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Press Release

July 27, 2017 

Nova Scotia’s Public Prosecution Service has taken over the Harrietsfield private prosecution.

Action by the public prosecutor comes two months after Harrietsfield resident Marlene Brown launched the first private prosecution of an environmental offence in Nova Scotia.

“It has taken a long time, but I am relieved that the government is finally stepping in to enforce the Environment Act. This is what we have been asking them to do for years,” says Brown.

The community of Harrietsfield has been living with contaminated drinking water for more than a decade.

“Despite Ministerial Orders against the companies and individuals responsible for the contamination, nothing has been done to remediate the site,” notes Ms. Brown’s lawyer, Jamie Simpson.

As a means of last resort, Ms. Brown charged two numbered companies and one individual for releasing substances causing an adverse effect into the environment and for failing to comply with Ministerial Orders, under sections 67 and 132 of Nova Scotia’s Environment Act. The charges were laid on May 18, 2017.

“This is an important case and we would like to see all of the charges presented to the court,” states Lisa Mitchell, Executive Director of the East Coast Environmental Law Association. The Association has been assisting Marlene Brown and other residents of Harrietsfield since 2013 and is currently supporting the private prosecution.

The next court appearance on this matter is August 21, 2017 at 10:00 am.


For more information:

Jamie Simpson, 902 817 1737, [email protected]
Lisa Mitchell, 902 670 1113, [email protected]
Marlene Brown, [email protected]

Thursday, October 26th - Friday, October 27th 


Over the LineWhat would a different conversation about the relationship between race, place, space, and the environment in Indigenous and Black communities look like?

How can we best acknowledge the links between environmental racism, climate change, climate justice, a justice-based transition to a fossil-free economy, community-based aspects of renewable energy, energy policy, gentrification, the built environment, urban planning, planning policies, and urban justice?

What are the possible public health advocacy responses to existing or proposed industrial projects and other environmental hazards near Indigenous and Black communities?

What can Nova Scotian, Canadian and American community members, professors, researchers, students, environmental organizations, NGOs, health professionals, and policymakers learn from one another about using research, policy, and community activism to address the social, economic, and health impacts of the relationship between race, place, space, and the environment in Indigenous and Black communities?

Organized & Hosted by the ENRICH Project and the Healthy Populations Institute.

Check out the Facebook event page for more information!

Species Banner 

From June 13-15, Mike Kofahl, ECELAW’s Articled Clerk, traveled to Ottawa to attend the Oceans 20 – Oceans Act Workshop. The event, which was organized and hosted by West Coast Environmental Law in partnership with the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS), the David Suzuki Foundation and the Ecology Action Centre (EAC), involved participants and speakers from coast to coast to coast in Canada, as well as abroad, in both the public and private sectors. Participants included law groups, environmental groups, fisheries associations, Indigenous communities and organizations, scientists and academics, policy-makers and politicians.

The main purpose of the conference was to discuss ways to improve Canada’s Oceans Act to enable a better, more effective process for the establishment of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). The motivation for the conference was the fact that Canada’s Oceans Act is now 20 years old and needs a comprehensive review of and amendments to some of the most important deficiencies in the Act, especially as they relate to MPAs.


Blog Post cover banner Photo: Natasha Kruitwagen

In the spring of 2016, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development launched a review of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA). This week, the Committee tabled its Report: a hefty document entitled Healthy Environment, Healthy Canadians, Healthy Economy: Strengthening the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999. The Report makes key recommendations to strengthen and improve the CEPA, and as there have been no substantial reviews or changes to the Act since 1999, we are excited and encouraged by this development. The world is constantly evolving, and it's crutial that our legislation evolve with it so that Canada's environmental laws remain responsive to current scientific knowledge and public needs. 


Halifax, NS - Sierra Club Canada Foundation and East Coast Environmental Law are hosting a panel discussion on the case to stop the Digby Quarry and implications of trade agreements on our ability to protect the environment.

Last year, Sierra Club Canada Foundation and East Coast Environmental Law joined the legal battle to stop Bilcon from collecting $100 million from the Canadian government because a NAFTA Tribunal found that the US company had been treated unfairly in their efforts to start a quarry on Digby Neck. This case - which brings environmental assessment and our ability to stop environmentally destructive projects into question - is now making its slow way through the courts.

Meanwhile, US President Trump has pulled out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and opened up NAFTA for re-negotiation, and Canada has begun consulting with Canadians on a new deal. Our panel will discuss the original and implications of the battle to stop the Digby Quarry, and offer expertise on opportunities for positive reform in the context of NAFTA re-negotiations.


Ben Beachy, Senior Policy Advisor for the Sierra Club US Responsible Trade Program

Janet Eaton, Trade Policy Advisor, Sierra Club Canada Foundation

Lisa Mitchell, Executive Director, East Coast Environmental Law


WHEN: Tuesday, June 20, 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

WHERE: Room 104, Weldon Law Building, Schulich School of Law, 6061 University Ave, Halifax, NS

Interviews with speakers available upon request.



Gretchen Fitzgerald, National Program Director, Sierra Club Canada Foundation

Mobile: 1-902-444-7096 / Email:- [email protected]


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