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A US court has ruled in favour of the native American Colville Nation and against Teck-Cominco, in

Published by MAC on 2004-11-10

A US court has ruled in favour of the native American Colville Nation and against Teck-Cominco, in a long standing pollution suit. But the Canadian government and the company want the matter settled "bilaterally" and out of court. (Well they would, wouldn't they?)

Teck Cominco Will Appeal Columbia River Pollution Ruling

Environmental News Service (ENS)

November 10, 2004

YAKIMA, Washington - A British Columbia mining company says it will appeal a Washington state judge's decision Monday to press pollution charges against it. Teck Cominco Metals Ltd. is charged with polluting the Columbia River with heavy metals for decades.

"We're disappointed with the ruling and we will be moving forward with an appeal," said David Parker, a spokesman for Teck Cominco. "We prefer to move forward with a negotiated, cooperative approach and favor a bilateral solution reached between Canada and the U.S."

Teck Cominco contends the lawsuit should be dismissed because the U.S. government cannot impose rules on Canadian companies that operate on Canadian soil. The company's giant lead-zinc smelter is about 10 miles north of the border in Trail, British Columbia.

The company has the backing of the Canadian government, which also spoke out against the ruling Tuesday. International Trade Canada spokesman Andre Lemay said Canada has struck bilateral agreements with the U.S. on other issues such as this and has doubled its efforts to help Teck Cominco achieve an out of court solution.

On Monday, U.S. District Judge Alan McDonald refused to dismiss the case, saying the United States' environmental laws are intended to clean up pollution inside U.S. borders, regardless of where it originates. "The Upper Columbia River Site is a 'domestic condition' over which the United States has sovereignty and legislative control," McDonald ruled.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) charges that heavy-metal pollutants have flowed into Washington state waters from the smelter for decades. Late last year, the EPA demanded that the company pay for a study of the pollution and possible remedies. An EPA spokesman said the agency was pleased with the ruling.

The Colville Confederated Tribes of Eastern Washington sued the company in July for failing to comply with that order, and the state of Washington joined the lawsuit in September.

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