A publication of Work On Waste USA, Inc., 82 Judson, Canton, NY 13617 315-379-9200 AUGUST 1995
Its back to Illusions in Ontario, but not without a fight! When the NDP (New Democratic Party) government of Ontario announced a ban on the building of trash incinerators, the Minister of the Environment said that Ontario needs solutions, not illusions. Now that the voters of Ontario have elected into office the Progressive Conservative party, Ontario seems set to return to the illusion of incineration. On July 31, the new government announced its intention to lift the ban. Parliament is in recess. Most people are on holiday. There will be no hearings. The public has just 45 days in which to make comments. We urge our readers to send in their comments (details below).
However, the citizen activists who worked so hard to get the ban on incineration are not giving up without a fight and they have already won some important allies. Over 30 organizations have banded together to form the Dont Burn Ontario Alliance including the Canadian Union of Public Employees of Ontario. These enlightened people recognize that there are far more jobs in an intensive application of a 3Rs program than can be realized in the capital intensive alternative of building incinerator plants. They further recognize that most of the tax dollars spent on incinerators end up in the pockets of multinational corporations and not in local communities. Another important member of the coalition is a newly formed organization of medical professionals called C.O.D.E. In the medical community when personnel hear the word CODE, they stop and listen because that word means emergency. Three of the doctors involved in this new group, Len Landry, Alban Goddard-Hill and Steven Connell, have followed the incinerator issue very closely. In a recent video* produced by VideoActive all three doctors articulate their concerns about incineration.
Equally concerned about the proposal to lift the ban is the paper industry. Having sited new facilities near major cities to recycle paper fibers, they are furious at the possibility that their investment will go up in flames. One ironic note is that the former Toronto incinerator is now being used as a collection center for paper.
The pro-incinerator forces are largely organized and financed by the U.S. company Ogden Martin. Despite the ban on trash incineration, which has been in place since April 1991, Ogden Martin has never left the province. They have used front men like John Milnes (see chronology in Part 2) who have gone to Ontario communities confronted with landfill proposals and persuaded them that a modern mega-incinerator is better than a mega-dump built in their backyards. These communities put enormous pressure on both the Liberal and Conservative parties to announce before the last election that if they were elected they would lift the ban on incineration, so communities would have the right to choose incineration if they wanted it.
A few days after the election, former Toronto Metro Councilor, Richard Gilbert, and former Toronto Commissioner of Public Works, Ray Bremner, produced a report titled An Incineration-Based Waste Management System for the Greater Toronto Area. This report was funded by Ogden Martin. Nearly all the sources of information cited by Gilbert & Bremner are from trade magazines and pro-incinerator sources. If it had been written in the early 80s Gilbert & Bremner might have been forgiven for their naivety, but to produce this document in 1995 is an insult to the intelligence of both the general public and their decision makers. For example, they claim:
* By far the largest human source of dioxin emissions is motor vehicles...Municipal waste incinerators account for 2.6% of the U.S. total. page 7 (citing Rigo & Rigo -see WN#302- 305 for the background of this outrageous claim.)
* Only the best available, practicable technology should be used. Such technology results in EFW [Energy-from-Waste] plants that are cleaner per unit of energy produced even than natural-gas-fired electric power generators. page 11.
* The typical landfill facility is full after 20 years or so...An incinerator by contrast, if well maintained and updated, can be used for another 20 or 30 years. The net costs of incineration are thus much lower after the first 20 years. page 13
On July 25, Toronto City Council voted to confirm its opposition to the building of trash incinerators within the city of Toronto. On Wednesday, August 2, Metro Councillor Jack Layton, introduced a resolution into the Metro Council calling for the ban on any kind of incineration within the five boroughs comprising the
Metro region, and a shut down of the existing sewage sludge and medical waste incinerators.
To Whom it May Concern: May 31, 1995
It should be obvious to all that we cannot go on using air, water and soil to dump our garbage and toxic waste. The challenge is to reduce radically consumption and waste in industrialized nations. We must aim at zero emission of toxic materials. Burning waste is not a solution to our burgeoning garbage and ecological crisis.
Suzuki is a geneticist and the best known environmental writer and journalist in Canada. ( He produces the weekly TV show, The Nature of Things.) He sent this handwritten statement to Colleen Cooney of the Dont Burn Ontario Alliance.
A request to Waste Not readers from Ontario activists:
The new provincial, Conservative government was elected June 8, 1995. On July 31, this government proposed to lift the ban on incineration and announced a 45-day comment period for public participation. The Dont Burn Ontario Alliance needs your help. Please send your comments on the following proposal as soon as possible. The (very strict) deadline for receiving written comments is September 14, 1995. We have been told that there may not be any further comment period or hearing. Fast tracking at its best, or worst!
EBR Registry Number: RA5E0018.P - Amendment of Regulation to Remove the Ban on New Municipal Waste Incinerators. The government proposes to remove the ban on new municipal incinerators to allow municipalities to seek approval for the best environmental solutions for the disposal of municipal solid waste that will not be recycled or reused.
Deadline for Comments: September 14, 1995.
EBR Incineration Comments
Science and Technology Branch, Ministry of Environment & Energy
2 St. Clair Ave West, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4V 1L5
For more information contact: Colleen Cooney, Dont Burn Ontario Alliance, RR # 1, Coldwater, Ontario LO5 1EO, Canada. Tel & Fax: 705-686-7457.
*Video Keeping Incineration Out of Ontario, 29 min., produced and edited in May 1995 by Roger Bailey and Paul Connett. Available for $25 from VideoActive Productions, Box 322, Route 2, Canton, NY 13617. Tel: 315-386-8797.
Editors: Ellen & Paul Connett, 82 Judson Street, Canton, New York 13617. Tel: 315-379-9200. Fax: 315-379-0448.