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Ontario’s biologists called clear-cut logging plan ‘big step backwards’

Earthroots says scientists’ comments in 2010 reveal ‘heated debate’ about the mercury impact of clear-cutting on fish and human health.

The Star,


Grassy Narrows is a community of about 1,500 near Kenora, Ont., and was the site of mercury poisoning in the 1960s after a paper mill dumped 10 tonnes of the heavy metal into the river system in the 1960s. The community is now concerned clear-cut logging will increase mercury levels in local fish, a traditional dietary staple.

Photo: FreeGrassy.net

Grassy Narrows is a community of about 1,500 near Kenora, Ont., and was the site of mercury poisoning in the 1960s after a paper mill dumped 10 tonnes of the heavy metal into the river system in the 1960s. The community is now concerned clear-cut logging will increase mercury levels in local fish, a traditional dietary staple.

 

Ontario’s fisheries biologists were scathing about a guide approved in 2010 that laid out conditions for controversial clear-cut logging across the province, with some calling it a “big step backwards,” according to documents obtained through freedom of information requests.

When a regional director with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry complained about its inadequate review process, he was told there was pressure from senior management and industry to move fast.

Four years after the guide was approved, Ontario gave the go-ahead to its 10-year provincial logging plan one year ago.

Environmental agency Earthroots obtained the documents from the ministry a few days after the province rejected a request from Grassy Narrows, a First Nations reserve about 80 kilometres north of Kenora, for an individual environmental assessment into the impact of clear-cut logging on that community.

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