Mining hearing into Penobsquis fight nears record
The ongoing fight between Penobsquis residents and PotashCorp is turning into the longest hearing ever held by the province’s mining commissioner.
A group representing 25 people from Penobsquis is seeking financial compensation for their lost property values.
The residents claim they lost their well water several years ago after PotashCorp began seismic testing in the area for a new mine.
Beth Nixon said about 60 residents lost their well-water starting in 2004.
"For us, certainly in 2004, it was PotashCorp doing the seismic testing, it was PotashCorp that was having the water inflow into their mine, it's PotashCorp that's ultimately pumping away the water and extracting it, you know, hundreds of gallons a minute," she said.
"So it seems clear who's using and taking and extracting the water."
By the end of this week, these hearings will be the longest ever held by the mining commissioner and they're not even at the halfway point.
The Penobsquis citizens will be another three days to examine witnesses at the end of the month, and an undetermined number of days next month.
PotashCorp will begin its defence early next year,
The mining commissioner heard from a witness from the Environment Department on Thursday who testified that the department monitored 18 wells over four years but found only seasonal variation in water levels.
When the hearings restarted in September, the Penobsquis residents showed up without their lawyer.
Nixon said the legal bills were piling up so they decided to cut their ties with Michel DesNeiges, who had been their lawyer for several years.
The Penobsquis residents decided to take their concerns with PotashCorp to the province's mining commissioner, which is a rarely used option allowed for in the Mining Act, instead of taking the company to court.
The mining commissioner has the power to award financial compensation to the homeowners. However, the decision can be appealed to the courts.