The Halalt First Nation is suing Catalyst Paper, claiming that the company’s 59 year-old Crofton mill is trespassing and polluting the Halalt’s traditional territory.
Litigation filed against Catalyst Jan. 22 says the company has refused to “adopt technology that would drastically reduce the amount of air and water pollution generated by the Crofton Mill.”
The trespassing suit reportedly seeks $2 billion and a permanent order to prevent Catalyst from conducting operations at the Crofton mill.
Catalyst denies the allegations, and says it intends to defend itself ‘vigorously.’
At a Feb. 2 news conference, held at the Halalt Band Office, a release was issued stating that a notice of civil claim had also been filed against British Columbia and Canada for their failure to protect the Halalt’s aboriginal rights and title from “the toxic effects of pollution from the Catalyst Paper Corporation’s Crofton Mill.”
“According to Environment Canada documents, the Crofton mill has the highest air pollution emissions of any pulp mill in British Columbia,” the release states.
“Halalt First Nation is not necessarily seeking closure of the Crofton Mill, but is determined to engage with Catalyst Paper, Canada, and British Columbia, to ensure that a means may be found for the Crofton mill to operate economically without any further dioxin emissions or environmentally unsustainable releases of effluent into the Halalt traditional fisheries.”
Eli Enns, director of operations with the Halalt First Nation, said negotiations with Catalyst broke down Jan. 18.
He said the Halalt had been seeking ‘environmental security’ initially – a curtailment of pollution coming from the mill. They are also seeking a long term commitment from Catalyst to restore the environment around the mill.
“We’re not talking about novel technology,” Enns said of the equipment the Halalt want to see installed to curb the pollution. “We’re talking about tried and proven technology.”