18 Envtl. L. 131 (1987-1988)
Mediated Settlement of Environmental Disputes: Grassy Narrows and White Dog Revisited

handle is hein.journals/envlnw18 and id is 145 raw text is: MEDIATED SETTLEMENT OF
ENVIRONMENTAL DISPUTES: GRASSY
NARROWS AND WHITE DOG REVISITED
By
LEIGH WEST*
This Article argues that mediated settlements of environmental
disputes appear to provide the best mechanism available to allow
,victims of environmental harm to be compensated. Because proce-
dural and evidentiary rules in environmental private actions are
biased in favour of the polluter, traditional tort litigation has
failed to address the real inequities caused by environmental
harm. Insufficient and inadequate environmental legislation and
the apparent unwillingness of the judiciary to evolve existing law
are also part of the problem. The recent settlement of a long-
standing lawsuit between Grassy Narrows and White Dog
Objibway Bands and the polluter is examined to determine if this
unique settlement achieved through mediation can serve as a
model for future environmental disputes.
I. INTRODUCTION
On June 26, 1986, a unique and complex environmental set-
tlement was approved by the Supreme Court of Ontario. The
agreement finally resolved nine years of controversy and negotia-
tions between the Objibway Indians of the Grassy Narrows and
White Dog reserves of Northwestern Ontario and Reed Paper
Company of Dryden, Ontario. By the time the settlement was
reached, it had expanded to include not only the two Objibway
communities but also the federal government, the provincial gov-
ernment, one civil litigant in a related tort suit, and Great Lakes
Forest Products Ltd.-the successor in ownership to the Reed
Paper Company. The subject of this dispute involved the tragic
and highly publicized methyl mercury contamination of the En-
glish-Wabigoon River system.
The Objibway settlement precedent sets and suggests a
* Assistant Professor of Law, University of Windsor. LL.B. McGill Univ.;
LL.M., Wayne State Univ., M.Sc., Iowa State Univ., B.A., Queen's Univ.

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