Incinerator safety far from 'proven' in Canada

Letter to the editor from Elizabeth May
Cape Breton Post
Mon., Sept. 13, 2004

It is always hard to absorb that the journalist who used to agree with and, in fact, amplify with good research, every concern we raised has become such a fan of inadequate and dangerous solutions to toxic waste just by going to work for the government.

Nevertheless, any claim that mobile incineration of PCBs is "proven" safe is absurd. Has it been done before? Yes. Has it been proven safe? Absolutely not.

PCB incineration has a very unhappy record in Canada. The special high-tech incinerator in Swan Hills, Alberta, located well away from large population centres, still managed to contaminate a wide area and cause warnings to First Nations people not to eat the wildlife.

Sierra Club of Canada has worked tirelessly in the interests of the environment and public health to create a strong level of national public support for a clean-up in Sydney. The $280 million in federal support has a lot to do with the profile the issue has across Canada and public support from coast to coast for a cleaner and healthier Sydney.

We will not sit idly by and let that money be spent in ways that increase the health risk to the community. We can all work together. The money is in place. Sound and safe technologies are available. For God's sake, this time, let's get it right.

Elizabeth May,
Executive Director, Sierra Club of Canada, Ottawa