City of Montreal under investigation by feds
City’s toxic mess sparks quasi-criminal investigation.
“Take note that an investigation under the Fisheries Act is presently underway,” declares Environment Canada in a letter received Thursday by the Environmental Bureau of Investigation (EBI).
The declaration kicks off a federal government investigation into the alarming concentrations of PCBs and PAHs discharging daily into the St. Lawrence River from an old hazardous waste site in Montreal. The Technoparc is located near the Victoria St. bridge, just eight city blocks from the Notre Dame Cathedral in Old Montreal.
Environment Canada’s decision to investigate is seen as an important step by environmentalists.
“PCBs and other toxins have been pouring into the St. Lawrence River twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week for at least eighteen months now,” says Mark Mattson, EBI’s executive director and an environmental lawyer.
“Environmental laws like the Federal Fisheries Act are powerful – they’re meant to protect our environment and our communities and we wholeheartedly support Environment Canada’s decision to enforce them,” Mattson says.
The Environment Canada investigation comes in the wake of a report issued by EBIthis month. The report includes evidence that toxic contaminants such as PCBs pouring into the river in concentrations more than 8.5 million times government guidelines. PCB contamination of the St. Lawrence River has negatively affected beluga whale populations and has made eating fish in the river a public health risk.
EBI – Canada’s only environmental group solely dedicated to investigating pollution crimes for the purposes of criminal prosecutions – began monitoring the Technoparc site in the fall of 2000 at the request of Montreal-based Société pour Vaincre la Pollution.
-30-Contact: Mark Mattson, Executive Director Environmental Bureau of Investigation T) 416.964.9223 x. 244 E)