Resolute Forest Products is 'disappointed' by this morning's split decision from the Supreme Court of Canada.
"The case was not about clean-up but rather whether the indemnity covered an order requiring monitoring and the posting of financial assurance for potential future work," said company spokesman Seth Kursman.
Earlier today, judges from the court dismissed an appeal by Resolute and Weyerhaeuser, who argued they weren't responsible for ongoing costs associated with the monitoring and financial assurances related to the former dump site near the Dryden mill.
The province argued, successfully, that an indemnification issued by Queen's Park in 1985 didn't relate to a directive from the Ministry of Environment, related to the former dump site.
Kursman says the company disagrees.
"At this juncture, Resolute will continue it's monitoring and the posting of financial assurance, while the appeal of the Director's Order proceeds to the Ontario Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT). Considering it is under review by the ERT, we cannot say more at this juncture," he said in the email.
Kursman continued by saying buried concrete cells containing mercury and chlorine waste were disposed at the Dryden landfill, and these wastes were generated from the production of chlorite and sodium hydroxide used for bleaching in the paper making process by a former owner of the site, not Resolute or any of its predecessors.
The manufacturing process responsible for the mercury and chloride waste is no longer in use and again was never employed by Resolute or its predecessors at the site, Kursman emphasized.
Domtar didn't become the owner of the Dryden mill until 2007, and they've offered to assist the province by allowing access to the site and by mapping the bedrock under the mill, in an effort to accelerate the process of identifying and cleaning up any legacy mercury.
On August 25, 2011, the Ministry of the Environment issued a Director’s Order to Weyerhaeuser (as a former owner of the waste disposal site) and Bowater, Resolute’s corporate predecessor. This order imposed three main obligations:
(1) to repair certain site erosion, perform specific groundwater and surface water testing, and file annual reports containing specified information;
(2) to deliver to the Ministry of the Environment the sum of $273,063 as financial assurance in respect of the waste disposal site; and
(3) to “take all reasonable measures to ensure that any discharge of a contaminant to the natural environment is prevented and any adverse effect that may result from such a discharge is dealt with according to all legal requirements”
Weyerhaeuser appealed the order to the Environmental Review Tribunal, and then Superior court.
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