On March 13, 2009, the Ministry of the Environment released “Guideline A-7: Air Pollution Control, Design and Operation Guidelines for Municipal Waste Thermal Treatment Facilities” for public comment. The A-7 Guideline is intended to set emission limits, as well as require air pollution controls and monitoring systems for municipal facilities that burn waste for fuel. Lake Ontario Waterkeeper submitted its comments May 12, 2009.
The submission draws on Waterkeeper’s expertise gained in the Lafarge Alternative Fuels case. The case is one of the most influential environmental decisions in recent years. From 2006-2009, environmental groups including Lake Ontario Waterkeeper and Trustee for Lake Ontario Gord Downie fought for the right to question the decision-making process behind an application by the cement giant to burn waste in its kiln located in Bath, ON. The Guideline would regulate projects similar to the Lafarge Alternative Fuels Project, which have the potential to impact the quality of local air and watersheds.
Lake Ontario Waterkeeper’s submission points out that the proposed Guideline fails to meet the Ministry’s own requirements already established in law. The Guideline A-7 also runs contrary to the principles of environmental justice and current efforts to decrease greenhouse gas emissions in the province:
- The Guideline does not incorporate the “ecosystem approach” required by the Ministry’s Statement of Environmental Values
- The Guideline omits established legal requirements to consider the cumulative effects of burning waste over time
- The Guideline exempts facilities conducting test burns of less than 50 tonnes per year. The Ontario courts have already ruled that “communities cannot be used as guinea pigs”
- The Guideline directly contradicts the principals of environmental law by suggesting that sites which burn higher concentrations of heavy metals should simply have their emissions limits raised
- The Guideline discriminates against Ontarians by suggesting lower standards should apply to facilities in remote areas of northern Ontario
- The Guideline sets greenhouse gas emissions limits based on conventional fossil fuel standards, which the Ontario government has already identified as unacceptable in its own “Climate Change Action Plan”
On May 5, 2009, Ministry of the Environment announced an extension in the public consultation for the A-7 Guideline until May 29, 2009.
This week on Living at the Barricades
In a belated tip of the hat to Mother’s Day, Living at the Barricades examines the founding of Lake Ontario Waterkeeper and the impact of mothers on the environmental movement. We hear from Mark's mom, Jackie Mattson, and Krystyn's mom, Sandra Tully, as well as the newest mother in the Waterkeeper movement, Lauren Brown from Fraser Riverkeeper.
Music on this week's show:
LL Cool J - Mamma Said Knock You Out
Paul Simon - Mother and Child Reunion
Rolling Stones - Mother's Little Helper
Marvin Gaye - What's Going On?
Listen to the show:
Listen to this week's show online (right-click to download).
Subscribe to the Living At the Barricades Podcast via iTunes
Follow Lake Ontario Waterkeeper on Twitter!
Lake Ontario Waterkeeper is now using Twitter to update our readers to the goings on around the office, and the news, events and issues we’re working on. Join up and follow us to be the first to know about what’s happening with LOW. Twitter is fun and easy to use.
Once you sign up you can get access to all of our twitter pages:
LOWwaterkeeper- our main account to stay on top of all our news and office action
Waterkeepermark - follow our Waterkeeper and President Mark Mattson
Swim Drink Fish Music Club at Artpark with The Tragically Hip
Waterkeeper will be on-hand to offer memberships in the new Swim Drink Fish Music Club - the exciting new charity benefiting Canadian Waterkeeper organizations across Canada. The Swim Drink Fish Club offers members access to exclusive music by artists (like Gord Downie) who have donated their work to support the fight for swimmable, drinkable, fishable water.
Lawn seating is still available for the June 5 concert (beginning at 8:00 PM). Purchase tickets online here.