Sandy Pond Alliance Court Case to Decide Fate of Lakes Across Canada

MEDIA ADVISORY – Monday, 25 February 2013

(St. John’s, Newfoundland) The federal Fisheries Act was intended to protect fish and fish habitat in part by prohibiting the dumping of harmful substances into fish-bearing waters. The intent of the Act has been diluted by regulations that give the mining industry an exemption to allow the conversion of pristine lakes, wetlands, and streams across Canada into mine waste dumps. Among these is Sandy Pond, a lake near Long Harbour, Newfoundland, that was known for its trophy trout.

In 2010, in an effort to save Sandy Pond and other lakes across Canada, the Sandy Pond Alliance filed an application in Federal Court that the regulations allowing these exemptions be declared ultra vires, that is, beyond the discretionary powers that government ministers have in relation to an Act of Parliament.

Subsequent interventions by mining giant Vale and the Mining Association of Canada have prolonged the legal process, but February 27 and 28 are now set for the application to be heard in Federal Court in St. John’s.

The outcome of this case should be a landmark decision by the Federal Court in Newfoundland as to whether the federal government has been acting illegally by permitting the use of lakes as dumpsites for metal mining companies in Canada.

Members of the Alliance will be available for comment at the court before the start of the hearing on the 27th. Maude Barlow, Chairperson for the Council of Canadians, will also be at the courthouse on the 27th and will be available for media comment at that time.

The Sandy Pond Alliance to Protect Canadian Waters is a Newfoundland-based coalition of scientists and environmental activists as well as local and national organizations, including Nature Newfoundland and Labrador, the Council of Canadians, MiningWatch Canada and Sierra Club Canada - Atlantic. For more information, please see

A brief backgrounder is available here.

Ken Kavanagh, Chair
Sandy Pond Alliance to Protect Canadian Waters
Tel. 709-488-2221

Bill Montevecchi, Co-Chair
Sandy Pond Alliance to Protect Canadian Waters
Tel. 709-693-5305