UPDATED with reaction from Citizens Against the ED-19 Dump
Edwardsburgh-Cardinal Twsp. – The Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change announced today it has temporarily suspended approval for the construction and operation of a waste disposal site at ED-19 in Edwardsburgh-Cardinal Township.
That is according to Edwardsburgh-Cardinal township councillor Michael Barrett, who posted a Facebook video this morning about the announcement.
Citizens Against the ED-19 Dump (CAD) issued a press release late this afternoon regarding the Ontario Government suspending approval for construction and operation of ED-19 Landfill
In it they state that “CAD learned of a notice sent from Dale Gable, Director with the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC), to the United Counties of Leeds & Grenville regarding the proposed Mega Dump known as ED-19.”
“The MOECC notice suspends Conditions 10 and 11 of the statutory approval that had been issued in 1998 under the Environmental Protection Act(EPA) for the ED-19 Landfill. In effect, this means that the waste disposal site cannot be constructed or operated, pending further review by the MOECC.”
It went on to say “although the MOECC notice is dated November 9, 2017, the notice only became public yesterday when it was web-posted by the MOECC on the Environmental Registry (link to Copy of Notice of Suspension” – http://www.downloads.ene.gov.on.ca/envision/env_reg/er/documents/2017/013-1846_ECA.pdf ).
“Citizens Against the Dump, MPP Clark, and the electorate of Leeds & Grenville have grave concerns regarding a proposed private sector Mega Dump. It is now clear that the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) also has serious reservations about the validity of an unused dump site licence. In our view, it appears that the only people left defending this ill-advised project are Tomlinson and Counties Council, led by Warden Jones. It is our hope that Counties Council now begins to listen to the very serious concerns that have been raised by their MPP and their constituents over the past 10 months.” said Kyle Johnston, Spokesperson, Citizens Against the ED-19 Dump (CAD)
The specific reasons provided in the MOECC notice of suspension include the following:
“Given the above, and taking into account the environmental protection purposes of the Environmental Protection Act, the public interest, the passage of time since the ECA was issued, and the fact that no construction has commenced at Site ED-19 to-date, the ministry considers it necessary in the circumstances to temporarily suspend the construction and operation of the waste disposal site as approved by the ECA until such time as the Owner (or any future ECA-holder) confirms that the conditions, assumptions and circumstances that were made in the EA are still applicable, and that the proposed landfill design is still appropriate based on the recommendation of the EA.”
CAD added that they welcome the MOECC’s positive step forward, CAD regards it as an interim measure. They say they are still waiting for the Minister’s decision on CAD’s request to reconsider and/or revoke the unused Environmental Assessment Act (EAA) approval of the ED-19 Landfill that was also granted almost 20 years ago.
This request under section 11.4 of the EAA was filed on CAD’s behalf by the Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA). Among other things, CELA argues that conditions and circumstances have changed dramatically since the original issuance of the EAA approval. These changes include: new provincial policies, standards and legislation; new environmental conditions at the site, including species-at-risk and their habitat; and apparent lack of consultation with First Nations, including the Mohawks of Akwesasne, who are concerned about environmental impacts to their reserve land (and traditional territory) located within 8 kilometres of the proposed Mega Dump site.
In addition, CELA maintains that the entire premise of the original EAA approval is now void since the Counties never proceeded with the dump. For example, the rationale for the dump, which was predicated on the Counties’ alleged need for the site’s capacity, has proven to be inaccurate and no longer applicable given the passage of time. CELA concludes that the EAA approval, issued almost 20 years ago to a public sector proponent, cannot now simply be transferred to a private sector proponent, not even resident in the Counties, for an entirely different purpose.
“In our opinion, the Ministry’s suspension of the EPA approval is an important, if not long overdue, step in the right direction. We commend the Ministry for hitting the pause button on this questionable landfill project, and we call upon the Minister to reconsider and/or revoke the EAA approval for the same public interest reasons expressed in the November 9th notice sent to the Counties. ” said Richard Lindgren, Counsel, CELA