Allison Kilkenny: Unreported

Canadian government dumping toxic waste in Arctic

Posted in deregulation, environment, world by allisonkilkenny on May 30, 2010

Colin Horgan follows up on an article I wrote about BP racing up to Canada in order to get northern legislators to deregulate their industry (because that worked out super well in America). This time, the villain is the Canadian government itself.

After two years and a request under the Access to Information Act, the Canadian Press has revealed that there have been numerous toxic spills and dumps in the Arctic, and that “one of the most frequent offenders is the federal government.”

The CP report continues:

The analysis found 260 spills in the North over five years. There were 137 spills in the Northwest Territories, 82 in Nunavut and 41 in the Yukon.

The biggest spill happened in Nunavut two years ago. Residents of Hall Beach marked Canada Day in 2008 with a dike failure that released 13.5 million litres of sewage in their remote hamlet.

Environment Canada says sewage seeped out of a lagoon into a wetlands area. The sewage didn’t make it into any bodies of water where fish could be affected.

[…]

Some spills took weeks or even months to clean up, while others were dealt with in a day or less.

The government’s tracking system is riddled with holes, including the sizes of the spilled containments, and the responsible parties. Basically, it appears as though anyone could get away with dumping anything — no matter how large the container — anonymously.

A lot of people incorrectly assume something like a fuel leak has a definitive beginning and end that spans — at the longest — a few months. This newest report shows how wrong that rationale is.

In one case, an unspecified amount of diesel seeped from a container in the Yukon for 2,013 days — more than five years — before someone finally plugged the leak.

Bad, bad stuff. Read the whole thing here.

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