Memo warns against hazardous-waste project

The Daily News - Sunday
Nov. 2, 2003

Canadian Press

FREDERICTON(CP) - New Brunswick will put itself in a vulnerable position by allowing Bennett Environmental to operate a hazardous waste treatment facility says an internal government memo.

The memo,obtained under the Right to Information Act by a northern New Brunswick environmental group, was written by Simone Godin.

Godin is, a hazardous-waste officer with the Department of Environment and Local Government.

Last September, Godin wrote to high-ranking environment officials saying that the province's ability to turn down other requests to import hazardous waste could be jeopardized if Bennett's project in Belledune, N.B., were to proceed.
"The precedent of allowing such a project to go ahead could make us very vulnerable, as it would be next to impossible to stop any other hazardous waste management company from coming to N.B. to process waste," Godin said in the six- page brief.

Godin cites international deals, such as the North American Free Trade Agreement, that could curtail the province's ability to decline other such requests.

She also questions why Bennett Environmental wants to place a treatment facility in the province. "Since we have no specific hazardous-waste regulation in New Brunswick, we are particularly vulnerable and should be suspicious of the motivation that is bringing this company to our province," Godin wrote.

Premier Bernard Lord's Tory government has given Bennett approval to construct the facility. The company still has to acquire approval to operate before it can begin importing toxic soil laden with creosote and hydrocarbons. Environment Minister Brenda Fowlie said the company has scaled down the amount of waste that would be coming to the Belledune area on an annual basis.