Conservation Council of New Brunswick headed to court

CCNB News Release
Conservation Council of New Brunswick
Feb. 20, 2004

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. Coburn.

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:

David Coon
Policy Director
Conservation Council of New Brunswick
180 St. John Street
Fredericton, New Brunswick
E3B 4A9

Phone: (506) 458-8747
Fax: (506) 458-1047