Full review may 'derail' cleanup
Environmentalist Bruno Marcocchio says a full
environmental review of the tar ponds by
independent experts would be preferable to a
Groups call for government to lead environmental review of tar ponds
By The Canadian Press
SYDNEY - A group of 11 community groups says they prefer a government-led study
on the tar ponds cleanup in Cape Breton.
"This is an extraordinary gathering," said Coun. Vince Hall, who billed the
announcement as "urgent."
He said there hadn't been so many diverse organizations calling for government
action since Black Friday, 38 years ago, when labour and business groups
marched to argue for the preservation of steel mills on the island.
During the session on Monday, held at the Civic Centre in Sydney, Hall repeated
that Cape Breton Regional Municipality recommends a government-led
environmental study of the toxic waste site - rather than a full-scale
environmental impact assessment led by independent panelists.
The municipality's view is backed by the Cape Breton district health
authority's chief executive officer, John Malcom.
"The organizations and individuals here are the bedrock of our community," said
He said that representatives in attendance support a comprehensive study.
A full-panel review will take "much longer and encourage yet more destructive
debate," said Hall.
"It will also put the cleanup itself at risk. If a panel were to recommend a
cleanup process costing much more than $400 million, it may derail the project
Hall said a problem with a full- panel review is that it will be difficult to
find "so-called independent experts" to sit on the panel, and making them
familiar with the project is another challenge.
He also believes the federal government wouldn't be able to enforce stringent
timelines for the panel to follow.
"Today will tell us if Ottawa is listening to the leaders of this community,"
Malcom also said the full-panel approach will cause unnecessary and lengthy
He said a comprehensive study allows ample opportunity for community
involvement and will lead to a safe and effective cleanup in a reasonable
amount of time.
"I've learned it pays to listen," said Malcom. "I hope people are hearing what
this community is saying."
Bruno Marcocchio, a spokesman for the Sierra Club of Canada, also attended the
news conference as an "uninvited guest."
He said that government has already wasted $60 million on previous cleanup
attempts and a full environmental review by independent experts would be