Media Release Jan.19, 2009
Vale Inco has no right to exceed pollution limits: Ministry of the Environment must enforce environmental standards.
“The Ministry needs to enforce environmental standards,” said Steelworkers Organization of Active Retirees (SOAR) representative Julien Dionne, speaking in advance of the Ministry of the Environment (MOE) public meeting this Wednesday at Tom Davies Square, City Hall.
The MOE has called a public meeting on Wednesday January 21st, 2009, 7:00 pm in Room C-11, Tom Davies Square, 200 Brady Street, Sudbury to discuss an application received from Vale Inco to be allowed to operate under an “alternative” standard. If approved, Inco would be allowed to release more than seven times as much nickel into the air as the new provincial regulation would permit.
“Vale Inco operations produce hundreds of thousands of tonnes of toxic wastes each year, and releases thousands of tonnes into the air. In 2007 alone, the smelter released 31 tonnes of nickel and nickel compounds into the air. This is unacceptable. The Ministry needs to have Vale Inco comply with the new provincial air regulations, and not allow the five year delay they are applying for,” declared Julien Dionne. “We strongly recommend that members of the public come to the meeting and voice their concerns over Vale Inco’s request to extend the time limits to meet the industries new and improved standards.”
The Community Committee on the Sudbury Soils Study is opposed to Vale Inco’s application for an “alterative standard” under Ontario Regulation 419/05. The new regulation will come into effect for the facility on February 1st, 2010.
“Vale Inco has known that this regulation was coming for several years, and they still have thirteen months to come into compliance. We feel that is ample time,” said Homer Sequin, Community Committee member. “In the last couple of years Vale Inco made record profits so they can’t plead financial hardship to comply with the new regulations.”
The committee is concerned about the continued contamination of the Sudbury area through particulate emission, which the Sudbury Soils Study demonstrated were already in excess in some areas of the city. Pollution Watch Canada reported total releases & transfers with combined air release by the Copper Cliff Smelter Complex in 2005 at 196,976,941kgs. In the same year Vale Inco pumped 50, 328 kgs of nickel and its compounds and 34,810 kgs of arsenic into the Sudbury air. Nickel and nickel compounds are known to be cancer causing, and to have no safe level of exposure. Exposure to nickel can also cause contact dermatitis, respiratory problems and other health effects.
The Community Committee on the Sudbury Soils Study represents residents from a variety of backgrounds including members from unions, university and community college, from health care, from the environmental community and other community groups.
The Committee recently welcomed pensioner representatives from SOAR/USW at Vale Inco and CAW/Mine Mill at Xstrata to the committee. Jointly they represent 17,500 retirees in the local Sudbury community.
For more information contact: Joan Kuyek, D.S.W., Chair, Community Committee on the Sudbury Soils Study, 1.613.761.9794; Rick Grylls, President, Local 598, Mine Mill/CAW. 673.3661, ext.23; Homer Seguin, 983.1208.
Please attend if you can, and let the Ministry and Inco know that their profits cannot come at the price of our health!