Today, we are making an urgent appeal for your support and solidarity towardsRistigouche Sud-Est, our small municipality of 168 inhabitants in the Bay of Chaleur in the western part of the Gaspe Peninsula. We are subject to alawsuit by Gastem Inc., an oil and gas company claiming $1.5 million in damages and interest, for having, in the absence of any provincial regulation, protected our sources of drinking water by prohibiting through a municipal bylaw the introduction of any substances which can contaminate our water. The recent adoption on July 23, 2014 of a Quebeclaw protecting water in no way puts an end to the intended lawsuit by Gastem. This new law is two years too late for us.
The amount claimed by Gastem represents 5.5 times the annual budget of our municipality. In truth, we do not have the financial means to cover the costs of defending ourselves to the end of the trial.
We have launched a fundraising campaign titled “Solidarité Ristigouche”, in order to help the municipality finance its legal and representation costs. We have set an objective of $225,000. This amount alone exceeds the total annual property taxes collected from the residents of our municipality.
We need your help
The citizens of Ristigouche Sud-Est do not have the capacity to financially absorb alone the entirety ofthe costs linked to this lawsuit. Despite representations and calls for assistance to the Quebec Government, the municipality is left to fend for itself for the time being. The consequences of this lawsuit are disastrous and compromise the services that Ristigouche Sud-Est must offer its citizens.
Ensure the protection of drinking water : a right and a duty
Through the case of Ristigouche Sud-Est, a small municipality is being punished for trying to uphold the protection of drinking water over a private company’s desire to make a profit. No one should have to pay for having given priority to the right for health and a clean environment.
If you believe:
- that the protection of drinking water must come before the desire of a company to conduct industrial activity in any municipal territory;
- that one cannot compel citizens of a municipality to pay exorbitant amounts to an oil & gas company simply for daring to protect their sources of drinking water;
- that one cannot allow oil & gas companies to impose their interests above the legitimate concerns of citizens;
Help us collect $225,000 by making a donation today
You can make a donation on the website: www.solidariteristigouche.ca; or by mail addressed to the municipality (please see detailed information on the website).
Your support is essential for the future our community and the primacy of the right to clean water and a healthy environment.
To further help us, do not hesitate to share this e-mail with your friends.
Francois Boulay, Mayor
Municipality of Ristigouche Sud-Est
To know more about the regulations adopted by the municipality, about the details concerning the lawsuit with Gastem, visit our website: www.solidariteristigouche.ca