Media Release

Mohawks and Residents Request that Provincial Officials Reject Environmental Assessment for Dump Expansion

Jan 30 2006

The Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte and Tyendinaga Township residents have jointly requested the Director of Ontario’s Environmental Assessment & Approvals Branch to issue a “Deficiency Statement” in relation to the environmental assessment (EA) for the proposed expansion of the Richmond Landfill near Napanee, Ontario. The EA was prepared by a private proponent (Waste Management of Canada) to describe and evaluate its controversial proposal to significantly expand the Richmond Landfill. Among other things, the EA contains alarming proposals to:

  • accept up to 750,000 tonnes/year of solid non-hazardous waste from any municipality or industry in Ontario for the next 25 years;
  • accept up to 250,000 tonnes/year of additional hydrocarbon-contaminated soils to be used as “cover” material at the site;
  • undertake an unprecedented 10-year project to excavate, process, stockpile and re-bury the nearly 3 million tonnes of waste already buried at the existing landfill; and
  • establish a plantation of poplar trees for the long-term treatment of leachate collected from the site over its centuries-long contaminating lifespan.

“In our opinion, the EA is incomplete, inadequate, and inconsistent with the requirements of Ontario's EA legislation,” stated Richard Lindgren, an environmental lawyer who represents the local residents. “Accordingly, we are demanding that the EA Director exercise his statutory power to immediately issue a Deficiency Statement under the Environmental Assessment Act.” “It is alarming that an expansion of the existing garbage dump at the Richmond site could be contemplated, given the threat that any dump at that site, upstream from surface water and groundwater that flows through the reserve of the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte, poses for public health and safety of the residents of the reserve,” said Patrick Schindler, the lawyer representing the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte. “The Mohawks expect the Minister of the Environment to live up to her fiduciary obligations as a Minister of the Crown to protect them and their reserve from the threat posed by the continued existence and proposed expansion of the garbage dump.” The Mohawks and residents have provided the EA Director with detailed written objections to the EA. These submissions identify a number of fundamental deficiencies in the EA, such as:

  • the EA fails to comply with, and significantly departs from, the approved Terms of Reference which legally govern the conduct and content of the EA; 
  •  the environmental data gathering, modelling and analysis in the EA is generally incomplete and inadequate; 
  • the EA’s conclusions regarding environmental impacts are not technically sound, scientifically defensible, or properly supported;
  • the EA fails to describe appropriate plans for mitigating, monitoring, or remediating impacts upon the environment or public health;
  • the decision-making process reflected in the EA is not logical, traceable or replicable; the EA’s proposals for leachate collection and treatment are problematic, ill-defined, and may cause adverse effects upon local groundwater and surface water resources; and
  • the proposed undertaking is contrary to the purpose of the EA Act (i.e. ensuring the betterment of the people of Ontario through protection, conservation and wise management of the environment).

 The initial public comment period on the EA has recently concluded, and in the coming weeks the EA Director must decide whether a Deficiency Statement should be issued. If a Deficiency Statement is issued, but the proponent does not remedy all identified deficiencies within seven days, then the Minister of the Environment is empowered under the EA Act to reject the EA in its entirety. - 30 - For more information: Richard Lindgren (613) 385-1686    Patrick Schindler (416) 410-0809