MAC: Mines and Communities

Uranium mining has no place in N.B.

Published by MAC on 2007-08-07

Uranium mining has no place in N.B.

Published Tuesday August

7th August 2007

Times & Transcript -
To The Editor:

This letter is in response to the July 24 article in the Times & Transcript on Page A5: NB Must Pursue Uranium.

Reading the comments made by our Minister of Natural Resources, Donald Arsenault, one is lead to conclude that our government is again putting profit over the health of the people of New Brunswick. We are being shafted by our government again! This government has got its head stuck in a hole of "self-sufficiency" with no regard for common sense.

First, the mineral uranium, be it rough or refined, has been classified by the Environmental Protection Agency as a hazardous material. In Nova Scotia, where there is a moratorium against uranium mining, the issue is controlled by the Minister of Environment. Our Minister of Natural Resources should not have control of this dirty mineral, as you can see that he has a very different agenda.

Our Premier is looking for "short-term gain for long-term pain". I suggest he take a tour of Northern Saskatchewan and see for himself the devastation of the rivers and lakes, and confirm the increased cancer rates in that area. Our Premier doesn't seem to think of our children. The greed for profit has created tunnel vision.

The mining company, Inco, has a terrible track record on the environment and is currently under litigation for the polluting in Sudbury in 1994. In 2005 the Globe and Mail gave Inco a failing grade for corporate social and environmental responsibility.

Uranium, if mined at all, should not be in a populated area or near watershed. This potential strip of uranium follows the Cobequid Mountain Range which is densely populated. The Minister says, "Jobs!" Well, 20,000 mining workers have died as a direct result of cancer from uranium. Who wants that kind of job? Open pit mining will cause uranium to be airborne, or hydrogeology, another method of mining, will demand water from our water table and produce uranium-laden mud puddles which have leaked and ruined water for life.

Nuclear energy is a mistake. Our climate is becoming much more unpredictable. The reactor in Japan which has been damaged, leaking radioactive water, Chernobyl, Three-Mile Island and the related deaths and cancer; this is not the future I choose for my family or yours. If a windmill fell over as a result of an earthquake, we would just stand it up again.

Minister Arsenault says we shouldn't let this boat go by because of the high price of uranium. Again, that's profit over health. As for allowing prospectors on our land to explore, we the people of New Brunswick, must protect ourselves.

We need to heed the example of the Fontaines. They are a family that live near me and had an exploration company bully their way on to their organic farm in 2005. A hole was drilled behind their house at a depth of 1400 feet where a vein of bad water was struck under tremendous pressure. They could not cap the water so they let it run into the nearby brook.

The next day the vegetation was dead around the brook. Eventually, two weeks later, they capped the well at a level of 75 feet. This, of course, contaminated the drinking water to their house. To this day, their problem has not been fixed.

Our Health Minister, Mike Murphy, went to inspect and he followed up with a letter to the company. CBC did a news segment on their predicament, and as yet, these actions have still not yielded a
resolution. It will be two years this November that the Fontaines have to carry water from their livestock well which is 500 meters away.

So, due to the sloppy procedures and unpredictability of drilling, we can tell the prospectors, "Due to Fontaines' Law you will not explore on my property!"

If someone is getting harassed by exploration companies, we will stand together to fight! This government is out of their minds. I don't think uranium mines and tourism are on the same page. Mr. Graham, I strongly suggest touring devastated Northern Saskatchewan before you make a huge mistake.

Mike Milligan,
Shediac River

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