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St Marys Cement



September 21, 2008:

The Environmental Review Tribunal has now issued a decision indicating that it cannot review the application for Leave to Appeal filed by Friends of Rural Communities and the Environment (FORCE) on August 28, 2008 due to lack of jurisdiction by the Tribunal.

FORCE was seeking leave to appeal a Permit to Take Water (PTTW) issued by the Ministry of the Environment (MOE) to St Marys CBM on July 8, 2008. The PTTW was issued to allow St Marys to test its theoretical and unproven groundwater recirculation system (GRS) as a way to manage the unacceptable impacts to area wells, wetlands and surface waters from its proposed Flamborough quarry. The PTTW was issued for 357 days, or 8 days short of one year, which brought into question the permit's "class". This determines whether the permit could be appealed and whether the ERT has jurisdiction to hear the merits of the appeal.

Our communities thank the Tribunal for its consideration about whether it could assume jurisdiction in this case. We are obviously disappointed that the full arguments of our appeal case could not be considered due to what we view as a technicality. This is especially true given the outstanding policy and scientific issues related to the permit itself and given the importance of this issue to our communities, the Greenbelt, and source protection planning. We knew from the outset, however, that the permit's duration created a significant jurisdictional challenge."

FORCE filed the Notice of Application for Leave to Appeal a Permit to Take Water (PTTW) issued by the Ministry of the Environment (MOE) to St Marys CBM to the Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) on July 18, 2008 and the balance of its submission on July 22, 2008. The ERT indicated in correspondence dated July 18 that it was willing to consider its jurisdiction of the matter. The Tribunal invited the parties: FORCE, St Marys CBM and the MOE to make submissions by July 25 and July 30 respectively. FORCE was afforded the opportunity of reply by Aug 1. The Tribunal then reviewed the submissions before making its determination on jurisdiction.

The PTTW issued in support of the GRS testing is the first significant regulatory decision made in regards to this proposed quarry. Given the tragic events of Walkerton, decisions taken about drinking water must be scrutinized to the highest degree. St Marys and our government regulators, at all levels, need to know that our communities are prepared to use all legal means necessary to ensure that such scrutiny occurs in order to protect our drinking water and our rights. One positive note arising from the decision is that it documents important future commitments, reflecting undertakings made in St Marys and MOE's submissions, concerning future tests and public participation. Specifically, if the tests do not show that the GRS option is feasible, no further water taking will result, absent a new design and new approval process. If the tests show the GRS option is feasible, a longer term PTTW will be sought. The Director has also promised to facilitate further public participation in the decision making process related to this undertaking where further approvals are sought from his office. Our communities will continue to intervene at strategic decision points. We will make professional and substantive submissions in consistent opposition to this proposed quarry, right through to any future Ontario Municipal Board or Consolidated Hearings Board stage.

St Marys Cement CBM - Permit to Take Water (PTTW) Application

July 8, 2008:

The Ministry of the Environment (MOE) has now issued a PTTW to St Marys. The permit allows a series of phased tests relating to the proposed Flamborough quarry. The tests allow the company to pump large volumes of water out of the ground in order to better understand the impact the proposed quarry excavation might have on the watershed and would test the unproven and theoretical groundwater recirculation system being proposed to mitigate those unacceptable negative impacts.

FORCE is currently evaluating legal options on behalf of our communities with our lawyers. Our experts believe that there are legitimate policy and scientific questions still outstanding that should be answered before testing is allowed to begin. FORCE signalled its intention to seek leave to appeal in order to give notice to St Marys and their consultants not to proceed with the testing until possible appeals are considered. Taking any actions would prejudice possible legal actions, would not respect our communities' right to decide our response, and would further demonstrate that St Marys is not the good neighbour it claims to be.

Our communities' ability to challenge the permit has a hurdle. The permit has been issued for less than one year. The posting with the permit on the Environmental Bill of Rights Registry states that because the permit is being issued for less than one year, there is no right of appeal. St Marys original application spoke to testing for 5 weeks (35 days). MOE has issued a permit for 356 days - 9 days short of one year. The potential environmental impact of the test phases and the flawed test design remain the same. The only difference caused by the 9 days is that our communities may be denied environmental justice and the democratic right to appeal. The lawyers for our communities will give us their best advice on whether and how to proceed. A final decision will be made within 15 days of MOE issuing the permit.

FORCE will continue to provide updates as they become available. Any member of the Community who receives notice of testing from St Marys or sees any activity that they feel is significant is encouraged to contact FORCE at info@StopTheQuarry.ca with their observations.

Thank You!

The Community has spoken loudly and clearly about its concerns with the St Marys Permit To Take Water (PTTW) application and planned Groundwater Recirculation System (GRS)testing.

Well over 150 (that we know of)residents and community stakeholders e-mailed, faxed, and mailed letters to the Ministry of the Environment (MOE). This was in addition to the November 30th, 2006 formal submission from FORCE, on behalf of the Community, which was accompanied by reports from our hydrogeology and natural environment experts. Together, we've recorded our collectiv