Thursday, May 31, 2007

Letter to Mr. Baird

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** While the Refinery isn't in our riding, the environmental effects will be felt in our riding and around the globe. It is important that New Brunswickers take on a leadership role!

31 May 2007

To: The Hon. John Baird, Minister of the Environment
RE: Proposed new oil refinery in Saint John, NB (Project Eider Rock)

Dear Sir;

I am writing to express my concern regarding your decision to limit the federal government’s role in the Environmental Impact Assessment of the refinery Irving Oil proposes to construct in Saint John, New Brunswick. I am a resident in the outskirts of Saint John and I work in the city.

The Environment Ministry has decided to limit the scope of its involvement to a Full Federal Panel Review of the marine operations of the proposed refinery. While this is important and welcome news because of the risk increased shipping will have on the endangered right whale, it leaves out the environmental and health effects that will be felt by humans.

Local greenhouse gas emissions will increase tremendously with the operation of a second refinery. Estimates suggest that the existing refinery’s annual emissions are equivalent to putting 357,000 additional cars on the road. Given the increasing scientific evidence that anthropogenic-source greenhouse gas emissions are linked to climate change, it seems only prudent that the Federal Environment Ministry request the most stringent analysis of this proposal.

Oil refineries can severely impact human health. A 2002 Harvard Medical School report, Oil: A Life Cycle Analysis of its Health and Environmental Impacts (, lists a number of health concerns associated with oil refining. This list includes cancers of the lip, stomach, liver, pancreas, connective tissue, prostate, eye, brain, bone, lung and kidney, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, unspecified neoplasms, and leukemia in children (p. 28). Asthma and other respiratory ailments are of concern too. A Full Federal Panel Review of the entire operations of the proposed refinery is the only way to ensure that research in the public interest is conducted and presented in an open and public forum.

In conclusion, I ask that you revisit your decision to limit the federal government’s role in the assessment of the proposed new refinery in Saint John, New Brunswick. I strongly urge you to institute a Full Federal Panel Review of the entire proposed refinery’s operations.


Rob Moir (Associate Professor of Economics)

CC: The Right Hon. Stephen Harper, The Hon. St├ęphan Dion, The Hon. Jack Layton, Mr. David McGuinty, Mr. Nathan Cullen, Mr. Rob Moore, Mr. Paul Zed


Jeff said...

This is another important topic this coming election, was there a response from this? What is and what has happened since this letter? Dion spoke about this yesterday, but I would like to here the NDP.

Fundy Royal NDP said...

Hello Jeff,

Thanks for your comment.

The minister did not respond, so Dr. Moir entered an access to information request to see the reasons for his decision. Unfortunately they advised him the cost of performing his request would be approximately $1000.00!

Please see our newest press release on the issue, released today at

Thank you very much!