CELA Bulletin

CELA Bulletin 6-April-2004This "E-Bulletin" 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: water, energy, health protection, toxics and a landfill1.   Water - CELA AND RESOURCE CENTRE LAUNCH FAQs 2.   Water - ENVIRONMENT MINISTRY LIMITS OMYA’S WATER-TAKING 3.   Water - ONTARIO WHITE PAPER ON SOURCE PROTECTION 4.   Energy - LOW-INCOME ENERGY NETWORK 5.   Electricity - NUCLEAR NOT THE ANSWER FOR ONTARIO 6.   Health Protection - CELA WRITES ENGO SUBMISSION ON FEDERAL HEALTH PROTECTION LEGISLATIVE PROPOSAL 7.   Toxics - TRADE TRUMPS HEALTH - HEALTH CANADA GETS IT WRONG ON LEAD JEWELLERY REGULATION 8.   Toxics - RESPONDING TO HEALTH CANADA’S PROPOSALS ABOUT EXPOSURE TO CHEMICALS 9.   Toxics - IMPLEMENTING THE POPs TREATY 10.  EA - RICHMOND LANDFILL APPEAL SCHEDULED FOR JUNE 28, 2004 11.  STAFF CONTACT INFORMATION 1. Water - CELA and Resource Centre Launch FAQsWith much effort underway in Ontario to protect water resources, mostly as a result of the Walkerton Inquiry, many of Ontario's laws, regulations, policies and programmes are being reformed.  Change is occurring through amendments to existing laws as well as the creation of new laws and regulations. As a result, the road map of water regulation is not a simple one.The Resource Library for the Environment and the Law and the Canadian Environmental Law Association have prepared fourteen series of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), relating to water. Currently on-line at the Resource Library website, the FAQs will also be posted to CELA’s new website, coming soon.For more information: Sarah Miller, Project Coordinator (see contact info below)On-line:View the FAQs 2. Water - Environment Ministry Limits OMYA’s Water-Taking PermitIn January, the Ontario Environment Ministry cancelled a controversial water-taking permit issued in 2001 by then-Environment Minister Chris Stockwell, to OMYA Canada Inc. (a calcium carbonate processing facility). The permit authorized the company to increase its water-taking up to 4,500 cubic metres per day from the Tay River near Perth, Ontario. CELA's interventions on behalf of local citizens contributed to the issuance of the new permit which limits water taking to 1,483 cubic metres per day and for not longer than six years.For more information: Ramani Nadarajah, CELA Counsel (see contact info below)On-line:January 16, 2004 Media Release 3. Water – Ontario White Paper on Water Source Protection The Ontario government is currently soliciting public comment (due April 14th) on its White Paper on Watershed-Based Source Protection Planning (February 2004).  In essence, the White Paper builds upon previous recommendations regarding source water protection made by the Walkerton Inquiry and by the 2003 report of the Source Protection Advisory Committee.The White Paper affirms the environmental and public health importance of protecting the quality and quantity of surface water and groundwater resources used as sources of drinking water.  The White Paper also describes the proposed components of a “made in Ontario” source water protection planning process, and offers suggestions for possible improvements to the regulation of water-taking activities across the province. For more information: Theresa McClenaghan, CELA Counsel (see contact info below)Rick Lindgren, CELA Counsel (613) 385-1686On-line:CELA’s preliminary analysis Environmental Bill of Rights Registry notice for the White Paper (includes link to White Paper and related documentation).Additional materials on CELA’s website: February 12/04 Media Release, “Province Moves Forward on Source Protection”  Source Protection Action Alert  Protecting Ontario's Drinking Water - Watershed-Based Source Protection Planning. Q's and A's and an Implementation Check List. (Revised March, 2004) 4. Energy – Low-Income Energy Network Calls for Safeguards and Conservation CELA is a founding member of the Low-Income Energy Network, a group of social justice and environmental organizations, including several of CELA’s fellow clinics within Legal Aid Ontario. LIEN member organizations have documented the hardships and budget constraints felt by low-income families and individuals in paying for energy services. LIEN is seeking safeguards for low-income consumers, asking the provincial government for direct energy assistance for low-income households and a conservation program to make energy-efficiency up-grades accessible to low-income households, in line with recent recommendations made by the Ontario Energy Board.For more information: Sarah Miller, Researcher (see contact info below)Theresa McClenaghan, CELA CounselOn-line:March 29, 2004 Media Release, “Lights out for low-income hydro consumers?” Submission to the Ontario Energy Board regarding Demand Side Management (DSM) for Low Income Consumers in Ontario. November 2003, (PDF file: 32 p.)And briefing note summary (pdf file, 3 p.) of the above report. 5. Electricity - Nuclear not the answer for OntarioCELA and the Pembina Institute for Appropriate Development vehemently reject the notion, proposed by an Ontario Power Generation Review Committee last month, that Ontario’s electricity future includes building more nuclear plants. In a study to be released next month, the two organizations will present a rigorous assessment of energy efficiency and renewable energy sources, such as wind, and their contribution to Ontario’s electricity supply. For more information: Mark Winfield, Director, Environmental Governance, Pembina Institute for Appropriate Development  (416-978-5656)Theresa McClenaghan, CELA Counsel (see contact info below)On-line:March 22, 2004 Media Release: Nuclear Not Ontario’s Only Electricity OptionPembina Institute for Appropriate Development6. Health Protection – ENGO Submissions on Proposed Health Protection Law In consultation with ENGOs from across Canada, CELA has prepared a response to Health Canada’s “Health Protection Legislative Renewal” legislative proposal. CELA’s response is endorsed by 35 groups from across Canada. The paper concludes that the proposals for a new Canada Health Protection Act will not improve the health of Canadians and will lead to lower health standards and less governmental scrutiny. The groups do not support the proposed reforms as they stand and urge that they be withdrawn. The submission makes numerous recommendations that could remedy many of the current deficiencies of the proposed statute and would better protect the health of Canadians. For more information:Michelle Swenarchuk, CELA Counsel (author of the submission, see contact info below)On-line:Cover Letter regarding submission on Health Protection Legislative Renewal   (version francaise) ENGO Submission on Health Protection Legislative Renewal   (version francaise) Health Canada webpage:  Follow “Quick links” to Health Protection Legislative Renewal7.  Toxics - Trade Trumps Health: Health Canada Gets it Wrong on Lead Jewellery Regulation After more than six years of thinking about how to regulate dangerous levels of lead in consumer products, Health Canada finally issued a draft regulation to control lead in jewellery and candles. In an approach that allows free trade in junk jewellery to trump an overwhelmingly clear health hazard, they avoided regulating the lion’s share of the problem. The regulation only applies to jewellery “intended for children,” a distinction that absolutely nobody but the drafters of this regulation would ever make. The draft regulation does not apply to costume jewellery out of concern for the financial health of those who import and sell such jewellery. CELA’s own tests of this widely available jewellery (confirmed by other independent testing, including tests by Health Canada) found lead concentrations ranging from 13% to 95%. That would be 13,000 parts per million to 95,000 parts per million. The recommended level is 90 parts per million. For more information: Kathleen Cooper, Senior Researcher (see contact info below)Theresa McClenaghan, CELA CounselOn-line:CELA’s Response to the Draft Regulation March 7, 2001 Media Release: “CELA Demands Immediate Regulatory Action on Lead in Consumer Products” Today’s Parent magazine (March, 2004) website coverage CBC Marketplace website coverage 8.  Toxics – Responding to Health Canada’s Proposals About Exposure to Chemicals CELA has worked with World Wildlife Fund and the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE) in a response to Health Canada’s “Proposal for Priority Setting For Existing Substances on the Domestic Substances List Under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999: Greatest Potential for Human Exposure.” This consultation is another step along the way towards the categorization of over 23,000 unregulated substances in commercial use in Canada. Concerns raised in the submission include the need to apply a precautionary approach to the GPE exercise, the need to consider classes of chemicals instead of a chemical by chemical approach, and the need for further consideration of the unique risk of exposure to children in the GPE framework.For more information: Dr. Susan Sang, World Wildlife Fund (416-489-4567 ext. 7260)Fe de Leon, Researcher, CELA (see contact info below)Dr. Kapil Khatter, Executive Director, CAPE (416-306-2273)On-line:Comments on Health Canada’s “Proposal for Priority Setting For Existing Substances on the Domestic Substances List Under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999: GREATEST POTENTIAL FOR HUMAN EXPOSURE ” 9. Toxics - Implementing the Treaty on Persistent Organic Pollutants On February 17th, 2004, France became the 50th country to ratify the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), and the world moved a momentous step closer to eliminating a “dirty dozen” of the most toxic substances including dioxins, PCBs and several pesticides. With 50 countries ratified, the Parties to the Convention now have two years to develop their National Implementation Plan (NIP) outlining how they will eliminate POPs in their respective countries. CELA worked with ten environmental groups and coalitions to submit recommendations to Environment Canada’s recent consultation on the development of Canada’s NIP. For more information: Paul Muldoon, Executive Director and Counsel (see contact info below)Fe de Leon, Researcher On-line:An NGO Submission to Environment Canada's Consultation on Canada's National Implementation Plan under the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POP's): Demonstrating Canada's Commitment to the Reduction and Elimination of POPs.  (PDF file: 18 p.) United Nations Environment Program Media Release: “Stockholm Convention on POPs to enter into force on 17 May 2004” In addition, CELA, WWF and CAPE responded to Environment Canada's efforts in categorizing substances. See: 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 10. EA - Richmond Landfill Appeal Scheduled for June 28, 2004The Ontario Court of Appeal has fixed June 28, 2004 as the date for hearing an appeal against the landmark Divisional Court decision regarding the proposed expansion of the Richmond Landfill near Napanee.In its precedent-setting decision last year, the Divisional Court agreed with CELA’s clients that Ontario’s Environment Minister has no jurisdiction under the Environmental Assessment Act to approve “Terms of Reference” which exclude mandatory EA planning issues – such as “need” and “alternatives” – from further consideration in the EA process.  Accordingly, the Court quashed “scoped” Terms of Reference that excluded such issues, but were nevertheless approved by the Minister, in relation to the proposed expansion of the Richmond Landfill.The landfill proponent – Canadian Waste Services Inc. (“CWS”) – has appealed the ruling to the Ontario Court of Appeal.  A similar appeal was commenced but then abandoned by the Minister of the Environment.  The Attorney General of Ontario has since decided to intervene in the CWS appeal.In addition, two other parties – the Township of Warwick and a Warwick citizens’ group – were granted leave to intervene in the CWS appeal.  These parties are involved in a similar situation in which the Minister approved “scoped” Terms of Reference for the proposed expansion of CWS’s landfill at Warwick. In March 2004, two additional parties -- Green Lane Landfill and Ontario Waste Management Association -- were granted leave to intervene in the appeal.For more information: Richard Lindgren, CELA Counsel: 416-960-2284, ext.214, or 613-385-1686.On-line: Read the Divisional Court ruling, Sutcliffe v. Ontario (Minister of the Environment), (2003-06-17) ONSC 572-00;622/00 at: http://www.canlii.org/on/cas/onsc/2003/2003onsc10955.html Previous Items on this case at www.cela.caJune 18, 2003 Media Release: “Court Rules that Environment Minister Failed to comply with Ontario's Environmental Assessment Act”  February 4, 2003 Media Release: “Mohawks and Local Residents get their Day in Court to Oppose Mega-Dump Proposal”Intervenor Article: “CELA Challenges "Scoped" Landfill EA in Court11. Staff contact information: see Contact Us page on this site