John Perkins spokesperson for Sustainable Northern Nova Scotia says “SuNNS membership and Tatamagouche area residents are pleased to hear the Ministry of Energy and Mines is committed to capping a leaking exploration drill hole in the French River Watershed”.
Perkins notes “this is a big change in the Ministry of Energy and Mines
approach to this contaminating drill hole.” Frances Willick reported in a January 25 CBC article that Don James, Ministry of Energy and Mines, had stated “the responsibility for the hole now rests with the landowner”. “Mines and Energy’s reversal indicates the power of a Free Press, the effectiveness of local community advocacy groups like SuNNS and the power of municipal governments to bring pressure on the provincial government” says Perkins.
“The contaminating drill hole sits in the French River watershed, the sole source of water for the Village of Tatamagouche, so I think the Municipality of Colchester and area Councilor Michael Gregory were very upset when Mines and Energy failed to contact them regarding their plans to not address the polluting drill hole” says SuNNS member Paul Jenkinson.
“The discovery of one uncapped contaminating drill hole on Warwick Mountain and the possibility of more leaking drill holes has raised the spectre of 780 other unmonitored mining exploration drill holes across the province”, Perkins notes.
SuNNS is asking the Ministry of Energy and Mines to immediately instruct staff to visit all drill hole sites and return in 6 months with a report on their condition.
SuNNS is asking Minister Mombourquette to issue an order that any polluting drill holes be immediately capped by the Ministry of Energy and Mines, upon discovery of their “leaking” status.
SuNNS is asking Minister Mombourquette to remove new regulatory language that allows landowners to request wells remain uncapped.
SuNNS once again calls on the Ministry of Energy and Mines to abandon plans to issue a Request for Proposals for gold mining exploration or development in the French River Watershed and the six other watersheds in the current Enclosure Area.
SuNNS further supports the efforts of the Municipality of Colchester as it seeks “Protected“ status for the French River Watershed under the Environmental Act given that the French River is the sole source of water for the Village of Tatamagouche.