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Sunday, May 15, 2011

Melancthon Mega Quarry Would Affect Ontario Water Supply: Environmental Assessment Demanded

Current Review Process Inadequate for Massive Proposal
Canada’s largest ever quarry covering 2,316 acres of prime agricultural farmland just north of Toronto, proposes extracting limestone to a level 200 feet below the water table in the Headwaters area of numerous major rivers including the Grand, the Nottawasaga and the Pine. Last week the law firm of Davis LLP, solicitors for the Citizen’s Alliance United for a Sustainable Environment (“CAUSE”), submitted an official request to Ontario Environment Minister John Wilkinson calling on the McGuinty Government to
subject this mega quarry proposal to a Provincial Environmental Assessment.
May 5th, CAUSE and NDACT, issued a press release describing how the proposed quarry could have a long standing impact on the lives of most residents in Southern Ontario:

The mega quarry proposal would entail the ongoing management of 600 million litres of water every day, FOREVER.  The blasting and extraction of limestone would destroy farms that are made up of Honeywood Silt Loam, a unique ‘high land’ horticultural soil with its own classification in the Canadian Soil Registry.  It would interfere with the source water of these major river systems and could place them at risk. 
Carl Cosack, local area farmer, and Vice-Chair of the North Dufferin Agricultural Community Task Force (“NDACT”) stated: “The massive scale and potentially devastating environmental impacts associated with such a large industrial extraction operation warrant the most comprehensive environmental review available,” Mr.Cosack further contends, “I am confident that most Ontarians would be shocked to learn that the government has yet to decide to subject the largest open pit mine of its kind ever contemplated in Ontario to a proper environmental review, “
Currently, the mega quarry proposal requires both a zoning change under the Planning Act, and a licence from the Ministry of Natural Resources under the Provincial Aggregate Resources Act to be subject to an environmental assessment, as it is filed as a quarry, rather than an open pit mine. However,the Provincial Cabinet does have the option of designating this project as an undertaking subject to the more appropriate and comprehensive Environmental Assessment Act.  
Dr. Harvey Kolodny, a Director of the Citizen’s Alliance United for a Sustainable Environment (“CAUSE”) noted:“Consideration of the mega quarry proposal under these two pieces of legislation deprives the people of Ontario of a comprehensive review of the potential impacts that it could have on the environment, and instead effectively punts the approvals process to the Ontario Municipal Board,” Kolodny added,  “We are calling on the Premier to exercise his good judgement to ensure that the interests of Ontarians are properly addressed under the Environmental Assessment review process.”
Local citizens, community-based groups and,environmentally concerned NGO’s, are working together on a number of projects to help fund the legal fees involved to petition the government to intervene in this situation. To find out more information, contact:
Carl Cosack, Vice-Chair, NDACT  519- 925- 6628
Dr. Harvey Kolodny, Director, CAUSE  519-941-1516

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