After four years of an extended Terms of Reference process during which residents of Oxford and their allies resisted vigorously any notion of a dump, the Minister of the Environment, Mr. Glen Murray, has ordered that an Environmental Assessment should happen. Additionally, beyond the requirements of a regular Environmental Assessment, he has added an additional 15 stringent conditions. In the Legislature, he has noted that by “cumulative effects” he has meant human health concerns as well.
While disappointed that the Minister has not seen fit in light of the wealth of science and social concerns presented to him to deny the dump at the Terms of Reference phase, OPAL believes, and concurs with the opinion of its lawyer, a member of the Canadian Environmental Law Association, that this in no way means an approval for the dump. In fact, the weight of science has already told us that dumps leak and cannot provide the guarantee of safe water which the Minister is demanding. Two recent cases point to that -one in Richmond where where the dump has leaked beyond the liner and beyond the “containment attenuation zone” to poison wells and one in the Waterloo region.
OPAL will continue to demand that the scope and depth of the studies respond to the need for public safety. The Minister had the authority to stop the dump at the Terms of Reference and had the evidence. The bulk of the science will only buttress the arguments of several independent and Ministry scientists and help us to stop the dump.
OPAL’s Lawyer’s Response: “The Minister’s ill-advised approval of the EA Terms of Reference does not mean that the proposed landfill will actually proceed. In my opinion, however, it is unfortunate that OPAL, local residents, municipalities and First Nations now have to spend considerable time, money and effort in the EA process to oppose an inappropriate landfill at an unsuitable site,” said Richard Lindgren, an environmental lawyer representing OPAL.
Unifor Local 88 Environment Committee encourages you to read the Oxford People Against the Landfill Newsletter.
More info is available at http://www.opalalliance.ca/