Jeff Green | Sep 13, 2007
Feature Article - September 13, 2007
Back toHomeFeature Article - September 13, 2007
Central Frontenac Calls for a Moratorium on Uranium Explorationby Jeff Green
Central Frontenac has joined with Lanark Highlands in asking the Province of Ontario to declare “an immediate moratorium on uranium mineral exploration and mining in eastern Ontario”.
The issue has been brought to the fore over the past few months by the Ardoch and Shabot Obaadjiwaan First Nations, and by a group called Concerned Citizens Against Uranium Mining (CCAMU). They are concerned that uranium exploration in Central and North Frontenac, and the unlikely possibility of uranium mining in Frontenac County represent an environmental threat to air and water quality in the county and downstream.
“When you consider how careful the government is in regards to our Official Plan, and the kinds of demands we make on people who want to do any kind of industrial work in our township, such as the concrete operation we talked about tonight, it is hard to understand that uranium exploration can be done without any regulation at all,” said Mayor Janet Gutowski in arguing for the motion.
Council also wants surface and subsurface rights to be united so that unwitting property owners would no longer be subject to mineral staking and exploration on their land without their permission.
Council approved the following motion: “That the Council of the Township of Central Frontenac petition the Province of Ontario to declare an immediate moratorium on Uranium Mineral Exploration and Mining so that issues related to “surface rights only”, the environment, health concerns related to uranium mining and native land claims can be addressed in a coordinated and comprehensive manner and further;
That the Province of Ontario proceed in a timely manner with a comprehensive Public Review of the Mining Act, including the combining of surface and mineral rights.”
Councillor Bob Harvey said that, “a big majority of people say that uranium is needed, and much of what people are saying about uranium is groundless.”
He was the only councillor who opposed the motion.
The Ontario Mining Act has been the subject of a recent review by the Minister’s Mining Act Advisory Committee, which has led to a package of reforms that have just cleared the Environmental Bill of Rights Process and is working its way to the Ontario Legislature.
It includes reforms to the way exploration companies must deal with surface rights owners but stops short of uniting surface and subsurface rights.