Cleanup panel review means delay

Letter by Roger Snowdon
Cape Breton Post
Sat., May 14, 2005

My interest in the tar ponds goes back to time spent as a journalist working out of Halifax. More than 20 years ago I learned of PAH contamination in lobster off Sydney and passed along news of the closure of the lobster fishery to fellow reporters in Sydney.

The tip came during a lobster dinner with a contact who was involved in dealing with the fishery problem. His refusal to eat the tamale resulted in the old Maritime quip: "But you're leaving the best part behind." He explained why. The rest is history.

Since then my children have grown up, I've aged more than a little, and the tar ponds have turned into a feast for the activists. Now I fear that I will have retired before we see an end to it. The people of Sydney should stand up and be counted. They are the victims.

Federal Environment Minister Stephane Dion has ordered a review panel to conduct yet another study I believe the panel will delay things by years, not months. Only the naive think otherwise.

This follows pressure from the Sierra Club and misguided activists who now claim that soil washing would be the best technology to use. Don't worry, they'll oppose that technology too when they go before the panel, while proposing some other "Beam me up, Scotty" technology that is even more unworkable. They don't have viable solutions. They do have viable barriers and great expertise in erecting them.

Study money would be better spent reviewing the role of environmental activists in stopping the tar ponds cleanup.

If the insanity prevails and the panel goes ahead, great care should be taken to ensure that not a single dollar of public money goes to environmental activists for intervening in this process. They have not earned intervener status.

No risk to too small for them to object to. No quirky technology is too ineffective to suggest as the solution. It is not in their nature to want an acceptable solution. Interveners of that sort should not be welcome in Sydney.

As for Dion, now Elizabeth May of the Sierra Club won't be saying anything detrimental about him during the coming election and he can win those uniformed green votes in Ontario and B.C.

Roger Snowdon