Ministry of the Environment
Environmental Assessment and Approvals Branch
2 St. Clair Avenue West, Floor 12A
Toronto, Ontario M4V 1L5
Dear Mr. Ryan:
Re: St. Marys Cement - Proposal
EBR No.s 010-4892 (Bowmanville) and 010-4894 (St. Marys)
Please ﬁnd enclosed comments on behalf of Lake Ontario Waterkeeper and Gord Downie, Trustee for Lake Ontario, on the above-mentioned proposals. This comment applies to both information notices.
St. Marys Cement Inc. (Canada) [St. Marys] has applied to the Ontario Ministry of the Environment [MOE] under sections 9 and 27 of the Environmental Protection Act to burn “alternative fuels” at its Bowmanville plant, on the shores of Lake Ontario, and its plant on the banks of the Thames River, in the Separated City of St. Marys, 40 kilometers north of London. The proposed alternative fuels consist of paper biosolids, post-recycling residual plastics and post-composting residual plastic ﬁlm.
The proposals put forward by St. Marys have the potential to signiﬁcantly affect the environment. The possible environmental impacts are serious and have not been considered or scientiﬁcally examined in the proposals. Incinerating waste can produce dioxins, one of the most toxic substances for human and environmental health. Incinerating waste can also produce organic pollutants, volatile gaseous emissions, and residual substances that leach toxic heavy metals into the environment.
Unlike tests performed in laboratory settings, the proposed burns will occur in the heart of communities, where any unforeseen side effects will enter the environment and impact real people living nearby. Before the MOE can make a decision on these proposals, site speciﬁc scientiﬁc data must be collected, analyzed, and made public on the potential effects of burning these fuels.
The MOE is also legally bound to consider the Ministry’s Statement of Environmental Values (SEV) when making decisions with the potential to impact the environment. This requires the Ministry to:
Adopt an ecosystem approach to environmental protection and resource management;
Use a precautionary, science-based approach;
Consider the impact of its decision on future generations;
Consider the cumulative effects on the environment of the proposal; and
Make decisions in an open, consultation-based context.
There is a legal requirement for a hearing before the Environmental Review Tribunal on these proposals based on the volume of waste involved. This requirement has not yet been fulﬁlled. In addition to failing to initiate the required hearing, the Ministry of the Environment (MOE) has failed to provide the public participation rights as guaranteed by the Environmental Bill of Rights, which is an error of law.