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Liberals must stop dragging their feet in cleaning up mercury poisoning in Grassy Narrows

Fri, 12/09/2016 - 12:45

Get the mercury out of Grassy NarrowsThe Green Party of Ontario is calling on Premier Kathleen Wynne to stop dragging her feet and act on the science to clean up mercury poisoning in Grassy Narrows. 
 
Dr. David Schindler, a founding director of northwestern Ontario’s Experimental Lakes Area, says the viability of a mercury cleanup has been "studied to death."
 
Dr. Schindler, along with David Suzuki, propose small-scale dredging of mercury hot spots in sediment of the river system and additions of nitrate and small amounts of clean sediments through a process of "adaptive management." The GPO supports this science-based approach. 
 
“The Premier needs to stop dragging her feet and spreading needless fears about cleaning up Grassy Narrows,” says Tim McKillop, GPO critic for Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation. “The scientists have shown the province how to clean up the mercury; the Premier needs to stop talking about how the cleanup could make things worse.”
 
The Liberals have once again delayed action to clean the mercury poisoning even though Ontario's Minister of Environment and Climate Change Glen Murray promised to clean up the Wabigoon River during question period on November 23. The following day he promised to spend $600,000 on more research and then consult with First Nations to decide how to proceed. Now we’ve learned the Liberals will delay the clean up once again.  
 
“The people of Grassy Narrows and Wabaseemoong First Nations have waited too long for justice,” says GPO leader Mike Schreiner. “It’s unacceptable for them to wait any longer for this health disaster to be addressed. This is a moral, human rights and social justice issue.”
 
People from Grassy Narrows and Wabaseemoong First Nations continue to exhibit the symptoms of mercury poisoning more than 50 years after a paper mill in Dryden, Ontario, dumped about 9,000 kilograms of mercury into the downstream waters.
 
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