Richmond Landfill - Upholding Ontario's Environmental Assessment Process

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A long standing legal battle to ensure proper environmental assessment (EA) processes at one of Ontario’s oldest and largest landfills.

Landfill Expansion EA Terms of Reference:Ontario Divisional and Appeal Courts, 2012-2015

In a landmark Divisional Court Decision in 2003 regarding the proposed expansion of the Richmond Landfill, the Court held that Ontario’s Environment Minister had no jurisdiction under the Environmental Assessment Act to approve an EA process that excludes key EA planning issues, such as “need” and “alternatives.” However, on appeal, the Ontario Court of Appeal overturned the Divisional Court decision. Leave to the Supreme Court of Canada was refused.

Following this litigation, the proponent completed and submitted its "scoped" EA for the proposed landfill expansion. However, in November 2006, Ontario's Minister of the Environment refused to approve the proposed expansion under the EA Act due to outstanding environmental concerns raised by agency and public commenters, including CELA’s client (a local residents’ group).

Residents’ Appeal of Site Licence Conditions: Environmental Review Tribunal, 2012

In 2011, the Richmond Landfill was finally closed. In 2012, on behalf of its client, CELA applied to the Environmental Review Tribunal for leave to appeal various conditions imposed in relation to environmental monitoring, contingency plans, and reporting. CELA’s client argued that these conditions were inadequate, and the Tribunal granted leave to appeal on March 30, 2012.

After the appeal was filed, the parties reached a settlement agreement on odour monitoring, public notification and annual reporting, which was accepted by the Tribunal in 2013. The landfill proponent then conducted further groundwater investigations and fieldwork, and the Tribunal held public hearings in May and June 2015. In December 2015, the Tribunal released a lengthy decision which: (i) allowed the appeal filed by CELA’s client; (ii) found that landfill leachate had moved off-site and contaminated nearby private wells; and (iii) ordered various improvements regarding environmental monitoring and contingency measures. It is anticipated that these further steps will be implemented in 2016.

In the meantime, the proponent has proposed to build a new landfill beside the closed Richmond Landfill, and the EA process for the new proposal is now underway.

Related articles and media releases, can be viewed below.

Media Releases

Public Hearing on Leaking Landfill to Conclude with Parties’ Final Argument
No Means No! Residents, Mohawks and Environmentalists Apply for Changes in Ontario’s Landfill Law
Residents, Mohawks and Municipality Demand Withdrawal of Landfill Proposal near Napanee
Residents File Legal Appeal Against Richmond Landfill Licence
Environmental Review Tribunal Gives Green Light to Residents' Appeal Against Amended Approval for Richmond Landfill Site
Concerned Citizens Pursue Appeal Against Amended Approval for Richmond Landfill Site
Ministry of the Environment Issues Order and Lays Charge Against Waste Management for Stormwater Discharge from Richmond Landfill
Expert Reviewer Raises Concerns about Leachate Contamination at the Richmond Landfill Site
Mohawks, Municipality, and Residents Demand that Ontario Reject Proposed Environmental Assessment of Mega-Dump Proposal
No, Means No: Mohawks, Municipality, and Residents will Vigorously Oppose Waste Management's Latest Mega-Dump Proposal in Napanee
"Immediate Closure of the Richmond Landfill" Says Ontario's Environmental Watchdog
Mohawks, Municipality, and Citizens File Legal Application Requesting Permanent Closure of Richmond Landfill Site
Richmond Landfill: Chronology of Environmental Concerns
Mohawks, Municipalities and Residents Commend Environment Ministry’s Recommendation Against Approval of Richmond Landfill Expansion
Mohawks, Municipalities and Citizens Urge Ontario to Reject Proposed Landfill Expansion and to Commence Groundwater Investigation
Mohawks and Residents Slam Richmond Dump Owner's Refusal to Allow Independent Water Sampling at Landfill Site
Mohawks and Residents Bring Dump Objections to Queen's Park; Demand that Ontario Reject Flawed Environmental Assessment
Proposed Richmond Landfill Expansion
Mohawks and Residents Request that Provincial Officials Reject Environmental Assessment for Dump Expansion
Supreme Court of Canada refuses to hear dump appeals
Mohawks and Residents' Group File Appeal Applications with the Supreme Court of Canada
Mohawks and Residents' Group take Napanee Dump Battle to the Supreme Court of Canada
Court of Appeal Allows Richmond Landfill Expansion to Proceed through "Scoped" Environmental Assessment
Ontario Court of Appeal to Hear Landmark Landfill Case - Backgrounder to June 23, 2004 Media Advisory
Ontario Court of Appeal to Hear Landmark Landfill Case
Mohawks and Local Residents get their Day in Court to Oppose Mega-Dump Proposal
Resident Outraged at Minister's Approval of Proposed Environmental Assessment for Richmond Landfill Expansion
Local Residents Retain CELA in Battle Against Richmond Landfill Expansion