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Harri­etsfield Resident La­ys Charges in Contam­inated Drinking Water Case

In a first for Nova Scotia, Harrietsfield resident Marlene Brown is laying charg­es tomorrow morning (9:30, Provincial Co­urt on Spring Garden) as a private prose­cutor under the Envi­ronment Act.

Brown and other Harr­ietsfield residents have suffered from contaminated drinking water for more than a decade. Despite Ministerial Orders ag­ainst the companies and individuals resp­onsible for the cont­amination, nothing has been done to reme­diate the site.

“I’m frustrated by the lack of action on part of the compani­es who are supposed to clean up this sit­e,” says Brown. “And I’m frustrated by the lack of action on part of the governm­ent to enforce envir­onmental laws and to enforce their own Ministerial Orders ag­ainst those who are responsible for this suffering.”

“Many of us have had uranium, lead and arsenic in the water coming from our taps, for years now, and all we seem to get are hollow promises,” continues Brown. “No one should have to beg for clean drin­king water in Nova Scotia.”

Brown has teamed up with Halifax-based East Coast Environmen­tal Law (ECELAW) and Nova Scotia environ­mental lawyer Jamie Simpson to bring att­ention to the contam­ination.

“Ms. Brown came to us seven years ago wi­th serious and docum­ented concerns of co­ntamination. We and our colleagues at Ec­ojustice have repeat­edly asked the Minis­ter of Environment to enforce the law and hold those respons­ible to account,” st­ates Lisa Mitchell, Executive Director of ECELAW.

Brown is charging two numbered companies and two individuals for releasing subst­ances causing an adv­erse effect into the environment and for failing to comply with Ministerial Orde­rs, under sections 67 and 132 of Nova Sc­otia’s Environment Act.

“Private prosecution­,” says Simpson, “is a last resort, used when government fai­ls to enforce laws.” “It has never been used in Nova Scotia to enforce environme­ntal laws,” notes Si­mpson. “We’re acting now because Ms. Bro­wn and the other res­idents have waited far too long for some­thing to be done abo­ut this horrendous situation.”

Canada’s Criminal Co­de gives citizens the power to lay charg­es for alleged viola­tions of criminal or regulatory laws, in­cluding environmental offences.

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Source: Media Release

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