Media Release

Resident Outraged at Minister's Approval of Proposed Environmental Assessment for Richmond Landfill Expansion

Sep 20 1999

Toronto. Residents living near the Richmond Landfill have strongly denounced the decision of the Minister of the Environment to approve the Canadian Waste Services (CWS) plan for preparing an environmental assessment (EA) of its proposed expansion of the landfill."We are deeply offended by the Minister's decision," said Stephen Geneja, spokesperson for the Local Committee of Concerned Tyendinaga Residents. "Our community is outraged that the Minister has ignored or glossed over the problems with the CWS proposal."In July, numerous residents requested the Minister to reject the CWS proposal for various reasons, such as:

  • CWS has not proven that there is an actual need for a landfill expansion of the size, scale and capacity being proposed;
  • CWS has refused to examine alternatives to the expansion (i.e. the 3R's or export) which may be environmentally preferable to the mega-expansion of the Richmond Landfill;
  • CWS has refused to conduct a proper site selection process to determine whether there are more suitable or safer sites; and
  • CWS has failed to ensure meaningful public consultation.

Despite these problems, however, the Minister has approved CWS's narrowly framed "Terms of Reference", which prescribe the types of environmental studies that CWS is to prepare during the EA process. "Large-scale landfill expansions, such as the CWS proposal, should trigger the fullest and most rigorous scrutiny possible under the Environmental Assessment Act," said Richard Lindgren, an environmental lawyer who represents the local residents. "Unfortunately, the Minister's decision means that CWS can now undertake a much less rigorous EA process which does not address all of the standard requirements of the Act"."In my opinion, the Minister's decision sets a bad precedent and is contrary to the public interest," continued Mr. Lindgren. "At this point, a legal challenge to the Minister's decision has not been ruled out by my client."- 30 -For more information:Stephen Geneja, 613-969-0286Canadian Environmental Law Association:Richard Lindgren, Counsel 613-385-1686