Sierra Club exclusion an astonishing move

Letter by Brian Peters
Cape Breton Post
Mon., Jan. 31, 2005

As a long-time participant in environmental issues on Cape Breton Island, I am astounded that Sierra Club of Canada was denied re presentation on the Community Liaison Committee set up to advise the Sydney Tar Ponds Agency.

Sierra Club has taken a lead role in deliberations on this most critical environmental issue. It has mobilized significant resources to assist in determining the most appropriate strategy to clean up the tar ponds. And from my perspective it has been the entity that best reflects the opinions and concerns of the community that has been enduring the greatest impact from this, Canada's worst toxic site. I am concerned that by denying the Sierra Club of Canada's membership on the committee, Sydney Tar Ponds Agency is exacerbating the problems that have plagued the decades-long search for the right solution.

It has become apparent to me that the agency has developed an animosity toward Sierra Club and its leaders, the result of which has been derailed progress and wasted money. On the other hand, Sierra Club has consistently promoted the best available science and technology to protect community health and the environment. Recently there has emerged an environment of conciliation among the parties concerned about the Sydney tar ponds. This decision to exclude Sierra Club is a bad strategy and it threatens to further divide government and community in our quest for a safe and effective cleanup.

Brian Peters
North East Margaree