Tar ponds cleanup: for the record|
By PARKER DONHAM
Bruno Marcocchio's recent opinion article ("Nova Scotia, not Ottawa, delaying
tar ponds cleanup," May 10) brims with misinformation.
The Joint Action Group's "final recommendation" was not soil washing. Soil
washing is not "a series of three technologies." The federal-provincial cleanup
plan was not "the option rated least preferable by residents."
Methane produced by organic material in the tar ponds did not "crack the
solidified sludge" during technical trials. Ron Russell, minister of
transportation and public works, did not say that the provincial government had
"never committed to take the JAG recommendation into account."
I could go on, but you get the point. Accurate information is readily available,
on the public record, in technical reports at www.TarPondsCleanup.ca.
We have corrected these and similar errors many times, yet Mr. Marcocchio
persists in repeating them. Apparently, the facts are inconvenient to his
caricature of heartless bureaucrats recklessly pursuing sinister cleanup
schemes while ignoring flawless alternatives.
The truth is that there are many safe ways to clean up contaminated sites. Seven
years of debate during the JAG process did not produce a clear consensus behind
any one of them. The cleanup plan devised by Environment Canada and the Sydney
Tar Ponds Agency uses a combination of the technologies presented by JAG. These
technologies have proven safe and effective at similar sites throughout the
As for who bears responsibility for delay, there is more than enough blame for
everyone to share - not least Mr. Marcocchio, with his long record of
obstructive tactics and lurid exaggerations.
Fisheries scientists identified the tar ponds as a problem in 1982. Most of the
students who graduated from Nova Scotia universities last month had not been
born in 1982. Fixing this problem has taken much too long. Everyone involved in
the cleanup has a responsibility to bring the project to a successful
conclusion as quickly as possible.
Parker Donham is spokesman for the Sydney Tar Ponds Agency.