Monthly Archives: December 2010

Emergency preparation

Press Release:

An open meeting of Sarnia Emergency Management was held Friday, December 17, at the Sarnia Police Services building. Tyler Kula of The Observer was present for a portion of this meeting and a report he produced was featured in your newspaper.

The City of Sarnia Community Emergency Management Coordinator made his presentation on the status of his office during this meeting. He often quoted a survey that highlighted the progress of city planning as regards awareness of citizens as to what to do in the event of a chemical emergency. He referred to a Stats-Can survey as evidence of success in city planning. There are a number of reasons why his broadcasting of this information is misleading.

Firstly, there is no official Stats-Can survey. The survey he refers to was a training exercise of the Survey Skills Development Course of Stats-Canada. The following is the disclaimer of the student report:


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One odour mystery in Chemical Valley solved

A follow-up to the first responses to our call

Shawn Jeffords in The Observer

The mystery of a strange odour in Sarnia’s Chemical Valley appears to have been solved.

Ontario Environment Ministry spokesperson Lindsay Davidson said Thursday the rotten eggs-like smell wasn’t a propane leak at Imperial Oil, but rather came from the company’s biox unit, which processes waste water.

“The unit is functioning properly, but apparently weather conditions meant that some odours were kept close to the ground, instead of rising immediately and dispersing into the air,” he said.

A ministry inspector visited the site Wednesday after receiving complaints from the community about a strong odour.

Imperial reported a leak in a propane line on Sunday, but the odour didn’t originate there, ministry and company officials determined.

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Propane leak at Imperial Oil

S.H.A.M.E. activists had to call in this leak –


In The Observer

Residents reported a strong odour in the vicinity of the Imperial Oil refinery in Sarnia on Wednesday.

A plant spokesperson said the refinery had not experienced any operational issues and had not detected any off-site odours through its own monitoring.

Kate Jordan, a spokesperson with the Ontario Environment Ministry, confirmed the plant did report a “pinhole’ leak in a propane line.

The plan was to reduce pressure in the line and have the leak stopped by 6 p.m. on Thursday.

A ministry officer was to visit the refinery to assess the situation Wednesday evening.

Environmental justice struggles in Aamjiwnaang and Sarnia

Toban Black on the Media Co-op

A community leader speaks about how natives have been confronting chemical and petroleum industries in Chemical Valley

In this interview, Ada Lockridge talks about fellow Aamjiwnaang community members’ efforts to confront petro-chemical pollution from industries that surround their native reserve, which is located inside of Sarnia’s Chemical Valley. Those toxic industries surround three sides of Aamjiwnaang, and a Michigan coal plant is beside the fourth side of the reserve.  The better-known health impacts there are the dramatic drop in male births, but residents also are grappling with cancers, headaches, and many other ailments.

You can listen to the interview here.

To reduce Chemical Valley industry impacts around the area, Ada and another member of Aamjiwnaang — Ron Plain — have filed a lawsuit against Suncor and the Ministry of Environment, through the organization Eco-justice. As Ada makes clear during the interview, this legal case is one of many approaches which she and other community members have taken as they have been trying to improve their health and environment — in spite of industry opposition, and government negligence.

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