July 2013 Bulletin

Ontario to conduct energy system consultations

Ontario is conducting extensive consultations on energy system planning this summer. The Ontario Power Authority has just completed its brief consultation on Regional Energy Planning and major project siting and is expected to report on what it heard during those consultations by the end of July.

In the meantime, on July 16th, Minister of Energy Hon. Bob Chiarelli released a white paper, "Conservation First: A Renewed Vision for Energy Conservation in Ontario."The white paper calls for the province to "invest in conservation first, before new generation, where cost-effective." CELA will prepare comments supporting the Conservation First approach by the comment deadline in September.

CELA to comment on upcoming Ontario Long Term Energy Plan

Ontario is undertaking a consultation on its Long Term Energy Plan (LTEP) and has just announced public meeting dates around the province for late-July and August. Comments are due by September 9, 2013 on the LTEP.

CELA will be providing comments to the province arguing for strong emphasis on conservation and demand management to reduce electricity need and arguing for the most sustainable forms of new generation. CELA will also argue that including the costs of decommissioning the nuclear plants, managing their radioactive toxic waste, and adequate emergency planning in the calculations of the cost of nuclear power renders nuclear power un-economic even on cost grounds alone.

CELA has worked with other Ontario ENGOs and encourages you to see the background information and the sample submission responding to the Long Term Energy Plan consultations as posted on the Environmental Priorities website.

CELA, Residents and Mohawks apply for changes to Ontario’s landfill law

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, the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte, and the Canadian Environmental Law Association jointly filed an Application for Review under the Environmental Bill of Rights.

The Application for Review focuses upon section 27 of Ontario’s Environmental Protection Act, 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.

CELA & Ecojustice file petition seeking review of outdated chemicals regulation

A key aspect of chemicals regulation in Canada needs to be modernized. Under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA), the Persistence and Bioaccumulation Regulation is flawed because it is based on out-of-date science. In a petition submitted this month to the Auditor General, Ecojustice and CELA have asked for an investigation into whether the government is reviewing and updating this crucial regulation. The groups explain the definitions and criteria for assessing the ability of chemicals to build up in organisms (bioaccumulation), is too limited. The regulation only requires this assessment in aquatic species and fails to consider bioaccumulation in terrestrial species through means such as inhalation and diet. Criteria in the regulation were intended for determining if a substance should be designated for virtual elimination, the action taken for the most highly toxic substances. However, these criteria are inappropriately used in other contexts, such as when substances are assessed for whether they are toxic under the law, or their “CEPA toxicity.” This sets an unreasonably high bar.

It has been five years since the government recognized the need to review this out-of-date regulation in response to a previous petition concerning the regulation of flame retardant chemicals. As well, other countries follow more scientifically valid and up-to-date practices. The new petition describes practices in other countries illustrating that Canadian toxicity thresholds are too high. It asks for details about whether and when the regulation will be modernized or if not, Environment Canada’s reasons for not doing so. Once a minister receives a petition "he or she must consider the petition and send a response to the petitioner and Commissioner within 120 days."

Call to action for Manitoba’s cosmetic pesticide ban

Manitoba’s provincial government announced its intention to ban cosmetic pesticides However, the chemical industry continues to defend chemical spraying. You can make a difference by supporting a ban on lawn and garden pesticides. No matter where you live, you can send an e-mail urging the government to protect health by stopping the use and sale of lawn poisons. Send your pesticide-ban e-mail now!!

CELA embarks on project with Pays Plat First Nation

CELA source protection campaigner Christopher Waffle is currently working with the Pays Plat First Nation, based on the north shore of Lake Superior, to develop a source protection plan. The project is expected to be ready for September 2014.

Study co-authored by CELA researcher wins award

The Occupational Health Section of the American Public Health Association (APHA) recently issued a Scientific Research Award for a paper titled “Chemical Exposures of Women Workers in the Plastics Industry with Particular Reference to Breast Cancer and Reproductive Hazards.” One of the co-authors of the study was CELA research associate Anne Wordsworth.