MONCTON GUILTY PLEA OVER LANDFILL TOXINS
On September 22, 2003, the City of Moncton pled guilty to federal environmental charges related to a decommissioned landfill. This case marks the first time that Environment Canada prosecuted a municipality for landfill problems. The New Brunswick court judge ordered the city to pay a fine of $10,000, to contribute $20,000 to the Jonathan Creek Restoration Committee, and to contribute $5,000 to the federal government’s Environmental Damages Fund. As well, the judge ordered the municipality to arrange and pay for all work needed to ensure that the landfill meets requirements of the federal Fisheries Act. Remediation costs are estimated to be as high as $700,000. The city must monitor the landfill and report regularly to Environment Canada on test results.
Enforcement officers of Environment Canada’s Atlantic Region laid charges last February under Section 36(3) of the federal Fisheries Act relating to toxic substances allegedly being discharged from a decommissioned landfill owned by city. In addition, the landfill closure plan selected by the municipality did not comply with the Act. Charges were laid against: the City of Moncton, the Commissioner of Public Works for the City of Moncton, an engineering consulting firm, and an employee of the consulting firm. Charges against the Commissioner of Public Works have been dropped. The charges against the engineering firm and the employee are proceeding in provincial court.
Environment Canada’s investigation was initiated based on evidence provided by Sentinelles Petitcodiac Riverkeeper, a local Moncton environmental group.
Contact Dave Aggett at 902-426-1925
PEI SUSTAINABILITY REBATE
In late summer the Government of Prince Edward Island began providing a provincial sales tax rebate for building supplies used in the construction of farm structures with environmental benefits. The rebates rebate applies to farm structures used for composting, to store and handle various substances (manure, pesticides, fertilizer, and milk-house waste) and structures used for feedlot and livestock yards. Building supplies considered eligible for rebate include concrete, steel, lumber, and petroleum tanks. Projects and supplies must be pre-approved by the PEI Department of Agriculture and Forestry. Applicants must complete an “Environmental Farm Plan” and must comply with environmental legislation and guidelines. Agriculture and Forestry Minister Mitch Murphy says the rebate aims to support producers to make their operations more productive and sustainable.
Contact Wayne MacKinnon at 902-368-4888 or firstname.lastname@example.org
TRUCKING ALLIANCE UNDERTAKES ENERGY EFFICIENCY PLAN
Herb Dhaliwal, Minister of Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), signed an agreement on August 12, 2003 between NRCan and the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) that will save energy and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. NRCan’s FleetSmart program will implement the initiatives, which will include: stabilizing emissions; heightening understanding of how energy efficiency relates to climate change; developing cost-effective and flexible voluntary actions; implementing a national training and awareness program for trucking companies; and, identifying and reducing barriers to more efficient practices. According to David Bradley, president of the CTA, while the trucking industry, including waste haulers, has taken many steps to improve air quality through improved engines and fuel, this initiative gives fleet members the chance to demonstrate their good corporate citizenship and preserve the environment by reducing GHGs.
Contact Alexandra Charron at 613-992-4447
IMPORTANT CWS CASE DECISION
The Ontario Divisional Court rendered a decision this fall concerning the approval of the terms of reference for the environmental assessment of the proposed expansion of the Richmond Landfill owned by Canadian Waste Services (CWS). The court quashed the environment minister’s approval of the terms of reference in a split decision of two judges versus one. Subsequently, the Ontario government and CWS filed with the Court of Appeal requesting leave to appeal the decision. If granted, the Court of Appeal will hear arguments within about five months. The issues that are central to the appeal are: whether the provision requires the EA to contain every single item that has been dealt with in historical environmental assessments and considering the test to be applied to the court when it is reviewing a minister’s decision. This decision will have implications for any organization that is either planning or has already embarked on an environmental assessment in Ontario. (See the Regulation Roundup column, page 46.)
MICHIGAN LANDFILL INSPECTION REPORT
In part of an ongoing campaign to end garbage exports from Ontario to Michigan, a recent report from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) claims “prohibited” waste is making its way into Michigan landfills from Ontario. In March 2003, Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm directed the state DEQ to conduct a “Prohibited Waste Inspection Initiative”. From mid-March to mid-June the DEQ and Wayne County Department of Environment conducted weekly inspections at eight different municipal solid waste landfills, inspecting approximately 5,000 loads (or about 264,000 cubic yards of waste). Highlights of the findings are: a large number of waste loads in the summer contain some yard waste, despite Michigan’s prohibition on the disposal of such waste in landfills; yard waste was found in a much higher percentage in Ontario loads from Michigan or other states; and, the amount of prohibited waste, other than yard waste, appears to be small and well-policed. The survey also notes that overall there are more recyclables (beverage containers) in Ontario waste than Michigan waste. (Michigan is a bottle-bill state.) In other news, effective October 1, 2003, the State of Michigan is increasing solid waste surcharges on Michigan landfills to seven cents (U.S.) per cubic yard.
For a copy of the DEQ report, e-mail Robert Cook at email@example.com
WDO FUNDING RAMPS UP
Pre-registration for blue box funding has commenced. Companies designated as stewards under Ontario’s Waste Diversion Act have been able to pre-register on-line as of August 15, 2003. The companies will also be able to receive compliance guidebooks to help them prepare for their upcoming obligations, once the environment minister approves the plan. (Approval is expected sometime this fall.)
Waste Diversion Ontario (WDO) is a partnership made up of industry, municipal, non-governmental representatives and the Ontario environment ministry to develop, implement and fund waste diversion programs. Under this partnership, industry funding will pay municipalities 50 per cent of their blue box program net costs. The group will also develop programs for other wastes such as scrap tires, used oil, household special wastes, and organics.
Contact the WDO at 416-226-5113 or firstname.lastname@example.org
JAPANESE LEARN THREE “RS” IN NOVA SCOTIA
About 30 scientists, academics and local government representatives from Japan spent the first week of September in Nova Scotia to learn about solid waste-resource management. The delegation from the Japanese Environmental Research Institute studied the province’s system to divert waste from landfills into recycling and composting. Currently, Japan relies primarily on incineration. Canada’s Ambassador for the Environment, Gilbert Parent, accompanied the delegation on some of the tours, which included the recycling and composting operations in Halifax Regional Municipality, Colchester County and Hantsport.
Contact Penny McCormick at 902-424-7420 or mcc
Philip Services Corporation (PSC) announced on September 12, 2003 that it selected High River Limited Partnership, an affiliate of Carl C. Icahn, as the winning acquirer pursuant to a plan sponsorship and bidding procedures order previously approved by the US Bankruptcy Court. Under that proposal, High River, among other things, will provide an exit loan facility of $150-million to the reorganized company and will pay $20-million for a 20 per cent equity interest in the reorganized company on the effective date of a plan of reorganization. Under the plan, entities owned by Carl C. Icahn would own a majority of the outstanding shares of the reorganized company. If the High River plan is confirmed, the company is expected to emerge from Chapter 11 before year-end 2003.
Houston, Texas-based PSC is an industrial and metals services company with two operating groups: PSC Industrial Services provides industrial cleaning and environmental services and PSC Metals Services delivers scrap charge optimization, inventory management, remote scrap sourcing, by-products services and industrial scrap removal to major industry sectors throughout North America. On June 2, 2003, the company filed for Chapter 11 protection.
Contact Michael Ramirez at 713-625-7047 or email@example.com
FEDS ENERGY EFFICIENCY INCENTIVES
On August 12, 2003, Prime Minister Jean Chretien announced an incentive program to encourage Canadians to improve energy efficiency in their homes and businesses. Under the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change, Canada has committed to reduce 240 megatonnes of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The spending allocation is as follows:
— $131.4-million to coax consumers to be more energy efficient — including a $74-million program offering rebates of as much as $1,000 for Canadians to retrofit their homes;
— $320.7-million to fund partnerships with provinces, municipalities, and aboriginal governments that cut emissions;
— $302.9-million for businesses to cut GHG output in areas such as buildings and the transportation sector; and,
— $250-million to finance the development of new technology to reduce GHGs even further.