FarmTech has applied for funding from the federal government to build a new ethanol plant on the Oshawa waterfront, beside protected Second Marsh and the harbour. In June, a public comment period of 30 days was announced on the federal environmental assessment screening report.
Lake Ontario Waterkeeper has asked the government to extend the comment period to at least 90 days to reflect the complexity of the project and the high level of public concern. Read our extension request below:
BY MAIL AND EMAIL
Sandra Markey, Manager
ecoAgriculture Biofuels Capital Initiative
Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada
1341 Baseline Road, Tower 7, 7th Floor
Ottawa, ON K1A 0C5
July 7, 2011
Dear Ms Markey:
Re: Proposed FarmTech Ethanol Facility, Oshawa Waterfront
CEAA Registry #08-01-42395
Lake Ontario Waterkeeper requests an extension of the public comment period on FarmTech’s proposed ethanol plant on the Oshawa waterfront. Given the amount of detailed technical information associated with the proposal, and the high degree of public concern about the project, 30 days is an insufficient amount of time for public comment.
FarmTech’s proposal could have serious impacts on Oshawa’s waterfront, the protected Second Marsh, and Lake Ontario. The proposal is complex: it is accompanied by almost 1400 pages of new technical documents and reports. After almost three years since the last comment period, the public received no advance notice that comments would be solicited for 30 days during the summer of 2011. As a charity with limited resources, Waterkeeper does not have the capacity to conduct as fulsome a review as is appropriate in just 30 days.
One purpose of an environmental assessment under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act is to, “ensure that there be opportunities for timely and meaningful public participation throughout the environmental assessment process” [s.4(1)(d)]. We submit that the provision of at least 90 days for review and comment is required in order to ensure that meaningful public consultation on this proposal occurs.
Lake Ontario Waterkeeper formally requests that the comment period be extended by a minimum of 60 additional days to September 28, 2011 to allow for a review period commensurate with the nature of the proposal and level of public concern.
Please contact Joanna Bull, counsel for Lake Ontario Waterkeeper, at 416-861-1237 or firstname.lastname@example.org, if you have any questions or concerns about this request. We look forward to your response to this request and would appreciate hearing from you as soon as possible to facilitate our participation in the process.
President and Waterkeeper