Case Studies

Waste Incinerator Pollution

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Case Studies - Case one:

WASTE INCINERATOR POLLUTION - Taylor, B.C., 1996

The Deputy Director of Waste Management (of the Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks) had issued a permit for the operation of a hazardous waste incinerator to Bennett Remediation Services without first considering restrictions vital to protection of the airshed and people’s health.

Taylor Environmentally Concerned Citizens (TECC) along with a couple of other NGOs retained a Sierra Legal Defence Fund lawyer and appealed this decision before the Environmental Appeal Board.

The Panel hearing the appeal commented that its "faith was shaken…by the Ministry’s evidence" regarding the policy of "sympathetic regulation". Rather than shut down a polluter, except as a last resort, Ministry officials had adopted "a policy of coaxing compliance" with regulations.

"When you’re dealing with any polluting facility such as this one, the danger to human health becomes enormous when the plant is out of compliance with its permits," said Betty Ponto, TECC spokesperson. "Benett hasn’t even demonstrated as yet that the plant can comply with the air emission regulations and here we have advance notice from the Ministry that they won’t be shut down if they fail?!"

The Board imposed rigorous new conditions on the operations of the hazardous waste facility, observing that the Deputy Director had indeed failed to observe that the permits had been subject to conditions for the protection of the environment. It also decided that the plant may not begin operation until the beehive burner operated by nearby Canfor was shut down, because the pollution levels in Taylor’s air were so high.

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