Friday, September 12, 2008

Rob Moir renews call for full panel EIA of 2nd refinery


Kingston, New Brunswick

Rob Moir, environmental economist and candidate for the Fundy Royal New Democrats, is re-issuing his call for a Full Federal Panel Review of the environmental impacts of the entire operations of the proposed second oil refinery in Saint John. The federal government has agreed to study only the marine impacts.

"I know it is called 'Project Eider Rock'," states Moir, "but really it is just another big stinky oil refinery, and recent scientific studies confirm that."

Moir is referring to a 2008 study in the August volume of the Journal of the Air and Waste Management Association that was mentioned in last Saturday's Globe and Mail and on CBC radio yesterday (September 10). Using lasers to estimate fugitive emissions, the study shows that at an Alberta oil refinery half the size of the existing refinery in Saint John, smog-causing hydrocarbon emissions are about 15 times higher than those reported to government regulators, and cancer-linked benzene emissions are about 19 times higher.

"The existing refinery is twice the size of that studied," notes Moir, "and now there is a proposal to build a second one of equal size, but with virtually no federal assessment of the environmental impacts? Then we hear that the provincial government is not going to require Irving Oil to build in any carbon offsets for the new refinery. This is quite troubling!"

"Sure there are jobs - and big profits for the Irvings too," continues Moir, "but as you watch the fog creep up the Bay of Fundy, you realize that it is people in Fundy Royal and Moncton that will also pay the price in terms of healthcare costs, missed work days, and quality of life. People forget that the economy and the environment are a closed system – there is no trade-off."

Moir has asked for a Full Federal Panel Review in the past and followed up his request with complaints to both Environment Minister, Mr. Baird and directly to Environment Canada. "How can Environment Canada ignore its duty to trigger a full review," asks Moir, "when a number of a refinery's emissions appear on their Priority Substance Lists?"

An access to information request was filed by Moir to see documents pertaining to the Environment Minister's decision, but it was not pursued as the costs could have exceeded $1,000. "I can't afford that money as a private citizen, but surely as an MP I'd have better luck," notes Moir.

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For more information please contact:

Pat Hanratty, Campaign Manager
(506) 647-1405

Rob Moir Campaign Office
1031 Main Street
Hampton, NB
(506) 832-0570


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