Quebec judge dismisses N.L. claims against AbitibiBowater

CanWest News Service
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Environment/Court

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.

Montreal -

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.

rantle@thetelegram.com Canwest News Service

Organizations: AbitibiBowater Inc., Canwest News Service

Geographic location: Quebec, Newfoundland and Labrador, Abitibi Buchans Montreal Stephenville

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Recent comments

  • Bones II
    July 02, 2010 - 13:35

    Nate, you're an idiot. We do not HAVE to run a deficit, but government has obviously leaned this way to provide good budgets for the residents in having no increases to anything but smokers. Look at how much health care is getting! Balancing the books would probably have made you happier, but that and a dollar won't get you a coffee, lol. why don't you post an idiotic comment under the article about Ottawa's profits from the oil this round, or maybe you're working on it already? On another note, we have nearly 20% ownership stakes in projects that haven't even begun to produce profits yet, how do you think that will fair against the millions that 8.5% earns on only one field? These forums should be good for a hearty laugh once Hebron reaches payout, hahaha, if the Telegram is still even here by then, lol.

  • Audacity
    July 02, 2010 - 13:33

    GO ENVIRO-WARRIOR Charlene Johnson, hold Abitibi's feet to the fire!

    They are listed on the New York Stock Exchange still are they not?

    While you're at it, I think the province deserves compensation from Imperial Oil/Mobil/Exxon/Esso which has polluted at least one former gas station site in the capital city and just closed down rather than pay for soil remediation restitution. This site happens to be very near streams that empty into the Waterford River that were buried, something like 100 years ago, I don't know exactly when each stream was directed underground from here to Mundy Pond, by any means, but I digress.

    Perhaps they would like to relinquish some of their stake[s] in offshore oil, east and west NL? Or whatnot.

    Good Day

  • Nasty
    July 02, 2010 - 13:22

    Sure Bones, keep dreaming. One day it may come true. The day Danny has been sent out to pasture that is. 2011 sound about right.

  • Sea-Dog
    July 02, 2010 - 13:19

    please tell me is anyone else sick of hearing on a go forward basis what a dumb statement for a minister to make, these people go to the bathroom on a go forward basis . so please answer me three questions,#1 just how many billions is this Abitibi thing going to cost us ? #2 when are we going to stop wasting a fortune suing Quebec ? #3 how do idiots become ministers of the crown on a go forward basis ?

  • Luke
    July 02, 2010 - 13:17

    No b'y... on a go-backward basis. Why don't you just say 'in the FUTURE' ?

  • Nasty
    July 02, 2010 - 13:12

    Anyone have the legal bill for this wasted action? We see what the taxpayers will be paying for the theft of property, what are the legal bills that we also need to add to this? What will the NAFTA legal bill be and that loss?

    HAVE NOT, Why yes we sure are. This is the reason. Danny Williams Ego. Things like this must be presented to the voters to decide, government is not responsible enough with our resources or revenue. Going from a multi billion dollar surplus to a deficit in a year is criminal.

  • don
    July 02, 2010 - 13:09

    Danny boy, expropriating the property of a corporation or an individual in our capitalistic and democratic society because you have some axe to grind is a very bad idea. This is just the start of the legal pounding that the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador is going to get for expropriating Abitibi. NAFTA will nail the Government as well! The Bankers on Wall Street will eventually stop lending money to Newfoundland and Labrador and every conceivable act of retribution that the corporate world can imagine will be visited on this Province over the next few years. By the time this mess is over, the Government will be poorer by more than three billion dollars. Great move Danny, you should pay the final bill yourself, it was your order to expropriate Abitibi and apparently you can afford to put your money where your mouth is or can you?

  • James
    July 02, 2010 - 13:08

    You must have mistyped, don. How can a society be both capitalist and democratic? If corporate America is able to dictate policies over an elected government (as through agreements like NAFTA), then it is hardly democratic, is it?

  • Bones II
    July 01, 2010 - 20:25

    Nate, you're an idiot. We do not HAVE to run a deficit, but government has obviously leaned this way to provide good budgets for the residents in having no increases to anything but smokers. Look at how much health care is getting! Balancing the books would probably have made you happier, but that and a dollar won't get you a coffee, lol. why don't you post an idiotic comment under the article about Ottawa's profits from the oil this round, or maybe you're working on it already? On another note, we have nearly 20% ownership stakes in projects that haven't even begun to produce profits yet, how do you think that will fair against the millions that 8.5% earns on only one field? These forums should be good for a hearty laugh once Hebron reaches payout, hahaha, if the Telegram is still even here by then, lol.

  • Audacity
    July 01, 2010 - 20:22

    GO ENVIRO-WARRIOR Charlene Johnson, hold Abitibi's feet to the fire!

    They are listed on the New York Stock Exchange still are they not?

    While you're at it, I think the province deserves compensation from Imperial Oil/Mobil/Exxon/Esso which has polluted at least one former gas station site in the capital city and just closed down rather than pay for soil remediation restitution. This site happens to be very near streams that empty into the Waterford River that were buried, something like 100 years ago, I don't know exactly when each stream was directed underground from here to Mundy Pond, by any means, but I digress.

    Perhaps they would like to relinquish some of their stake[s] in offshore oil, east and west NL? Or whatnot.

    Good Day

  • Nasty
    July 01, 2010 - 20:06

    Sure Bones, keep dreaming. One day it may come true. The day Danny has been sent out to pasture that is. 2011 sound about right.

  • Sea-Dog
    July 01, 2010 - 20:02

    please tell me is anyone else sick of hearing on a go forward basis what a dumb statement for a minister to make, these people go to the bathroom on a go forward basis . so please answer me three questions,#1 just how many billions is this Abitibi thing going to cost us ? #2 when are we going to stop wasting a fortune suing Quebec ? #3 how do idiots become ministers of the crown on a go forward basis ?

  • Luke
    July 01, 2010 - 19:58

    No b'y... on a go-backward basis. Why don't you just say 'in the FUTURE' ?

  • Nasty
    July 01, 2010 - 19:49

    Anyone have the legal bill for this wasted action? We see what the taxpayers will be paying for the theft of property, what are the legal bills that we also need to add to this? What will the NAFTA legal bill be and that loss?

    HAVE NOT, Why yes we sure are. This is the reason. Danny Williams Ego. Things like this must be presented to the voters to decide, government is not responsible enough with our resources or revenue. Going from a multi billion dollar surplus to a deficit in a year is criminal.

  • don
    July 01, 2010 - 19:44

    Danny boy, expropriating the property of a corporation or an individual in our capitalistic and democratic society because you have some axe to grind is a very bad idea. This is just the start of the legal pounding that the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador is going to get for expropriating Abitibi. NAFTA will nail the Government as well! The Bankers on Wall Street will eventually stop lending money to Newfoundland and Labrador and every conceivable act of retribution that the corporate world can imagine will be visited on this Province over the next few years. By the time this mess is over, the Government will be poorer by more than three billion dollars. Great move Danny, you should pay the final bill yourself, it was your order to expropriate Abitibi and apparently you can afford to put your money where your mouth is or can you?

  • James
    July 01, 2010 - 19:43

    You must have mistyped, don. How can a society be both capitalist and democratic? If corporate America is able to dictate policies over an elected government (as through agreements like NAFTA), then it is hardly democratic, is it?