Monthly Archives: November 2010

In “Beyond Parts Per Million”

An article about Chemical Valley is in a new Canadian publication –

Climate Justice Montreal and members of the provisional committee for the foundation of the Climate Justice Co-op, launched a new publication entitled Beyond Parts Per Million: Voices from the Frontlines of Climate Justice.

Featuring accounts from frontline communities around the globe and connecting climate and social justice struggles, this project aims to amplify the voices of those people most impacted by environmental destruction and a changing global climate.

You can flip through the online copy, or download the PDF version.

Under this Media Co-op post there are more details about the Aamjiwnaang lawsuit — beyond what’s in the article in Beyond Parts Per Million.

The publication was released during the Everyone’s Downstream gathering in Edmonton.  Presentations and discussions at the gathering are posted on the web here.


Movie makes plea to reign in toxins released from Chemical Valley

Jim Bloch for the Voice Reporter [with two photos]

“When I think back, I wish we’d never come to Sarnia,” says resident Jean Simpson in the opening of Pamela Calvert’s 2007 documentary, “The Beloved Community.”

“My dad had a choice at the time, but they thought Sarnia was Imperial Oil, they thought wow, this is a big oil city – and it was, there was a lot of work here. When we got off the train down at the station, and they took us down to where we lived in Bluewater, my mother couldn’t get over it, she said it was just so beautiful, it was like a fairyland. Then when you woke up the next morning, the stink from the plants was enough to knock you over. It was terrible. But she always thought with the lights at night it looked like a fairyland.”

The fairyland turned out to be a long-term ecological and medical nightmare for the workers in Sarnia’s Chemical Valley and for the Aamjiwnaang First Nation (Chippewa), which is bordered on three sides by petrochemical plants.

The Blue Water Sierra Club and St. Clair County Community College’s Green Team sponsored the screening of the movie in SC4′s Fine Arts Auditorium last Thursday.

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Community graveyards

A proposal made at The Sarnia-Lambton Food Summit

First Nation people’s rights compromised

A letter from Dayna Nadine Scott, in The Observer

Sir: Can the chronic chemical pollution experienced by members of the Aamjiwnaang First Nation constitute a violation of their Charter rights?

The cumulative impact of the relentless release of pollutants into the air from Canada’s “Chemical Valley” affects the members of Aamjiwnaang in a way that is fundamentally unfair, and is now argued to be unconstitutional.

How did it get to this?

The Ontario Ministry of the Environment has known for a long time that its air pollution regulation fails miserably when it is applied to several large, high-emitting facilities clustered together. That regulation allows the Minister to hand out Certificates of Approval (CofAs) or “pollution permits” to individual facilities without taking into account the background, or “ambient,” levels of pollution already present. For pollution hotspots like Sarnia, the regime is completely inadequate to protect the health of residents downwind, and the Ministry acknowledges this.

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Healing Sarnia and Aamjiwnaang

Fighting Chemical Valley

In this interview, Zak Nicholls shares his experiences with struggles and impacts around Sarnia’s chemical valley.

You can listen to the interview here.

Zak speaks about his role in campaigning alongside others in Sarnia, and Aamjiwnaang. He also talks about local pollution impacts, complacency from government officials and the general public, local indigenous struggles, obstacles in the way of uncovering information about petro-chemical industry operations, and some other related issues.

Since our conversation, Aamjiwnaang reserve community members have launched a lawsuit against petro-chemical industries. and their government allies.

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Eco group files landmark lawsuit

QMI Agency in the Toronto Sun

SARNIA, Ont. – An environmental group is challenging development in southwestern Ontario’s “chemical valley” with a landmark lawsuit on behalf of First Nations people who have long said they have been victim to industrial pollution.

In a news conference from Queen’s Park on Monday, environmental activist group Ecojustice alleged that the cumulative effects of government-approved pollution in the chemical valley area in Sarnia, Ont., is threatening the health of Aamjiwnaang residents.

That amounts to a violation of their constitutionally protected human rights, the group says.

Ecojustice has filed an application for judicial review on behalf of Aamjiwnaang First Nation members Ada Lockridge and Ron Plain. It alleges the Ontario Ministry of the Environment’s (MOE) ongoing approval of pollution violates their basic human rights under sections 7 and 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms – including the right to life, liberty and security of the person, and the right to equality.

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