Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Media release re: Refinery Proposal

Fundy Royal NDP Candidate Rob Moir renews call for full Federal assessment of proposed 2nd oil refinery project

23 JANUARY 2008

The Fundy Royal NDP has reiterated its call for a full Federal Environmental Impact Assessment of the proposed 2nd oil refinery in Saint John. Prime Minister Harper's Minister of the Environment, John Baird, has refused to conduct the assessment - despite demands to do so from throughout the province. So far, Harper's decision has left the majority of the proposal under the complete discretion of Provincial environmental authorities. The federal government's ruling is currently the subject of a court case filed by Ecojustice (formerly the Sierra Legal Defence Fund).

This is irresponsible according to NDP Candidate and economist Rob Moir. "Premier Graham's Liberal Government has come out in support of the refinery project on several occasions. We cannot now expect this Liberal government to conduct an impartial review when it is so clearly behind the project as an integral part of its 'energy hub' concept," Moir explains. "A Federal assessment is required to provide oversight and objectivity to the process in order to alleviate some of these concerns."

Recent decisions by Graham's government have caused concern in the environmental community. "[NB Minister of Environment] Haché's weak response on the arsenic issue in Grand Lake, and the limited response of the Department of Environment to the recent improper transfer of pet coke incident in Saint John," cites Moir, "clearly indicate a weak environmental agenda."

The refinery will have significant environmental impacts on the Fundy Royal riding as well as the entire Atlantic region. "Fundy Royal residents are among the most affected by the residual pollution of the current refinery. They deserve to have a voice in any decision that is made," Moir says. "It is the Federal government's responsibility to ensure that all stakeholders are considered in such a review. In Fundy Royal and beyond, there are areas that will not see significant economic benefits from this new refinery - yet these residents are being forced to live with the environmental consequences."

"I've written to the Federal Government regarding the benzene, xylenes, methyl ethyl ketone, toluene, ethyl benzene, 2,2,4-trimethylpentane, hexane, cresols, MTBE, naphthalene, and phenol emissions that are continuously released into the air during the refining process," says Dr. Moir, "but have had little response. Many of these chemicals are listed as priority 'toxic' substances in the Canadian Environmental Protection Act of 1988," continues Moir. "I don't see how Environment Canada and the Federal Government can ignore their duties in this matter." Moir calls on our Federal elected members - specifically in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia - to stand up and represent the concerns of their constituents, rather than submit to the will of industry. "It is clearly in the best interest of all citizens that a full Federal Panel Review of all operations of any proposed refinery be conducted," concludes Moir. "It is the responsibility of our Members of Parliament to ensure the integrity of this process."

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1 comment:

Fundy Royal NDP said...

For more information on the pending lawsuit, please consult the EcoJustice press release, at