Council says no to tar ponds incinerator

CBC News
Wed. Jan. 25, 2006

Sydney - Cape Breton regional council has pulled its support of the tar ponds cleanup because it calls for the use of an incinerator in the region.

The $400-million, 10-year plan to clean up the Sydney site involves digging up and burning the most toxic material in a portable incinerator, then treating the rest of the material and capping it.

Although council first endorsed the plan, it withdrew that support Tuesday night.

Mayor John Morgan called the decision to incinerate any of the material "environmental extortion." "If the choice is between having a PCB incinerator and not, we choose not. But I don't think it should relieve the provincial and federal government of their moral responsibility to make right the harm that they've done for over 100 years in the region," he said.

Residents want a complete cleanup, Morgan said, and the provincial government, in particular, has shown contempt for that wish by proposing incineration as the only way of cleaning up the contaminated soil.

Marlene Kane, a vocal opponent of incineration, said council's motion shows politicians are listening to the community. But she's not entirely satisfied. "They're still in there talking about it being a cleanup, even though they're not cleaning anything up. They're basically burying it," Kane said.

Earlier this month, the Sydney Tar Ponds Agency released an environmental impact statement that said the cleanup can be carried out safely if appropriate measures are taken, such as monitoring air emissions and dust levels.