The note below, private correspondence from Donham to MP Mark Eyking, was leaked to both the press
and JAG by parties unknown
Briefing Note (Sydney Tarponds Agency)
The meeting JAG staged in Point Aconi last night gave critics of the project an opportunity to frighten local resident with false claims about the dangers of co-burning Tar Pond sludge in the power plant there. This inept start to engaging the Point Aconi community makes the political job of selling a solution that much harder. It may well spook Nova Scotia Power into rejecting any participation in a co-burning option.
At the same time, JAG continues to promote unrealistic expectations within the community. With encouragement from Environment Canada, it promotes a Cadillac cleanup solution of dubious feasibility and affordability. The options evaluation report prepared for JAG pegs the cost of this option at $450 million. In-house risk analysis carried out over the last three weeks concluded that the actual cost of this option will approach $1 billion.
Cost has never been a factor of concern for JAG. Regrettably, it doesn't seem to be a concern for Environment Canada either. Technically feasible and fiscally responsible cleanup options do exist, but the constant promotion of unrealistic options by JAG and EC impedes the process of finding such a solution.
In the past few weeks, we had made considerable progress with PWGSC, who have the experience and expertise to make realistic technical and fiscal judgements about proposed options. The province finds it disheartening that PWGSC has been pulled off the file last week. With that decision, the lead remains firmly in EC's hands, and EC continues to encourage JAG's increasingly unhelpful interventions in community consultation (driven, in part, by JAG staff, fearful of losing their jobs).
All this wastes an enormous amount of time, at a time when everyone agrees it would be to our advantage to move the project to a decision at the federal level before November.
In short, we see a need to:
Wrest control of project communications from JAG