Canada’s leading environmental law organization, Sierra Legal, joined forces today with the Petitcodiac Riverkeeper in an on-going legal battle to protect New Brunswick’s Petitcodiac River from toxic pollution. The groups will be in court in Moncton tomorrow, Tuesday December 19, 2006, to support the federal government in its bid to hold Gemtec Limited accountable for pollution of the Petitcodiac.
Represented by Sierra Legal, Petitcodiac Riverkeeper will ask the Court of Queen’s Bench for permission to participate in tomorrow’s appeal, launched by Gemtec to overturn its earlier conviction under the federal Fisheries Act. In April 2006, this engineering firm was convicted of depositing toxic leachate from the Moncton landfill
into Jonathan Creek, a tributary of the Petitcodiac River.
Petitcodiac Riverkeeper first brought concerns with water pollution caused by the Moncton landfill to light in 2000. The organization sampled and then had tested in a laboratory the leachate running from the landfill into Jonathan Creek. When the Riverkeeper’s efforts revealed that the leachate was toxic to fish, Environment Canada
decided to investigate, which ultimately led to the federal government laying charges against the City of Moncton and Gemtec Limited.
“Since our investigation six years ago, we have remained committed to this issue and to the health of the Petitcodiac River,” said Michel Desjardins, President of the Petitcodiac Riverkeeper. “We are looking forward to continuing our collaborations to enforce environmental law within our local watersheds.”
“The Fisheries Act is Canada’s most important law to protect Canada’s lakes and rivers. It allows everybody who causes or permits pollution to be held accountable,” said Lara Tessaro, Staff Lawyer at Sierra Legal. “We hope to advocate in this appeal for a strong Fisheries Act that will prevent water pollution and conserve fish habitat.”
Sierra Legal will appear before the Court at 9:30 a.m. to request permission to intervene, and representatives of the environmental groups will be available to speak to the media at 1:30 p.m. in front of 770 Main St, Assumption Place. The appeal will continue through the day, in the courthouse on the 2nd floor of 770 Main St. Assumption Place.