MEET­ING IN DONKIN

Fish­er­men, First Na­tions vow to stop test­ing by Donkin mine

Cape Breton Post - - FRONT PAGE - BY CAPE BRE­TON POST STAFF

Con­cerns over seis­mic test­ing in ocean near Donkin mine.

A coal com­pany’s plans to con­duct seis­mic test­ing off the coast of Donkin have ba­si­cally been blasted out of the wa­ter.

About 150 peo­ple — mainly fish­er­men con­cerned with the im­pact the test­ing by Donkin mine owner Kameron Coal would have on lob­ster stocks — at­tended a pub­lic meet­ing Tues­day at the Donkin fire hall.

Rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the mine and the Depart­ment of Fish­eries and Oceans met stiff op­po­si­tion from the crowd, which was firmly against the test­ing.

Per­haps no one was more pas­sion­ate than El­iz­a­beth Mar­shall, a mem­ber of the Mi’kmaq War­rior So­ci­ety who vowed to stop the test­ing from tak­ing place.

Mar­shall, who is from Eskasoni, drew loud cheers af­ter say­ing First Na­tions treaty rights mean ac­tiv­i­ties such as seis­mic test­ing can’t take place with­out their free, prior and in­formed con­sent.

“I’m here to tell you that you do not have the au­thor­ity to be do­ing this type of ac­tiv­ity what­so­ever,” she said, while hold­ing up a blan­ket that said “wa­ter is life.”

“These peo­ple, who­ever they are and what­ever they pro­pose to do, we’re go­ing to stop them. We’re go­ing to stop them be­cause we can. No­body has the

au­thor­ity ex­cept us and we in­tend to as­sert it. We need the help of you fish­er­men, we need the help of your fam­i­lies, we need the help of our prayers, but we’re go­ing to win. I prom­ise you.”

Shan­non Camp­bell, a man­ager at the Donkin mine, said

the seis­mic test­ing in the waters above coal work­ings, which ex­tend sev­eral kilo­me­tres off the coast, is nec­es­sary to find po­ten­tially dan­ger­ous pock­ets of meth­ane and other pres­sur­ized gas, as well as to find out in much more de­tail where any and DFO marine bi­ol­o­gists about the im­pact on fish and other marine life, most peo­ple were loudly op­posed to the plan.

In the end, with Dan­nie Hansen, Louisbourg Seafoods vice-pres­i­dent of sus­tain­abil­ity, say­ing the group would seek a court in­junc­tion or ap­peal to the fish­eries min­is­ter, Camp­bell asked for a pri­vate meet­ing with the fish­er­men today.

“Be­fore you go the min­is­ter I’d ask that you al­low us to have one more con­ver­sa­tion but I don’t want to do it in a big room. I’d like to meet with the rep­re­sen­ta­tives to­mor­row mid­day to give us time di­gest all of the in­for­ma­tion we heard tonight, and al­low you guys … if it is go­ing to the min­is­ter, you’ve got that op­por­tu­nity.”

Herb Nash, pres­i­dent of the Glace Bay Har­bour Au­thor­ity and pres­i­dent of the 4VN Ground­fish Man­age­ment Board, ac­cepted the of­fer to sit down with Camp­bell.

How­ever, he said the fish­er­men are not go­ing to change their minds.

“We’d do any­thing we can to help the coal mine but we’re not go­ing to sac­ri­fice our liveli­hood to help the coal com­pany stay in place,” he said.

“What­ever we’ve got to do to stop it, we are. Un­til it’s stopped we’re go­ing to be fight­ing to stop it.”

El­iz­a­beth Mar­shall, a mem­ber of the Mi’kmaq War­rior So­ci­ety, speaks dur­ing a pub­lic meet­ing in Donkin to dis­cuss con­cerns about the nearby mine’s plans to con­duct un­der­wa­ter seis­mic test­ing. CAPE BRE­TON POST

Camp­bell

Hansen

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