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[cdn-nucl-l] FW: Bruce residents' group wins award of $75,000 legal costs
What nuclear waste "dump"? I presume they mean the expanded dry cannister
Oct 16 2000
Legal bills may kill Bruce ratepayers group
Association blew whistle on nuclear power plant leaks
By Kate Harries, Toronto Star Ontario Reporter
An Ontario residents' group that yesterday received an international award
for fighting a nuclear waste dump has been ordered to pay $75,000 to the
federal government and Ontario Power Generation.
The Inverhuron Ratepayers Association is being recognized by Nuclear-Free
Future headquartered in Germany. A Kazakhstani photographer, who documented
the effect of nuclear test fallout, and the Barefoot College of India that
worked on a solar power project, have also been commended.
The Inverhuron association says it will be crippled by a massive award of
legal costs against it after it failed to convince a judge to order a public
environmental assessment of a storage facility at the Bruce Nuclear Power
Development on Lake Huron. Association lawyer Rod Northey will be in court
Wednesday to argue that the award is punitive and against the public
interest. The legal bill could put an end to a planned appeal, association
president Norm Chevrotiere said. ``That's what the other side wants.''
Chevrotiere, who was in Germany for yesterday's award ceremony, said at
first the group wasn't sure whether to accept the recognition from
Nuclear-Free Future, an organization based in Munich. ``We feel a bit
ambivalent because we're very sincere when we say we're not against nuclear
power, we're just concerned about our community and our health,'' he said.
``But the money sure comes in handy.''
A $10,000 (U.S.) prize accompanies the award. The association, set up in the
1940s, represents about 800 people who live or cottage in Inverhuron, next
to the nuclear plant. The association has appealed the ruling by Mr. Justice
Dennis Pelletier that cleared the way for expanded storage of highly toxic
spent fuel bundles at Bruce, but that legal action may be jeopardized if the
massive award stands, Chevrotiere said.
Pelletier subsequently set costs at $30,000 for the federal government and
$45,000 for Ontario Power Generation. At Wednesday's cost assessment hearing
in federal court in Toronto, the group will be asking for a stay of the
order, Chevrotiere said. ``It's an important access-to-justice issue because
of the scale of the award and the size of Inverhuron, 300 families,''
Lawyer John Laskin, representing Ontario Power Generation, refused to
Nuclear-Free Future is an organization set up after the World Uranium
Hearing, an international gathering held in Salzburg in 1992. In an
announcement, it said the Inverhuron group won in the Resistance category
for blowing the whistle on leaks from the Bruce nuclear plant, and for its
efforts in fighting the nuclear dump.
Association member Bob Mackenzie said the award comes as doors are closing
on public access to information. He said one of the key tools the group used
to find out what was happening at the plant was Freedom of Information
legislation, from which Ontario Power Generation is now exempt.``The open EA
(the environmental assessment the group tried to obtain through the courts)
was another way for people to get information to figure out what risks are
being taken,'' Mackenzie said. ``If you can't have (Freedom of Information)
and you can't have EA, it's a very unhealthy situation.''
The other two award categories are education and solutions. Kazakhstani
photographer Yuri Kuidin, a member of the international Atomic Photographers
Guild, got a posthumous award for his documentation of human suffering in
Kazakhstan resulting from Russian and Chinese nuclear tests. The Barefoot
College of India, based in Tilonia, is being recognized for training solar
engineers who have installed 600 lighting units for adult education centres
in rural India.>