In a first for Nova Scotia, Harrietsfield resident Marlene Brown is laying charges on April 26th, 2017 as a private prosecutor under the Environment Act.
Brown and other Harrietsfield residents have suffered from 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
“I’m frustrated by the lack of action on part of the companies who are supposed to clean up this site,” says Brown. “And I’m frustrated by the lack of action on part of the government to enforce environmental laws and to enforce their own Ministerial Orders against those who are responsible for this suffering.”
“Many of us have had uranium, lead and arsenic in the water coming from our taps, for years now, and all we seem to get are hollow promises,” continues Brown. “No one should have to beg for clean drinking water in Nova Scotia.”
Brown has teamed up with Halifax-based East Coast Environmental Law (ECELAW) and Nova Scotia environmental lawyer Jamie Simpson to bring attention to the contamination.
Nova Scotians are often left in the lurch when it comes to industrial pollution and other environmental degradation impacting their communities. Without a legal right to a healthy environment, community members find their concerns falling on deaf ears.
Marking Earth Day, the Environmental Rights Working Group (ERWG) is proposing a non-partisan Bill of Environmental Rights (EBR) for Nova Scotia to give everyone in the province legal access to demand a healthy environment. Similar laws exist in other provinces, but this is the first time a proposed EBR recognizes the unique concerns of traditionally marginalized or vulnerable residents.
Residents from Boat Harbour, Harrietsfield, Lincolnville, Sipekne’katik and Shelburne will gather to share their stories and describe how a Bill of Environmental Rights would have made a difference to their communities, and how it can change the future.
The proposed PEI Water Act has been a long time coming for citizens on Prince Edward Island. A province that draws all of its water supply from ground water sources and supports a significant agricultural industry needs to be fully aware of the state of their water and the potential impacts today’s choices will have on future Islanders. The government has followed a robust public engagement plan to develop the draft Act, culminating in the release of a full draft version of Act, with supporting information pieces. Citizens on PEI have stepped up to offer their time and expertise to review and comment on the draft. Unfortunately, after providing an excellent consultation process the PEI government is now rushing the final phase of consultation with less than a month for comments and only four in-person sessions.