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Lafarge plan concerns local council

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by Frank Armstrong last update:Jul 15, 2014

Loyalist Township has asked the Ontario government to conduct a more rigorous review of the potential environmental impacts of Lafarge Canada’s plans to burn tires and other garbage at its Bath cement plant.

Environment

Province asked to review environmental impacts

KINGSTON

Loyalist Township has asked the Ontario government to conduct a more rigorous review of the potential environmental impacts of Lafarge Canada’s plans to burn tires and other garbage at its Bath cement plant.

The municipal council passed a unanimous resolution last week asking the rest of Ontario’s municipalities to back its plea to the province to order an environmental assessment for Lafarge’s plans to burn tires as fuel in its cement kilns.

“This is not a Bath issue, it’s something that should be considered province-wide,” said Loyalist Township reeve Clayton McEwen.

The township and local residents have waited two years to find out from the Ministry of the Environment whether it will hold a hearing under the Environmental Protection Act. Councillors were told in August that they would receive an answer by the end of September.

McEwen said the issue is so hot that there’s a risk it could divide the community.

The new resolution asks the province to examine emissions from the Lafarge smokestack and how they affect the local area as well as the rest of Ontario.

It also calls on the province to draft new measures to regulate the storage of cement kiln dust, the byproduct of the burning. It would be stored on plant property.

The council passed a resolution in August asking the Ministry of the Environment to place a moratorium on burning tires or alternative fuel in all cement kilns in the province until an environmental assessment of the Lafarge proposal takes place.

McEwen said the tire-burning issue didn’t appear to be controversial until about six months ago when a number of groups began campaigning council to urge the province to hold an environmental assessment under the Environmental Assessment Act.

“We believe the province won’t go for it because they’ve already said there will not be an environmental assessment, but we support it because that’s what the constituents want,” he said.

Ministry of Environment spokesman John Steele said the issue is being reviewed, but he pointed out that municipalities, not private industry, are regulated under the Environmental Assessment Act. That’s because, unlike the private sector, they have the power to expropriate land to decide where an incinerator or landfill site is placed and private industry does not.

”We believe the province won’t go for it.“

Clayton McEwen

Loyalist Township Reeve

Instead, private industry must meet emission standards set by the province under the Environmental Protection Act, he said.

“They must meet the standards of Ontario in terms of what comes out of the stack,” Steele said.

Essroc Canada Inc., another private cement company, has already won ministry approval to burn tires in its Picton-area kiln without participating in an environmental assessment.

St. Lawrence Cement Inc. also received approval to burn waste, but not tires, in its Peel Region plant without going through the environmental assessment process.

last update:Jul 15, 2014

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