Mi'kmaq raise stakes in incinerator fight

Nov. 12, 2003

Web Posted

QUEBEC CITY - The chief of an aboriginal band in the Gaspé is calling on the United Nations for help in the fight against the building of a toxic waste incinerator in Belledune, New Brunswick.

Residents fear pollution will creep into Quebec.

John Martin, chief of the Gesgapegiag Band, said the Canadian government is ignoring environmental commitments by allowing the project to go ahead. The incinerator is already under construction in New Brunswick.

See story From Oct. 15, 2003 - Gaspé considers tactics against NB plant

Martin said pollution from the incinerator is also a further threat to his people's traditional food sources, and to their health.

He also said the Canadian government is not respecting international environmental commitments and that agreements such as the Kyoto Accord should protect against the incinerator project.

"Being aware of the level of pollution in the Baie des Chaleurs, to us, it's unacceptable that we would have another industry setting up shop," said Martin.

Bennett Environmental Inc., which is building the incinerator, said it has developed a technology, a "thermal oxidizer process", in which contaminated soils are treated at extremely high temperatures to separate, remove and destroy the contaminants.

Martin said the UN may not be able to act, but he added that the international body deserves to know Canada is breaking environmental agreements, and should be held accountable.

"Hopefully, that will create pressure at the international level, pointing out Canada in terms of their delinquence in regards to the treaties they've signed," he said.

Martin said the project is going ahead despite the fact that proper environmental impact studies have yet to be completed.

Earlier protests staged by people upset with the incinerator being built in Belledune

Earlier protests staged by people upset with the incinerator being built in Belledune