Tempers flare at Clean Harbors meeting

Cathy Dobson in The Observer — where a few photos are posted as well

Fix stench or shut down, say neighbours

BRIGDEN — A public meeting Tuesday that was meant to reassure neighbours of Clean Harbors’ hazardous waste site was reduced at times to a shouting match. About a dozen of the 50 in attendance stormed out of the Brigden Fair Exhibition hall in frustration.

“We’ve listened to your dog and pony show. Now it’s time to listen to us,” yelled an angry Butch Houle.

He and many other neighbours of the Telfer Road facility have been disturbed by a stench intermittently coming from Clean Harbors since August.

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Ministry backs down on Clean Harbors landfill order

Cathy Dobson in The Observer

ST. CLAIR TOWNSHIP — The deputy mayor is not happy.

Peter Gilliland says a government decision to revoke an order for Clean Harbors to truck foul-smelling leachate from its Telfer Road site is nonsense.

“If you write an order, stick with it,” Gilliland said Friday after learning the Ministry of Environment has reconsidered a directive to the hazardous waste treatment facility requiring the immediate relocation of large volumes of smelly leachate.

Neighbours who live as far away as six and seven kilometres from the facility — the only one of its kind in Ontario — have regularly complained since early August of a stench so strong it can make them vomit and drive them from their homes.

The MOE told Clean Harbors Oct. 21 that some of the leachate would have to be relocated, but backed down after numerous meetings last week with company officials.

“The company has demonstrated it can properly treat the leachate at the site through incineration,” said MOE spokesperson Kate Jordan.

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Asbestos victims object to Quebec mine plans

A CBC News article

The Quebec government is expected to make a decision within weeks on whether to extend loan guarantees to investors to allow them to re-open the Jeffrey mine in Asbestos, Que. (Jacques Boissinot/Canadian Press)

Families of asbestos victims spoke out against an investor’s imminent plan to re-open a Quebec asbestos mine.

The families invited the lead investor, Baljit Chadha, to visit Sarnia, Ont. to meet with asbestos disease victims and their relatives.

The Quebec government is expected to make a decision within a few weeks whether to extend loan guarantees to the asbestos investors to allow them to re-open the Jeffrey mine in Asbestos, Que.

The mine investors are proposing to export asbestos from Jeffrey to the developing world, particularly India, a major buyer of Canadian asbestos.

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Air Pollution stats

A letter from Veronica Taylor in The Observer

Reading the rebuff on air pollution from Ray Curran et al, it really got me thinking. I really don’t profess to know any/all the qualifying info and am as confused as many readers must be regarding their stats, etc., but am just a bit puzzled as to their support materials. As the wife of a wonderful man who has issues with asbestos from over 30 years working in Sarnia’s chemical valley – and who has lost many co-workers and friends to asbestosis, etc., their stats ring a little hollow. Their rebuttal of the actual fact that over 60% of Sarnia’s particulate matter emanates from the good ole US of A – could be true – but they go on to state that if this was removed from our atmosphere, we would rank among the best in the world! Helloo! And if 200% was removed from places such as Mongolia, they too, would be among the best in the world!

They go on to state there are only a ‘few’ cities which met the WHO guidelines of what supposedly is the criteria of 20 micrograms or less of PM10 particulate matter in the atmosphere – again, if you say so. However, anyone with a computer can Google this information and decide for themselves that while Canada as a whole had an annual average of just 13 micrograms of PM10 particles per cubic metre of air (as if I really knew the difference) but that Sarnia which has only a population of less than 75,000, had Canada’s WORST air quality, was just marginally above the WHO recommended limit. And we’re talking Calgary (population 1 million); Toronto (population 2.5 million); Montreal (1.9 million)…included – all pollution type cities which should be factored in this equation, but here’s little old Sarnia making the top of the heap. All the equations in the world do not nullify this horrific status.

Sarnia has also had the unfortunate status of being highly polluted for years and not only with its air but its waters. Years later we are told with information from those who should know better but in whom we put our trust…that we have deformed fish, toxic river bottoms, toxic sludge, etc. And later. Much like when there’s an ‘incident’ in Chemical Valley and we’re told – later. Saddens those of us who like to call Sarnia our home with all of its wonderful attributes. I speak for myself and hubby but I’m thinking there are many who would like to see some positive movements forward, not publicity for those who garner remunerative benefits.

Beside the Aamjiwnaang administration building

Wilson Plain

For those out in Facebook land who don’t know how close Aamjiwnaang is to sources of pollution – check this photo out

On the North side of the Aamjiwnaang Admin Bldg. Prevailing winds are from the Northwest in the Winter.

“Clean Harbors”?

Clean Harbors’ Stench

Shawn Tully in The Observer

Reading your paper on Saturday, I was not that surprised to see another article on the stench coming from the Clean Harbors site on Petrolia Line. Any day that there is a wind from the south, the stench, that is very noticeable driving down Petrolia Line, is disgusting. Living out by Oil Springs and working construction in the Chemical Valley, this is often the easiest route to take. Having changed work sites again this week, I happened to find myself once again using this route. Two of the four mornings I drove past the site, there was that terrible stench again and I had to remind myself to take a different route. Luckily I have that option, unlike the families and farmers that live and work within miles of that giant chemical sewer hole.

The part of that article that compelled me to write this though was the response from their Senior V.P. of Regulatory Affairs, Philip Retallick, claiming that Clean Harbors had “successfully stopped the stench weeks ago”, and that these latest complaints were from a “vocal minority” whose motivations associated with these complaints goes beyond any original odour issue. Nice P.R. work, both false and accusatory.

As long as Big business has senior V.P.’s like this that are more interested in pointing fingers than doing their job concerning ‘regulatory affairs’ we should not expect a lot of changes, unless Retallick can get the regulations changed, which may be his job anyways. Lets hope the MOE is diligent in enforcing its order and the area becomes a safe place to live and work. While I’m dreaming, lets hope the Lions and Leafs win championships this year too.