August 30, 2004

CEC to probe Technoparc site allegations

The Commission for Environmental Co-operation of North America (CEC) Secretariat has been directed to prepare a factual record on allegations that Canada is failing to enforce section 36(3) of the Fisheries Act effectively in connection with the Montreal Technoparc site. The directive from the CEC Council - consisting of the top environment officials of the Canadian, U.S. and Mexican governments - follows from a recommendation made by the Secretariat in April (ELW May 3, 2004).

The allegations were made in the Montreal Technoparc submission filed with the CEC in August 2003, by a coalition of Canadian and U.S. environmental groups, including Waterkeeper Alliance, Lake Ontario Waterkeeper, SociÈtÈ pour Vaincre la Pollution, Environmental Bureau of Investigation and the Upper St Lawrence Riverkeeper/Save the River! The submission claimed that polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) and other pollutants are seeping into the Saint Lawrence River from the Technoparc site, in violation of s. 36(3) of the Fisheries Act, which prohibits the deposit of a deleterious substance into water frequented by fish unless authorized by regulation. The property was part of a disposal site used for industrial and household waste for nearly 100 years.

After reviewing the submission in light of Canada's response, which was filed last November, the Secretariat recommended the preparation of a factual record. The results of its investigation, to be presented in the factual record, will address the issues outlined in its recommendation. The Council has directed the Secretariat to prepare an overall work plan for gathering the relevant facts and to make the plan available to the parties (i.e. Canada, the U.S. and Mexico) for comment.

More information is available on the CEC Web site, www.cec.org.

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