Sixteen Canadian lakes are scheduled to be officially but quietly reclassified as toxic dump sites for mines.
CBC News has learned the lakes to be polluted with toxic waste include prime wilderness fishing lakes from B.C. to Manitoba, Newfoundland, Labrador, NWT and Nunavut.
Environmental groups say allowing lakes to become toxic waste sites amounts to a hidden subsidy to mining companies, allowing them to get around laws against polluting fish habitat. Furthermore, there is no way to stop effluent leaking downstream in groundwater.
Moreover, under the Fisheries Act, it's illegal to place toxic substances into fish habitat.
However, under a little-known subsection known as Schedule Two of the mining effluent regulations, federal bureaucrats can redefine lakes as "tailings impoundment areas," which means mining companies don't need to build containment ponds for toxic mine tailings.
In Newfoundland and Labrador, the Vale Inco company wants to use Sandy Pond - a prime destination for fishermen to hold tailings from a nickel processing plant.
In northern B.C., Imperial Metals plans to enclose a valley to hold tailings from a gold and copper mine. The valley lies in what the native Tahltan people call the "Sacred Headwaters" of three major salmon rivers. It also serves as spawning grounds for the rainbow trout of Kluela Lake, which is downstream from the dump site.
Polluting lakes with toxic waste is nothing short of environmental vandalism. Please sign and share the petition to demand the Canadian government does not allow mining companies to turn wilderness lakes into toxic mine dumps.