See below my response to Teck’s Press Release sent to me by CBC Radio this morning…..
From: Jamie Paparich
Sent: Monday, September 10, 2012 11:32 AM
To: ‘Chris Walker’
Subject: RE: Teck press release…
Thanks for the article Chris. Unfortunately it sounds like more smoke screens from Teck. They state that “studies in the Upper Columbia River, which to date have generally shown that the water in the river system meets applicable water quality standards in both Canada and the United States, that the beaches are safe for recreational activities, and that the fish in the river system are as safe or safer to eat than fish in other water bodies in Washington State.”
What they aren’t saying is the levels of heavy metal toxins found in the water, and in the air in past studies, are higher than the set safety levels for RESIDENTS. Teck, along with our own United States Agencies, have hid behind the whole recreational activity safety levels for over a decade. They can only say, using slanted averages, that anyone exposed to the beaches and sediment/soil are safe 30 days out of the year. What about the hundreds of residents exposed to not only the toxins found on the beaches and in the river but to the toxins found in their soil, smaller rivers contaminated from the Columbia and their air (along with the particulate matter) for 365 days a year, year after year?
I am worried if the plaintiffs allow Teck to side step this civil proceeding by agreeing with their proposed settlement that they are allowing Teck more time to continue doing a study the EPA has already done twice, and a chance for them to avoid being held liable for damages to human health under the SARA act of CERCLA (aka civil suits from individuals impacted by Teck’s Century of pollution).
I am more than willing to talk further with you. You can reach me at the same number.
Thanks again for the heads up!
From: Chris Walker [mailto:Chris.Walker@CBC.CA]
Sent: Monday, September 10, 2012 11:11 AM
To: Jamie Paparich
Subject: Teck press release…
Teck Resources Announces Agreement as to Certain Facts in Upper Columbia River Litigation
Monday , 10 Sep 2012 Teck Resources
Teck Resources Limited (TSX: TCK.A and TCK.B, NYSE: TCK) (“Teck”) announced today that Teck Metals Ltd. (“TML”) has entered into an agreement regarding certain facts with the plaintiffs in Pakootas et al v. Teck Metals Ltd. in civil proceedings under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (“CERCLA”). The effect of the agreement is to avoid the need for a trial over technical issues in the liability phase of the case. Despite the agreement, important scientific issues, as well as jurisdictional and other legal issues relating to the case remain to be resolved.
The agreement stipulates that some portion of the slag discharged from Teck’s Trail Operations into the Columbia River between 1896 and 1995, and some portion of the effluent discharged from Trail Operations, have been transported to and are present in the Upper Columbia River in the United States, and that some hazardous substances from the slag and effluent have been released into the environment within the United States. These facts are expected to provide the minimum requirements to allow the court to find in favour of the plaintiffs on their claim for a declaratory judgment that TML is liable under CERCLA for response costs, the amount of which will be determined in a subsequent phase of the case. The subsequent hearing, with respect to claims for natural resource damages and costs, is expected to be deferred while the remedial investigation and feasibility study with respect to environmental conditions in the Upper Columbia River are completed. That study, being undertaken by Teck American Incorporated (“TAI”) pursuant to a 2006 agreement with the United States Environmental Protection Agency, is currently expected to be completed in 2015.
TAI continues to work with the Environmental Protection Agency, the State, the Tribes and others on studies in the Upper Columbia River, which to date have generally shown that the water in the river system meets applicable water quality standards in both Canada and the United States, that the beaches are safe for recreational activities, and that the fish in the river system are as safe or safer to eat than fish in other water bodies in Washington State. TAI has commissioned a study by experts in natural resource damage assessment and on the basis of that study it estimates that the compensable value of any damage will not be material.
Teck continues to work cooperatively with regulators to complete its investigation of environmental conditions in the Upper Columbia River. Today, metals in discharges from Trail Operations are much lower than naturally occurring metals loads in the Columbia River. While the slag historically deposited in the river has been shown to release small quantities of metals under certain conditions, it is generally inert.
There can be no assurance that TML will ultimately be successful in its defense of the litigation, or that Teck or its affiliates will not be faced with further liability in relation to this matter. Until the studies described above and additional damage assessments are completed it is not possible to estimate the extent and cost, if any, of any remediation or restoration that may be required, or to fully assess TML’s potential liability for damages. The studies may conclude, on the basis of risk, cost, technical feasibility or other grounds, that no remediation should be undertaken. If remediation is required and damage to resources found, the cost of remediation may be material.
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