Ontario says no to environmental assessment designation for gravel mine.
Early in December 2004 the Ontario Ministry of Environment said no to a request to designate a proposed gravel mining operation here for under the province’s Environmental Assessment Act. The province’s action has the project’s opponents gearing up for a new phase.
The Ministry’s decision says existing laws—in particular the recently applied Aggregate Resources act—already address concerns. Concerned Citizens for Michipicoten Bay (CCMB)—a local residents group formed to raise awareness about potential threats posed by the gravel mining project has been outspoken about the inadequacies of the ARA.
CCMB lists concerns about what The Aggregate Resources Act will not do:
They also worry that permitting the gravel mine to go forward under ARA license implies a precedent in planning for future activities on the Lake Superior coast, a precedent they hope to question by challenging the Township’s plan amendment before to the Ontario Municipal Board. A 2001 Ontario Geological Survey study identifies more than a dozen similar bodies of rock in close proximity to deep-water harbors for transport.
CCMB’s Mark Leschishin says the Ministry’s failure to move for an EA is a real blow and that his group is going to be looking for lots of help, money and technical experts as they prepare their case for the Ontario Municipal Board. More information about Michipicoten Bay is online at: www.ccmb.ca.