Lake Ontario Waterkeeper ("Waterkeeper") is a nonprofit organization working to win back our rights to safely swim, drink, and fish in this Great Lake. Since 2001, Waterkeeper has worked with various stakeholders in the Oshawa Harbour area to identify and resolve contamination and planning issues that jeopardize the local environment, public access to the waterfront, and citizens' access to decision-making.
Waterkeeper respectfully requests that the Canadian Transportation Agency reject the Canadian National Railway Company's application (CN) for the following reasons:
o This environmental assessment process has been inconsistent with the Canadian Transportation Agency's guidance document, the Environmental Self-Assessment Handbook for Rail Infrastructure Projects ("Handbook").
o This environmental assessment process has been inconsistent with the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act ("CEAA").
o The screening report omits key information about uses of the Oshawa Harbour, public concerns, and potential environmental effects of the project.
In the alternative, Waterkeeper respectfully asks that the Canadian Transportation Agency ("CTA") launch a fair, more meaningful environmental assessment that meets the objectives of the CEAA and the Handbook. Such a process would include, but not be limited to, the following activities:
o Re-issuing a comprehensive Notice of Commencement, to be disseminated through the public registry (Internet and project files), to local media, to area residents, to municipal and provincial government officials, to industry and NGO stakeholders, and on the CTA web site.
o Recognizing that there is considerable public concern regarding this project and issuing a decision pursuant to section 18.(3) of the CEAA and section 6.0 of the Handbook that public participation in this environmental assessment is appropriate.
o Conducting a fair and meaningful environmental assessment in accordance with the provisions for public consultation spelled out in section 18.(3) of the CEAA and Section 7.0 of the Handbook.
For more information, please read Waterkeeper's official submission in .pdf format.