CELA Bulletin

CELA Bulletin 27-November-2003This "E-Bulletin" (arriving via the "CELA Bulletin" listserve) to the media and members and friends of the Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA) provides brief updates on current environmental issues in which CELA is involved. Contact information and relevant website links are also noted. Subscribe on-line at E-Bulletin Sign-up.In this issue:1. HIGH LEVELS OF TOXINS POLLUTE BRITISH COLUMBIA 2. DRINKING WATER SOURCE PROTECTION - FACT SHEET3. CELA, WWF, and CAPE COMMENT ON CHEMICAL CATEGORIZATION4. THE HARVARD MOUSE AND ALL THAT - LIFE FORM PATENTS IN CANADA5. RICHMOND LANDFILL UPDATE6. NOTICE TO CELA MEMBERS AND SUBSCRIBERS TO INTERVENOR 7. STAFF CONTACT INFORMATION1. High Levels of Toxic Chemicals Pollute British ColumbiaUsing the www.pollutionwatch.org database, CELA and partner organizations today released a Top Ten List of Polluters Producing Dioxins and Furans. British Columbia is the top polluter on the list. Dioxins and furans are known to be among the most toxic chemicals, associated with cancer, birth defects and other serious health problems. Children are particularly vulnerable. A single facility in Alberta tops the list but overall, the greatest amount of these pollutant emissions are occurring in British Columbia. The PollutionWatch partners are calling for action by the federal and British Columbia governments to increase efforts to eliminate these substances according to commitments made in the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutantas (POPs). The PollutionWatch partners will continue to use www.pollutionwatch.org data to report on regional pollution issues in Canada. For more information:Paul Muldoon or Fe de Leon (see contact information below)On-line:November 27, 2003 Media Release - High Levels of Toxic Chemicals Pollute British Columbia.See also September 23, 2003 Media Release - Dirty Air from Power Plants Fuels Health Problems in Nova Scotia. 2. Drinking Water Source Protection - Fact Sheet Q's and A's and an Implementation ChecklistCELA has prepared a fact sheet about drinking water source protection providing a series of frequently asked questions and a checklist concerning the progress of implementation, by the Ontario government, of the outstanding Walkerton Inquiry recommendations for source protection. CELA will be regularly updating the checklist as the recommendations are implemented.For more information: Theresa McClenaghan (see contact information below)On-line: Protecting Ontario's Drinking Water - Source Protection Planning. Q's and A's and an Implementation Check List.3. CELA, WWF and CAPE Comment on Chemical CategorizationThe long journey continues toward addressing the 23,000 largely unregulated substances on Canada's Domestic Substances List. Environment Canada has consulted on its plans for categorizing substances according to their ability to bioaccumulate and persist in the environment. The categorization exercise will allow for setting priorities and short-listing substances of greatest concern for further detailed evaluation. CELA recently worked with World Wildlife Fund Canada and the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment on a detailed submission responding to Environment Canada's proposal. This work will continue in the new year as Health Canada also begins to consult on its portion of this work addressing how to categorize and prioritize substances according to their inherent toxicity and potential for exposure. For more information: Paul Muldoon, Fe de Leon, or Kathleen Cooper (see contact information below)On-line: Comments on Environment Canada's "Guidance for Categorization of Organic and Inorganic Substances on Canada's Domestic Substances List: Determining Persistence, Bioaccumulation Potential and Inherent Toxicity to Non-Human Organisms" By Dr. Susan Sang - World Wildlife Fund Canada, Fe de Leon - Canadian Environmental Law Association, Dr. Kapil Khatter - Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment. November 2003. (PDF file: 15 p.)4. The Harvard Mouse and All That - Life Patents in CanadaMichelle Swenarchuk, with CELA's international program, has recently completed a detailed review of the issue of life patenting in Canada. Now posted to CELA's website, the paper will be a chapter in a forthcoming book about US-Canada integration, to be published in 2004. More details to follow.For more information: Michelle Swenarchuk (see contact information below)On-line: The Harvard Mouse and All That: Life Patents in Canada .5. Richmond Landfill UpdateCELA represents residents living near the Richmond Landfill in Napanee, Ontario. As reported in the July 8, 2003 CELA Bulletin, CELA's clients won an important judicial review application regarding Ontario's amended Environmental Assessment Act. Last June, the Ontario Divisional Court ruled that the Minister of Environment has no jurisdiction to exclude key environmental planning issues - such as "need" and alternatives - from EA planning processes under the Act. Both the Ontario government and Canadian Waste Services sought leave to appeal the decision. On November 3, 2003, the Ontario Court of Appeal decided that it would hear appeals against the Divisional Court ruling in Sutcliffe et al vs. MOE and Canadian Waste Services Inc. (CWS). CWS has now filed its Notice of Appeal, but the Environment Minister declined to file an appeal, and instead served the parties with a "Notice of Abandonment" regarding the MOE appeal. During the recent provincial election, Premier McGuinty and Environment Minister Dombrowsky had promised to withdraw from the appeal if elected.However, on November 18, 2003, the Attorney General of Ontario served notice that he is intervening in the CWS appeal. It appears that the Attorney General intends to argue the very same legal issues that the Environment Minister has declined to pursue before the Court of Appeal. Interestingly, it is the Environment Minister -- not the Attorney General -- who administers the Environmental Assessment Act that is at issue in the court case.At the present time, no fixed date has been set for the hearing of the CWS appeal.For more information: CELA counsel Richard Lindgren (613-385-1686).See also: July 8, 2003 CELA Bulletin,"SPECIAL REPORT - CELA Wins Landmark Legal Challenge: Court Upholds Ontario's Environmental Assessment Process" June 18, 2003 Media Release: Court Rules that Environment Minister Failed to comply with Ontario's Environmental Assessment Act and February 4, 2003 Media Release: Mohawks and Local Residents get their Day in Court to Oppose Mega-Dump Proposal  6. Notice to CELA Members and Subscribers to IntervenorCELA did not publish its newsletter, the Intervenor, during 2003. After a lengthy process of reviewing all print and electronic communications, CELA is currently implementing a new communications strategy. Central to this strategy will be greater use of the internet including a redesigned website, now under development and scheduled to launch early in the new year. The decision to discontinue producing the Intervenor on a quarterly basis is permanent. Instead, the Intervenor will become, in 2004, a single, annual publication. The redesigned Intervenor will provide an annual review of CELA's activities and will serve as CELA's Annual Report, including financial statements. It will be published on-line and in a print version in the Spring of each year. Since the quarterly newsletter production was suspended permanently with Volume 27 (2002), we understand that subscribers, particularly libraries, may not want to continue their subscription. CELA is prepared to refund any outstanding amounts owed to subscribers for the issues of Intervenor not published during 2003. CELA will be contacting members and subscribers by regular mail in the near future.For more information: Fe de Leon (see contact info below)7. Staff contact information: see Contact Us page on this site