Newfoundland and Labrador is weighing its options after a Quebec judge stayed the province's environmental claims against insolvent AbitibiBowater Inc.
The decision came down on Wednesday.
A day later, Environment Minister Charlene Johnson told The Telegram she wanted to review the ruling with government officials before determining how to proceed.
"I haven't actually had an opportunity to sit down and read, in depth, the decision yet," Johnson said in an interview Thursday afternoon.
"So I'd like to take the time - of course, with government and certainly with (the department of) Justice - to go through that, and see what our options are on a go-forward basis."
Johnson was on her way back from Buchans, where she was one of a troika of ministers outlining the results of environmental testing to date in the town.
The Williams administration announced $9 million in the 2010 budget to address environmental concerns at former mining properties in Buchans.
Buchans is one of five sites subject to environmental claims by the provincial government against Abitibi. Other locations include logging camps and former mill locations in Stephenville and Grand Falls-Windsor.
The cost of cleaning up those sites has been estimated by Abitibi's bankruptcy monitor to potentially reach into the hundreds of millions of dollars.
The province had effectively been seeking preferential treatment for its environmental claims.
In dismissing Newfoundland and Labrador's motion, Quebec Sup-erior Court Justice Clement Gascon urged both sides to find "an appropriate forum" in which to settle their differences.
Abitibi has been under creditor protection since last April. The decision removes a likely hurdle to the company's restructuring process.
Johnson said the province won't know the actual cleanup costs until Abitibi submits a remediation plan and it is deemed acceptable.
Among the options for the province is an appeal of the Quebec court decision, Johnson said.
firstname.lastname@example.org Canwest News Service