News Release August 30/2001

Counsel for the Ontario Attorney General withdraws radiation pollution charge   by EBI

“Environmentalists and local residents object.”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE August 30, 2001

DELORO, ON — Independent prosecutor Ian Scott announced in court today that he is dropping the case against the Ontario government, accused of allowing radioactive waste to pollute the town of Deloro in eastern Ontario.

Scott, appointed by the Ontario Attorney General, took control of the prosecution after Tom Adams, the executive director of environmental watchdog Energy Probe, charged the province privately in 1998 under the Environmental Protection Act. “The charge had some benefits. After being charged, the government removed radioactive material from the town, including the public playground, and fenced the site,” says Adams, who also works as an investigator with the Environmental Bureau of Investigation (EBI).

“We are disappointed that an opportunity has been lost to deter radioactive waste site operators from polluting. This prosecution would have sent a clear message to the operators of this site in particular and all operators in general that pollution is not acceptable,” says Adams.

Scott’s decision to drop the charge follows the acquittal of the Ontario government on other privately laid charges related to massive heavy metal pollution of the Moira River and Young’s Creek. These waterways flow through the Deloro site, which was contaminated by industrial activities that commenced in the 1860s.

Janet Fletcher, associate director of EBI and the informant in the acquitted heavy metal pollution charges, said, “We are continuing our Deloro investigations, documenting the environmental insults in the area.”

Scott’s decision to discontinue the case also came as a disappointment to 40-year old Deloro resident John Bicknell. Bicknell, who has lived in Deloro for 17 years, was recently diagnosed with leukemia.

“After the industrial operations shut down, the site became a playground where the children from the town played. Although the company and many federal and provincial government agencies knew about the hazards, nobody warned us then and no one has been held accountable since. I was hoping that the trial would force some disclosure and clarify some of the responsibly for the site.”

-30-For more information, please contact: Tom Adams Tel. 416-964-9223 ext. 239 E-mail: tomadams@nextcity.com

Janet Fletcher Tel. 613-546-7869 E-mail: JFletcher@ctg.queensu.ca

John Bicknell Tel. 705-696-1645 E-mail: bic@eagle.ca

 

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