Media Release

No Means No! Residents, Mohawks and Environmentalists Apply for Changes in Ontario’s Landfill Law

Jul 11 2013

Toronto -Three participants in the long-standing fight against the Richmond Landfill near Napanee have formally applied to the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario to request key changes to provincial legislation governing the siting of waste disposal sites.

The Concerned Citizens’ Committee/Tyendinaga & Environs (“CCCTE”), the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte (“MBQ”), and the Canadian Environmental Law Association (“CELA”) have jointly filed an Application for Review under the Environmental Bill of Rights (“EBR”).

The Application for Review focuses upon section 27 of Ontario’s Environmental Protection Act (“EPA”), which regulates the establishment and operation of waste disposal sites. As currently drafted, section 27 of the EPA generally prohibits new or expanded waste disposal sites in the Niagara Escarpment Plan Area or within natural or man-made lakes, but does not specifically prohibit waste disposal sites at fractured bedrock locations.

“In our view, the science is clear: fractured bedrock aquifers are complex, vulnerable to contamination, difficult to monitor, and virtually impossible to clean up if contaminated,” said Mike Bossio, Chairman of the CCCTE. “For example, the Richmond Landfill was built in a fractured bedrock setting, and now the Ministry of the Environment (“MOE”) has found that the landfill has impacted groundwater at, and beyond, the landfill boundaries in excess of allowable limits under MOE Guideline B-7, contrary to the site’s Environmental Compliance Approval under the EPA.”

“Over the decades, CELA has represented concerned citizens across the province in a number of cases involving proposed landfills at inherently unsuitable fractured bedrock locations,” said CELA lawyer Richard Lindgren. “It is time for Ontario to catch up with other jurisdictions in Canada and the United States which preclude siting landfills on fractured bedrock. Since the MOE’s own policies caution against landfills on fractured bedrock, it is long overdue to amend the EPA to reflect this appropriate and precautionary safeguard.”

The Application for Review also requests that section 27 of the EPA be amended to prohibit repetitive applications for approval of waste disposal sites at locations which have already been rejected by the MOE for hydrogeological reasons.

“In 2006, the Minister of the Environment correctly said ‘no’ to the proposed expansion of the Richmond Landfill for environmental reasons,” noted Chief R. Donald Maracle of the MBQ. “Unfortunately, the proponent has now returned seeking approval for another landfill on lands immediately beside the Richmond Landfill. In our view, the EPA should be amended to clearly state that ‘no’ means ‘no’ in these circumstances.”

Under the EBR, the Environmental Commissioner will forward a copy of the Application for Review to the MOE, which administers the EPA. The MOE will then have 60 days to decide whether the requested review will be conducted by Ministry staff.

View a copy of the Application for Review.
Media Release in PDF format is linked below.

                                               - 30 -

For more information, please contact:
Richard Lindgren (CELA): 613-385-1686
Mike Bossio (CCCTE): 613-396-6784
Chief R. Donald Maracle (MBQ): 613-396-3424

Download PDF file