Conservation Council of New Brunswick headed to court
After months of public threats to sue New Brunswick's award winning
environmental group, the Conservation Council and its Science Advisor Inka
Milewski, Bennett Environmental Inc. is commencing legal proceedings. It is
seeking damages for statements it claims were defamatory.
"This is nothing more than a SLAPP suit (Strategic Litigation Against
Public Participation) to try to silence us," said Stephanie Coburn, the
Conservation Council's President. "We will not be intimidated into silence.
This is a project designed to incinerate toxic chemicals shipped into our
province in truck load after truck load of contaminated soil," said Ms.
Bennett Environmental is building a controversial incinerator in Belledune,
New Brunswick on the Bay of Chaleur. The Province exempted it from a full
public environmental impact assessment and is permitting it to process
creosote and non-chlorinated wastes that have contaminated soils and other
solid materials. It will also be allowed to take soils lightly contaminated
with PCBs, chlorinated hydrocarbons and dioxins. Local property owners are
appealing to have the plant's building permit revoked.
"While it appears that some in government went to great lengths to ensure
this plant was exempted from a public environmental impact assessment, this
court case will put the project and the health risk assessment study used
to justify it, under the microscope," said Inka Milewski, the Conservation
Council's Science Advisor.
John Bennett, President of Bennett Environmental has publicly accused the
Conservation Council of spreading lies, exploiting the issue for
fundraising purposes, and damaging the environmental movement in Canada
through its actions. The Conservation Council is a recipient of the United
Nations prestigious Global 500 environmental award and one of Canada's
oldest environmental organizations.
"Importing someone else's toxic problem from the United States to New
Brunswick for treatment is fundamentally unjust," said David Coon, the
environmental organization's Policy Director. "It has been our position for
years that hazardous waste should be treated as close to its source as
possible - which is a specific aim of the UN's Basel Convention on
Controlling the Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Waste," said Coon.
In a company news release from June 2nd of last year, John Bennett said
that the $200 million contract they had been awarded to process 300,000
tonnes of creosote contaminated soil from a U.S. Superfund site in New
Jersey "provides a good base load of material for our proposed new soil
treatment facility in Belledune . . ."
For more information visit:
Conservation Council of New Brunswick
180 St. John Street
Fredericton, New Brunswick
Phone: (506) 458-8747
Fax: (506) 458-1047