One frigid early winter night, residents of Grassy Narrows decided enough was enough.  Three young community members placed logs across a snow-covered logging road north of the reserve.  They were soon joined by dozens of community leaders, teachers, and youth.

For most of us, ten years pass in the blink of an eye.  In the whirlwind of family, friends, work, and life that fills each day (3,652 of them in this case) we rarely pause to take stock of what has or hasn’t changed.  Anniversaries inspire this kind of reflection.  In ten years, children become teenagers.  Teenagers become adults and start families of their own.  Beloved elders depart.  And the rest of us continue traveling along the paths we choose—or the paths that choose us.  The blockade has stood for ten years, but Grassy Narrows residents have fought for the right to make decisions concerning their traditional territory and to keep their land-based culture alive for much longer.
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Hundreds rally for Indigenous Rights at mining convention in Ontario, Canada

Chief challenges Ontario government to avert escalated conflict with mining company Gods Lake Resources on Indigenous Lands in northern Ontario

Toronto – Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI) Councilors are rallying with hundreds of supporters today outside the world’s leading mining exploration convention while members of the remote Indigenous Nation mobilize on the ground to prevent mining exploration company Gods Lake Resources (GLR) from desecrating sacred burials on KI Homeland.  Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI) is more than 377 miles north of Thunder Bay, in northern Ontario.

“We are mobilized to go to Sherman Lake to protect our land.  I cannot allow our graves to be desecrated by a company that is hiring private security to trespass on our Homeland by force.  That is no way to do business,” said Chief Morris.

On Sunday the Ontario government unilaterally withdrew 23,181 sq km of land in KI Homeland from mining exploration in response to KI’s longstanding decision to place a full moratorium on industry in our Indigenous Homeland.  However, the claims and leases at the heart of KI’s conflict with GLR are unaffected by ON’s move and the dispute over protection of our burials and sacred landscape remains unresolved.

The Ministry of Northern Development and Mines has indicated that GLR intends to access the site this month, and refuses to answer whether GLR is on the land today.  KI Chief Morris said in a Feb. 16 youtube video that his community was mobilizing and he feared that the situation would escalate.  In a March 1 news release GLR indicated that they are looking to hire private security for their drill program – a potentially explosive move.   A KI team is traveling to the Sherman Lake site today to conduct reconnaissance.

Leaders from KI are in Toronto this week protesting at the world’s leading mining exploration convention.

KI gained national attention in 2008 when six of its leaders were jailed for opposing mining company Platinex.  Major unions and organizations are joining forces with KI Indigenous Nation to insist that mining Minister Bartoluccui stop exploration on KI’s land before Ontario taxpayers have to foot the bill. In 2009, Platinex received $5-million plus mediation for ceding their claim to KI Lands.

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