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Chong Opposes Mega-Quarry in House of Commons

June 15, 2011

Chong requests a Federal Environmental Assessment and a Panel Review

OTTAWA – Michael Chong, M.P. for Wellington-Halton Hills, voiced opposition to the Highland Companies’ mega-quarry in the House of Commons today. At 2,500 acres, the proposed mega-quarry in Dufferin County 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, it would affect the Nottawasaga and Grand River Watersheds and the groundwater used by one million Canadians downstream in these watersheds.

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 3 miles across and plunging 200 feet deep, a drop bigger than Niagara Falls,” Chong said. He added, “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 both 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.”
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