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Chong opposes mega-quarry at federal level

OTTAWA - Wellington Halton Hills MP Michael Chong voiced his opposition to the Highland Companies proposal for a mega-quarry in Dufferin County in the House of Commons last week.

At 2,400 acres, the proposed quarry would be one of the largest open-pit mines in Canada, destroying prime farmland and natural habitat for local flora and fauna.

By delving more than 200 feet below the surface, he said that could affect the Nottawasaga and Grand River watersheds and the groundwater used by one million Canadians downstream in those watersheds. 

Chong said in a press release that experts from the David Suzuki Foundation have criticized the Highland Companies’ incomplete assessment of the impact on fish habitat and species at risk.

Experts from local conservation authorities have commented that groundwater in the Grand River watershed may be affected and they have identified problems in the Highland Companies’ assessment of the impact on land, water, and wildlife.

“We’re talking about an open-pit mine stretching three miles across and plunging 200 feet deep, a drop bigger than Niagara Falls,” Chong said. 

“We’re also talking about affecting a watershed that provides drinking water for one million people in Ontario. This company wants to pump 600 million litres of water a day.  That’s almost the amount used every day by 20 per cent of all Ontario residents.”

Chong called upon the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency to perform a federal environmental assessment.  He also requested that a federal panel or mediator be appointed by the Minister of the Environment to review the proposed mega-quarry’s environmental effects on the transboundary waters of Lakes Huron and Erie.

“The potential environmental impact of this mega-quarry is deeply concerning,” said Chong. “It’s our duty to preserve our environment for future generations.”

The Highland Companies are backed by the Baupost Group, a Boston-based hedge fund.

Chong concluded, “This mega-quarry, backed by an American hedge fund, would destroy a beautiful part of Canada in Southwestern Ontario. This mega-quarry must be stopped.”

 

 

June 24, 2011

 
 

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