Ottawa Blasted for Not Cleaning Up Old Mines
Thursday, December 18, 2003 at 13:47
The Saskatchewan Institute of Public Policy is criticizing the federal government for not doing its part to clean up abandoned uranium mines in the province’s North.
In a recently released report, the institute acknowledges the federal government is not legally responsible for cleaning up these sites.
However, the report notes that the Government of Canada actively promoted these mines in the 1960s in order to sell weapons grade uranium to the U.S. during the Cold War and, therefore, it argues there is a moral argument as to why Ottawa should pay the cost for the clean-up.
Study co-author Ian Peach says the federal government’s continued refusal to accept the financial responsibility for bringing these mines into existence is irresponsible, especially considering Canada’s progressive record on human and environmental health and safety issues internationally.
Peach notes Canada has committed one billion dollars over 10 years to help clean up radioactive waste in Russia, but won’t commit 30 million dollars to decommission and reclaim the 42 abandoned uranium mine and mill sites in Northern Saskatchewan.
Peach also says the provincial government is running out of time waiting for Ottawa to come through with funding. The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission has ruled that a licence for the clean-up will be imposed on Saskatchewan by December 31st, 2004 if no else assumes responsibility for the reclamation project.