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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - October 13, 1971, Lethbridge, Alberta Wtdneidoy, Ortobtr 13, 1971 THE U1HBRIDGI HERAID 47 POLLUTION PROBLEMS The largest pollution dam- age claims among suits filed recently was by the Ontario Government against Dow Chemical of Canada Ltd., Sar- nia, Ont., and its United States parent firm, Dow Chemical Co., Midland, Mich. The allegations concern mercury dumped into the St. Clair River. The government has ask- Four claims filed to date ed for damages of million and an order for the com- panies to clean the river bed, or an additional mil- lion for the government to do the job. The suit is in pre- trial stages. Photo shows general view of the St. Clair River with the smokestakes of Sarnia in< the background during a recent storm. Few damage suits filed on pollution By BUD JORGENSEN Canadian Press Staff Writer Civil lawsuits involving charges of pollution and mul- ti-million-dollar claims for damages have been getting big headlines bul pollution- control action seems to be shifting to government depart- ments administering environ- mental-standards laws. The number of civil lawsuits claiming pollution damages filed since the start of 1970 can be counted on the fingers. During the same period there have been several hundred court actions initi- ated by government agencies. These involve violations of regulations authorized by air- or water-quality control and anti-litter acts. A Cross-Canada Survey by The Canadian Press shows that four companies currently are involved in suits with damage claims in millions. The more numerous actions have resulted in convictions for violations of pollution-con- trol regulations and fines up to Since the beginning of 1970 the federal and provincial courts have collected well in excess of from corpo- rations in fines. There are numerous precedents in common law dealing with pollution but many provinces still are in the process of setting up ad- ministrative procedures for environmental control laws. SUED MINE....... An 1893 British monly cited in civil volved a distillery success- fully suing a mine for pollut- ing a river hi Scotland. The judgment said the property owner on the bank of a river or stream "is entitled to the water of his stream, in its natural flov, without sensible diminution or increase and without sensible alteration in its character." The court actions initialed by provincial government de- partments frequently involve natural-resource companies- pulp and paper mills or min- eral-processing plants. Federal government juris- diction includes marine pollu- tion. During 1970 a total of to fines was collected in 51 convictions of shipping companies for violation of oil pollution-control regulations. One of the most recent set- tlements of a private pollution lawsuit was in Alberta, where 15 Pincher Creek area farm- ers settled out of court in July for from Shell Canada Ltd. and Gulf Oil Canada Ltd. The farmers had claimed million in damages, alleging fumes from gas plants "af- fected enjoyment of their irritation t o farmworkers and corrosion to equipment. The suit was begun in 1965. The largest damage claim among suits filed recently was by the Ontario government. against Dow Chemical of Can- ada Ltd., Sarnia, Ont., and its United States parent firm, Dow Chemical Co., Midland, Mich. The allegations concern mercury dumped into the St Clair River The government has asked for damages of million and an order requiring the companies to clean the river bed, or an additional mil- lion for the government to do the job. The suit is in pre-trial stages. Allegations of mercury pol- lution are also the basis for suits involving Dryden Chemi- cals Ltd. and Dryden Paper Co. Ltd., both of Dryden, Ont., and Interprovincial Co-opera- tives Ltd., Saskatoon, Sask. Interprovincial and Dryden Chemicals have been accused, in a single suit filed by the Manitoba government of de- stroying a million fishing industry in Lake Winnipeg. The government asked for re- payment of costs to neutralize the mercury deposits; mil- lion as reimbursement for what Bie government has paid in aid for fishermen be- tween June 1, 1970, and the time the suit was filed in De- cember, 1970; and compensa- tion for losses to fishermen during 1968 and 1969. Interprovincial is accused of dumping waste into the South Saskatchewan River and Dry- den Chemicals of dumping waste into the English River system. Both river systems empty into Lake Winnipeg. Barney's Ball Lake Lodge Co. Ltd. has sued Dryden .Chemicals and Dryden Paper, asking for damages of million. VARIETY OF LAWS The British North America Act gives the federal govern- ment specific jurisdiction in several areas. Pollution con- trol sections are included in the Canada.Shipping Act, the Fisheries Act, the Canada Clean Air Act, the National Parks Act, the National Har- bors Act, the Pesticides Con- trol Act and the National Housing Act. The provinces have a vari- ety of laws dealing with pollu- tion, including the anti-litter laws where most complaints are filed against individuals. The more recent provincial legislation has been aimed at industrial and public utility operations. Following is a region-by-re- gion breakdown of pollution- control activity in the prov- inces: ATLANTIC PROVINCES A civil suit in New Bruns- wick asks in compen- sation for damage to blue- berry crops by aerial spray- ing. Bridges Brothers Ltd. of St. Stephen, one of the prov- ince's largest blueberry har- vesters, claims the 1970 and 1971 crops were seriously af- fected by a spray designed to kill spruce budworms. Survival machine for the freeway DALLAS. Tex. (API Nei- rr.iin-Marcus, the specialty slorc, offers for Hie Christ- mas-shopping season a sur- vival machine for commuter freeways. Cost? A mere The store calls it the Total Transportation Security Envi- rc.imcnt. It really is more like a tnnk equipped wiUi every safety (ievicc kninvn to ma.i and some new ones. Tho wcll-hcclcd exccutiva will ride in a luxurious state- room built inside the futuristic vehicle, while his diaufferur, seated high above in a cockpit covered by a see-through bub- ble, manoeuvres him through the traffic. Special features include a closed circuit scanning cam- era, infra-red and lelephoto pcrisconcs, radar, d 11 a I -e x- haust anti-pollution device ajid highway signal markers. The New Brunswick Su- preme Court granted an in- junction in May to stop the spraying in the area of blue- berry crops but the civil ac- tion has yet to be heard. ..The New Brunswick legisla- ture passed Hie Clean Envi- ronment Act earlier this year, giving the government author- ity to proclaim regulations to control water, soil and air pol- lution. The Newfoundland gov- ernment also is working on regulations under similar au- thority. Nova Scotia government of- ficials say-new environmental legislation probably will be in- troduced at the next session of the legislature. Existing legis- lation in the province, and in New Brunswick, covers water pollution control. Prince Edward Island has an environmental control commission under the com- munity services minister which oversees all phases of pollution control. QUEBEC The Quebec Water Board adopted pollution control reg- ulations in mid-1970 and has filed 18 complaints, all against pulp and paper companies. Six companies pleaded guilty and they are subject to fines of up to The other cases are still before the courts. Ralph Nader, the United States consumer advocate, termed Quebec a "foreign pol- lution haven" in comments earlier this year before a Con- gress subcommittee. He was talking about branch plants of U.S. firms. Mr. Nader said slack pollu- tion-control laws in Quebec could "lure away U.S. jobs and capital for the worst of reasons." ONTARIO A couple from Waters Township, southwest of Sud- bury, Ont.. has filed a suit against International Nickel Co. of Canada Ltd. The suit alleges damages to health and property from fumes emitted from a smokestack at an ore concentrator at Copper Cliff, a community adjacent to Sud- bury. Eini and Toivo Palonen asked for and an in- junction to stop emission of fumes. No date has been set for trial. In another Sudbury case, a group of citizens was success- ful in stopping a local service club from holding power boat races on Lake Ramsey, on the southern edge of the city, be- cause of pollution from the boats. Acts administered by the department of energy and re- sources give broad powers to control pollution. Penalties on conviction for violations range from up to for littering to p maximum of for a first offence and a day for a second offence for air or water pollution. More than in fines have been collected since the beginning of 1970 and depart- ment officials have initiated more than 100 court actions. About four out of five charges resulted in convictions. PRAIRIE PROVINCES The three Prairie provinces have laws providing for fines for conviction on charges of water pollution. Manitoba's Clean Environ- ment Act established a com- mission which lias general su- pervision and control of all matters relating to tho envi- ronment. Tlie Saskatchewan Water Resources Commission covers walor use. A .luly session of the Saskatchewan legislature passed a bill giving Ihc re- sources minister broad pow- ers to order clean-ups of such things as oil spills and assess costs. The Air Pollution Con- trol Act gives the health min- ister similar powers and the act allows for stiff penalties In Alberta, provincial au- thorities frequently have worked through federal de- partments and filed charges under federal pollution-control laws. A noise-pollution law in Al- berta went into effect Aug. 1. Several cases arc pending in Edmonton courts and the maximum fine on conviction is The suit filed by the Mani- toba government over mer- cury pollution of Lake Winni- peg had an indirect effect on Saskatchewan. Interprovincial Co-operatives, one of the de- fendants, closed its plant near Saskatoon, saying it was un- able to pay bills because the suit hindered its ability to ob- tain credit. BRITISH COLUMBIA The B.C. Pollution Control Board has the authority to de- termine causes and remedies for any type of pollution. The ministers of health, resources and municipal affairs are on the board. B.C. courts have levied a total of in fines against four companies since Janu- ary, 1970. The four cases three against forest-product1; involved water pollution. Kamloops Pulp Co. was fined in June for dam- age through logging opera- tions to a salmon-spawning area. October Garage Sale BEAVER 14'x20' CADET GARAGE There It itil) time If you act now to provide your ear with winter protection. No need to icrape wrndihlelds. Easier ttarti and foster warm-upt for your car when potecfed with a Beaver Garage. Complete material package includei top quality spruefl wall framing on 16" centrei, ?fe" plywood roof iheothing with 210 Ib. Asphalt shjnglei and roflen 24" O.C., 9' x 7' door, 30" x 24" garage window unit and Aspenite aiding. A great value in a lingla car garage. GARAGE ACCESSORIES ASTRO 3 DOOR OPERATORS Lets you open your garage door from the convenience of your car. Includes wall mount control for garage. Designed to lift all conventional steel overhead doors up to 16' wide. Still being featured while present sup- ply lasts. GARAGE DOORS See Beaver today for your Garage door whether It be a one piece steel door, sectional iteel door or fibregtas sectional door, Beaver has the door for you......................... 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