On April 23, 2009, in a ruling by the Federal Court of Canada, the Canadian Minister of the Environment (MOE) was ordered to publish, through the National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI), information regarding releases and transfers to tailings and waste rock disposal areas by mining facilities for 2006 and subsequent reporting years.
The application for judicial review was filed against the MOE in 2007 by Great Lakes United and Miningwatch Canada, who sought a declaration that the MOE had erred in interpreting the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA) and a mandamus ordering the MOE to publish in the NPRI data from mining facilities with respect to releases to tailings impoundment areas (TIA) and waste rock storage areas (WRSAs).
The court recognized that, pursuant to Sections 2, 48 and 50 of CEPA, on-site releases and transfers to TIAs and WRSAs constitute "releases of pollutants" that must be reported in the NPRI and that the MOE must require mining facilities to report them.
Environment Minister Jim Prentice is reported to have said that he will comply with this order.
A representative from Environment Canada’s NPRI department confirmed that Environment Canada (EC) does not currently have on file the required information to be reported in the NPRI pursuant to this recent ruling and that EC has not yet determined the nature and scope of the data and means of obtaining it from mining facilities.
EC also indicated that the Notice with respect to Substances in the National Pollutant Release Inventory for 2008 published in the Canada Gazette on February 16th, 2008 remains the same and that the information to be provided to EC no later than June 1st, 2009 will exclude the information required by the recent judgment of the Federal Court.