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Abitibi blamed for NF flood


March 18, 2003
By Pulp & Paper Canada

Abitibi-Consolidated Inc. is facing formal investigation by Newfoundland’s municipal affairs department for alleged…

Abitibi-Consolidated Inc. is facing formal investigation by Newfoundland’s municipal affairs department for allegedly causing devastation flood that put a central Newfoundland town 5 feet under water on February 15.
Abitibi officials said the company did nothing wrong and acted in a very responsible manner in operating the newsprint mill and releasing volumes of water at its dam 35 km upstream from Badger. The mill releases water at certain times to keep water on the Exploits River flowing and prevent it from freezing. The mill happened to release water just before the catastrophe.
The town was declared in a state of emergency when nearby rivers burst their banks.
Abitibi’s Roger Pike said there was no abnormal release of water and that the mill did not cause the flood. Rather, it is the warm weather that caused the breakup of winter ice that contributed to the flood, Pike said.
Local newspaper reports say Abitibi is still facing similar allegations and several class-action lawsuits related to the Saguenay flood in 1996, where people claim Stone Consolidated Corp. (later became part of Abitibi) provoked environmental changes when one of its dikes failed. Abitibi maintains that the floods, that caused $770 million in damages, were an act of God.

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