On April 23, 2009, in a ruling by the Federal Court of Canada,
the Canadian Minister of the Environment (MOE) was ordered to
publish, through the National Pollutant Release Inventory
(NPRI), information regarding releases and transfers to tailings
and waste rock disposal areas by mining facilities for 2006 and
subsequent reporting years.
The application for judicial review was filed against the MOE in
2007 by Great Lakes United and Miningwatch Canada, who sought a
declaration that the MOE had erred in interpreting the Canadian
Environmental Protection Act (CEPA) and a mandamus
ordering the MOE to publish in the NPRI data from mining facilities
with respect to releases to tailings impoundment areas (TIA) and
waste rock storage areas (WRSAs).
The court recognized that, pursuant to Sections 2, 48 and 50 of
CEPA, on-site releases and transfers to TIAs and WRSAs constitute
"releases of pollutants" that must be reported in the
NPRI and that the MOE must require mining facilities to report
Environment Minister Jim Prentice is reported to have said that
he will comply with this order.
A representative from Environment Canada's NPRI department
confirmed that Environment Canada (EC) does not currently have on
file the required information to be reported in the NPRI pursuant
to this recent ruling and that EC has not yet determined the nature
and scope of the data and means of obtaining it from mining
EC also indicated that the Notice with respect to Substances
in the National Pollutant Release Inventory for 2008 published
in the Canada Gazette on February 16th, 2008
remains the same and that the information to be provided to EC
no later than June 1st, 2009 will exclude the
information required by the recent judgment of the Federal
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