Tribunal gives green light to appeals against Ontario's approval of waste incineration at Lafarge cement kiln
Today the Environmental Review Tribunal granted permission to Loyalist Township residents, local landowners, Lake Ontario Waterkeeper, and Trustee of Lake Ontario Gord Downie to appeal two environmental approvals issued to Lafarge Canada Inc.
The approvals, issued last December by the Ministry of the Environment (MOE), permit Lafarge to collect, store and burn various wastes â€“ including scrap tires, plastics, and meat and bone meal wastes â€“ as â€œalternative fuelsâ€ at its cement manufacturing plant at Bath, Ontario.
However, in its detailed 34 page decision, the ERT concluded that it appeared unreasonable for the MOE to issue the two approvals, and that the MOE decision to issue the approvals could result in significant environmental harm. The Tribunal found on the evidence that â€œthe kinds of contaminants to be emitted from the Lafarge kiln from the use of both traditional and waste-derived fuels are potentially hazardous to the environment and human health and safety.â€
â€œOur clients are very pleased that the Tribunal has agreed there is merit to their longstanding concerns about waste-burning at the Lafarge facility,â€ stated Robert Wright, senior counsel with Sierra Legal, which represents a local residents' coalition. â€This decision supports their concerns about the cumulative environmental and health impacts of the Lafarge operations on the community.â€
â€œThe Tribunal's decision correctly chastises the MOE for failing to consider the impact of these approvals on my clients' common law rights to use and enjoy their property without impacts from the Lafarge facility,â€ said Joe Castrilli, an environmental lawyer representing local landowners. â€œThe MOE was further criticized for issuing the approvals without adequate baseline data.â€
â€œThis is a significant legal victory that will help facilitate access to environmental justice,â€ stated Richard Lindgren, counsel with the Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA), which represents Lake Ontario Waterkeeper and Gord Downie. â€œThe Tribunal's decision demonstrates that citizens can work together to protect the environment and to ensure governmental accountability for decisions affecting public health and natural resources.â€
The next step in this proceeding is for the appellants to file Notices of Appeal with the Tribunal within the next 15 days. For more information, please contact:
Robert Wright (Sierra Legal): 416-368-7533, ext.31 Joe Castrilli: 416-922-7300 Richard Lindgren (CELA): 613-385-1686 Mark Mattson (LOW): 416-861-1237