TORONTO, March 29 A cement plant near Kingston, Ontario could become the destination of choice for thousands of tonnes of municipal waste, tires, and non-recyclable materials, says a prominent Ontario environmental group.
Lafarge Canada has applied for approvals to burn waste from Ontario, Quebec, and eight U.S. states at its cement plant in Bath. This proposal has activists worried.
The Bath Alternative Fuel project is not as straightforward as it seems. This could inadvertently determine waste management policies across Ontario and set us back decades in the fight to restore Lake Ontario, warns Waterkeeper and environmental lawyer Mark Mattson.
York Region recently announced a multi-million dollar deal to make fuel pellets from garbage and is now looking for an Ontario customer. Niagara-Hamilton, Halton, and Kingston have also shown interest in the Lafarge proposal.
Under Ontario law, a hearing must be held if a project uses the waste of 1500 people. But Lafarge and the government have discussed ways to avoid a hearing.
The amount of municipal waste Lafarge plans to burn is right at the threshold for a mandatory hearing, says Mattson. â€œAnd there's an understanding that the figure could increase in the future, and the public would be shut out.
Lake Ontario Waterkeeper and Gord Downie are asking the province to deny Lafarge's request, citing concerns about increased metals, dioxin, and particulate pollution on Eastern Lake Ontario.
Lake Ontario Waterkeeper is an environmental justice organization based in Toronto and part of a global alliance led by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. Gord Downie is a member of the Tragically Hip, Lafarge's neighbour, and a Trustee for Lake Ontario.
The Waterkeeper/Downie submission is available online: www.waterkeeper.ca.
More information: Mark Mattson, Waterkeeper & President, Lake Ontario Waterkeeper, (416) 861-1237.