The Ministry of the Environment has notified the public about a request from St. Marys Cement for a temporary approval to burn “alternative fuels” at its Bowmanville and St. Marys locations. The company proposes to burn paper biosolids, post-recycling and post-composting plastics in addition to its conventional mix of coal and petroleum coke.
Lake Ontario Waterkeeper and co-applicant Gord Downie reviewed the application and forwarded comments to the Ministry of the Environment. The main concern is that incinerating plastic waste will produce additional dioxins, organic pollutants, volatile gaseous emissions, and residual substances that discharge into the environment. The potential environmental impacts from these discharges must be analyzed and posted on the Environmental Registry for public comment before an approval is issued. To date, the evidence and science necessary to protect the community from increased burning at the plants has not been collected. The Ministry of the Environment has also exempted the alternative fuels proposal from the traditional public consultation process and eliminated the public's ability to appeal.
The proposal would see "test burns" of approximately 4000 tonnes of waste at the two locations over the course of 30 days. St. Marys would use the burns to measure the efficiency and potential consequences of burning these types of fuels in its cement kilns. The cement company may apply for approval to use the alternative fuels permanently if the results are positive.
Lake Ontario Waterkeeper and Gord Downie recently completed a lengthy battle for a hearing into a similar Alternative Fuels proposal from cement giant Lafarge. In that case, the company cancelled the project rather than face the scrutiny of an independent tribunal.
- Read our timeline of events with Lafarge at www.waterkeeper.ca/lafarge
Listen to Living at the Barricades.
Leveling the playing field (Mar. 10, 2009)
This week on Living at the Barricades, we speak with Bruce Cox, Executive Director of Greenpeace Canada about the different rules for different players in the Ontario energy business, as well as Trevor Herriot, author of "Grass, Sky, Song" about access to information.
Music on this week's show:
The Kids Don't Get It - The Tragically Hip
See You in the Light - Michael Franti and Spearhead
Daylight - Coldplay
Sunny Side of the Street - The Pogues