As the first newsletter for 2009, Lake Ontario Waterkeeper looks back at some of the big stories of 2008 we've covered in Waterkeeper.ca Weekly.
Detroit Edison will face prosecution for cross-border pollution (January 28). Private citizen Scott Edwards laid charges against an American coal company for violating the Canadian Fisheries Act and polluting the St. Clair River with mercury. The Sarnia Superior Court will hear jurisdictional arguments April 20, 2009. Track the history of the case from February 2007 to today at Waterkeeper.ca/dte.
A model act for preserving Canada’s waters (February 19). The Canadian Water Issues Council, which includes Lake Ontario Waterkeeper Mark Mattson, released its discussion paper and sample legislation on preventing the bulk export of freshwater from Canada while remaining consistent with international trade obligations and public policy objectives.
Ontario must protect drinking water from nuclear pollution (March 17). Lake Ontario Waterkeeper appeared before the Ontario Drinking Water Advisory Council to recommend Lake Ontario be protected from tritium pollution. Current standards are up to seventy times less protective than those of other countries.
Waterkeeper recommended the province set the drinking water standard closer to what are considered naturally occurring background levels.
Wolfe Island Wind: Can we make clean power green power? (April 27). The Ontario government approved the construction of an 86-turbine wind farm on Wolfe Island with no "re-siting" as advised by expert opinion. Concerns over bird habitat and the Wolfe Island environment were ignored.
Lake Ontario Waterkeeper worked with residents and volunteer organizations to offer expert advice and alternative solutions to the issues and appealed the provincial approval. The Minister of the Environment subsequently referred the decision to the Minister of Tourism, citing a conflict of interest. Three days later, the Minister denied the request for a hearing. A federal Environmental Assessment continued until December, when the project received final approval.
The public can still provide input on the Post Construction Follow-up Plan until January 16, 2009.
The Moose Cree and the Integrated Power Supply Plan (IPSP). Lake Ontario Waterkeeper has been involved in every step of the largest energy plan developed by the provincial government in over a decade.
Lake Ontario Waterkeeper Mark Mattson and author Joseph Boyden traveled to James Bay in May to meet with members of the Moosenee and Moose Factory community. Ontario Power Generation is considering damming several northern rivers as part of a provincial plan to supply power to the south.
We returned again in August, when Joseph Boyden documented the trip in a feature article for Maclean's entitled “Prophecies and Power”. The meetings are the focus of our Living at the Barricades episode “Damming the Moose River?”
The Ontario Energy Board hearing began in the fall but was adjourned by Minister Smitherman to allow time for more consultation and conservation planning.
Lafarge loses bid to stop hearing into tire and waste-burning at Bath kiln (June 23). Lafarge Canada and the Ministry of the Environment attempted to end an Environmental Review Tribunal hearing on the licences for Lafarge’s Alternative Fuels Project.
The Ontario Divisional Court decided in favour of Lake Ontario Waterkeeper and Gord Downie, and other environmental groups, allowing an appeal of Lafarge Canada’s plan to burn tires and other waste in its Bath, ON kiln to proceed.
Is it safe to swim in Lake Ontario? (July 28). Lake Ontario Waterkeeper joined Kingston residents for the “Mass Swim” event. The event coincided with the release of our Mid-Summer Beach report on the best places to swim along the lake.
Each summer, Lake Ontario Waterkeeper conducts daily monitoring of the beaches along the Lake Ontario shore to track incidents of closure or warnings due to pollution levels.
Cameco landfill may be breaking provincial laws (August 26). Along with Port Hope citizens, Lake Ontario Waterkeeper filed an Application for Investigation alleging that Cameco Corporation may be breaking Ontario’s environmental laws. The Application alleges a broken pipe is discharging wastewater into Lake Ontario from Cameco’s Welcome Waste Management Facility.
The Ministry of the Environment responded Oct. 31st stating it will not conduct an investigation. Instead, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission will work with Cameco to restore the broken pipe and examine further ways to treat the effluent.
Crombie Report urges cleanup, return of Oshawa Harbour to the city (September 9). The long awaited report by former Toronto Mayor David Crombie urged the federal government to return the harbour to the city and to protect its environmentally sensitive areas.
Oshawa landfill leaks into park, creek (October 21). Oshawa resident Sarah Ross and Lake Ontario Waterkeeper prepared an Application for Investigation for the Harmony Landfill, which revealed the site has been leaching toxins into the local soil and water for years.
Jim Sinclair, owner of the landfill, was later sentenced to 4 months of jail time and a $650,000 fine for environmental violations on another property in Belleville.
Should the Ministry of the Environment decide not to conduct an investigation, it will issue notice by January 2, 2009.
More, better wind power for Ontario (November 24). Energy developers have put forth proposals to the province to construct wind farms in several areas that have raised controversy in local communities.
According to the 2006 and 2008 Helimax wind studies for Ontario, the province has the potential to produce over ten times what the government has requested to be part of the supply by 2025. It is the site and scale of the proposed projects that has sparked the debate in communities across Ontario.
Living at the Barricade’s episode “More, Better Wind Power for Ontario” looks at how Ontario can generate more clean wind power by building better projects.
Lafarge denied leave to appeal, cement company may abandon Alternative Fuels Project (December 15). Lafarge Canada has been denied its request to halt the appeal of its application to burn tires and waste in its Bath, ON kiln.
Lake Ontario Waterkeeper and Gord Downie, along with other environmental organizations, have won the right to proceed with an Environmental Review Tribunal hearing.
Living at the Barricades also took the opportunity to look back, this time at the artists that have helped Lake Ontario Waterkeeper in so many different ways.
Instrumental: the artists behind Lake Ontario Waterkeeper (Dec 30, 2008)
In our first show of the new year, Mark and Krystyn look at the artists that have helped Lake Ontario Waterkeeper speak to the people on environmental issues. From artists who have lent their music to our work, to musicians who have stepped up as citizens to defend clean water all across water. Lake Ontario Waterkeeper is proud to be able to say thank you to such a dedicated and talented group of people.
Music on today's show:
Birds - Dawn Blythe and Dave Clark
The Waterkeepers - Chris Brown
Until its Dead - Broken Social Scene
Pretend - Gord Downie
Beer Bash - The Rheostatics
Dandelions and Bullet Holes - Sarah Harmer
Listen to the show...