Media Release

Friends of Second Marsh Retain Legal Counsel to Oppose Proprosed Ethanol Refinery in Oshawa

Oct 29 2008
Oshawa -Friends of Second Marsh has retained the Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA) as counsel in the Friends’ ongoing battle against a controversial application by FarmTech Energy Corporation to locate a heavy industrial bio-ethanol refinery on Oshawa’s waterfront in close proximity to the provincially significant Second Marsh.

Friends of Second Marsh is a not-for-profit charitable organization dedicated to environmental education, to watershed stewardship and to the protection of Second Marsh.  CELA is a public interest group established in 1970 for the purposes of using and improving laws to protect the environment and conserve natural resources.

“We look forward to providing legal assistance to Friends of Second Marsh in this important case,” stated Richard Lindgren, staff lawyer with CELA.  “In our opinion, there are numerous unresolved concerns about the potential environmental impacts of the FarmTech proposal on Second Marsh’s ecological features, functions and values.”

To date, Friends has intervened in FarmTech’s land use planning applications filed with the City of Oshawa.  In addition, Friends has made written submissions to provincial and federal officials regarding statutory approvals and environmental assessment matters. The proximity of the refinery site to the Second Marsh Wildlife Area, and the downwind location of the wetland habitat relative to the refinery, raise a number of concerns about direct, indirect and cumulative environmental effects. These include:
  • Visual impacts
  • Noise impacts
  • Air pollution (e.g. particulate matter, products of combustion, and volatile organic compounds)
  • Discharge of organic dust products
  • Light pollution
  • Associated heavy truck traffic
  • Odours

Second Marsh provides various habitats nurturing a rich diversity of plants, birds and other animals – 361 vascular plants, 254 species of birds, of which 68 species actually breed in the wetland; six species are considered provincially significant and three (possibly four) are listed as threatened or endangered.

Second Marsh will also be the site of the Friends’ proposed Great Lakes Wetlands Centre that will provide state of the art exhibits and environmental education programs for students as well as the general public. The building itself will offer a unique demonstration of sustainability and harmony with the natural environment.

Jim Richards, who helped found the Second Marsh Defense Association (now Friends of Second Marsh) almost 40 years ago says, “We fought long and hard for many years to save Second Marsh and to ensure the integrity of this wetland. Fighting now to protect not only the Second Marsh Wildlife Area but also the McLaughlin Bay Wildlife Reserve and Darlington Provincial Park from this ill-conceived scheme is something we will do with renewed vigor.”

“Friends, in partnership with many naturalist and environmental advocacy organizations, intends to consider all available legal avenues to ensure the protection of Second Marsh,” said Executive Director Brian Brasier. “We are in complete agreement with the Honourable David Crombie’s report to the federal minister of transport which states that Second Marsh is an “environmental gem” and that the site targeted by FarmTech should act as a buffer-zone protecting the marsh rather than a location for industrial activity.”

For further information, please contact:

Brian Brasier (905-723-5047); Email:

Richard Lindgren (CELA): 416-960-2284, ext. 214;

Friends of Second Marsh is a not-for-profit charitable organization dedicated to encouraging the protection and appreciation of Second Marsh, other Great Lakes wetlands, our natural heritage system, and to promoting a healthy environment through education, communication, developing partnerships and fostering connections with all sectors of the community. Visit for more information.

~ 30 ~