Citizens Guide to Environmental Investigation and Private Prosecution


Appendix F  –  Example of a press release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONCERNED CITIZENS OF DARK WATER TOWN

The ABC Plant Charged for Killing Fish

Dark Water Town, June 26, 1999 – In a private prosecution, the ABC Plant in Dark Water Town has been charged with five counts under the federal Fisheries Act for releasing a toxic substance into the Great Blue River. Jane Bass, executive director of the new environmental group, Concerned Citizens of Dark Water Town, laid the charges yesterday.

ABC Inc. has operated ABC Plant since 1970. “There have been many complaints of fish kills and dark stains along the shorelines of the Blue for many years now, but no action has been taken to remedy the situation,” said Ms. Bass. The samples taken by Ms. Bass and John Bridge, a member of Concerned Citizens of Dark Water Town, were analyzed by XYZ Laboratories and showed elevated levels of metals and petroleum-based compounds. Rainbow trout exposed to the samples of the ABC Plant effluent died within a few hours of exposure.

The Great Blue River is a popular site among white-water rafters and anglers. A recent biological survey by the Ministry of the Environment indicated a significant decline in biodiversity and a decrease in fish population downstream from the site since the ABC Plant started its operations.

“We have obtained documents that show that the plant was in breach of its Certificate of Approval nine times over the past two years. The plant managers are aware that their effluent is toxic to the aquatic life in this stream, and yet, they do nothing,” stated Mr. Bridge.

The first court appearance will take place at the Dark Water Town Provincial Court House, 123 Main Street, on August 2, at 10 a.m.

A PRESS CONFERENCE WILL BE HELD AT THE GATES OF THE ABC PLANT, 9 PARADISE LOST ROAD, DARK WATER TOWN ON JUNE 28 AT 10 A.M.

Contacts: Jane Bass Executive Director Concerned Citizens of Dark Water Town Phone: (987) 654-3210

Dana Smith Laboratory Technician XYZ Laboratories Phone: (987) 987-6543

George Thompson President ABC Inc. Phone: (987) 765-4321

Mary Anderson Environmental Inspector Ministry of the Environment
Phone: (987) 654-3210

Photographs, video, backgrounder, and synopsis of the case are available on request.

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