Community health concern

Reference Number

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the proposed Fifteen Mile Stream Project. 

The EIA covers issues that are critical to human and environmental health.  Potential impact on climate change, water quality, air quality, noise pollution, and ecosystem damage are important public health concerns.  Indication of elevated arsenic and potentially mercury levels is of concern.  Is it not true that disturbing arsenic-contaminated sediments risks mobilization in ground and surface water?  What impact could this potentially have on long-term public health outcomes given the significant health risk posed by these contaminants? 

Important adverse effects are considered but seemingly diminished due to assumed efficacy and reliability of proposed mitigation measures. Is it not true that these measures cannot be assured?  It appears as though future public health and environmental protection would rely on unproven, imperfect mitigation technologies and approaches.  Does the proponent's apparent history of Environment Act violations not significantly call into question the ability to rely on the corporation's due diligence and precaution for ensuring the unwavering adherence to best-practice risk mitigation approaches and standards that would be required to reasonably protect human and environmental health?

This consultation process pertains to an important topic, during a time when we are experiencing a new boom in extractive industry growth in Nova Scotia.  The mining industry has shown indication of utilizing strategies to influence public perception, a common tactic outlined within the emerging research domain of the Commercial Determinants of Health (e.g., local school-targeted Mining Rocks / Not Your Grandfather's Mining campaign).  This, coupled with a consultation process that appears to be relatively inaccessible due to technical documentation without lay-person interpretive summary, calls into question whether Nova Scotians have been consulted in an unbiased, accessible way.  Further, the requirement of using banking sign-in processes prior to being permitted to submit a comment is potentially another barrier to participation.   

From a broader perspective, while this is EIA speaks to one singular project, communities will need to look more thoroughly at the cumulative impact of any and all newly proposed environmentally-damaging projects from the perspective of climate change mitigation, and human health (importantly, this project is not a standalone endeavour).  This project should not go-ahead for the sake of future community health in neighbouring and downstream areas, for the sake of environmental protection of important ecosystems, and due to the cumulative impact that each additional mining project (or similar) will have on our ability (or inability) to effectively tackle climate change.  Public and environmental health should be protected by a precautionary approach and should be promoted above the prospects of a temporary private mining project, which will only bring a short-term boom of jobs.  Equitable socioeconomic conditions will not be derived from a short-term mining project.  This is an important problem to solve, but it won't be solved through open-pit gold mining.

Doesn't this beautiful part of Nova Scotia deserve something better, and the land and people more respect and protection? 

Thank you,

Julie McEachern (MSc Global Health and Public Policy)

Submitted by
Julie McEachern
Public Notice
Date Submitted
2021-04-30 - 8:38 PM
Date modified: