Environment Minister Announces Decision on Belledune Soil Treatment Facility

Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency - Press Release
CEAA PR - May 21, 2004

OTTAWA, May 21, 2004 – The Honourable David Anderson, Minister of the Environment, today announced he is giving notice to the proponent, to the governments of New Brunswick and Quebec, and to petitioners of his intention to refer to a review panel the high-temperature thermal oxidizer facility proposed by Bennett Environmental Inc. in Belledune, New Brunswick. The review panel will assess the significance of the potential transboundary environmental effects of the project in the province of Quebec and on federal lands and waters. The Minister's decision was made pursuant to the transboundary provisions of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. "An assessment by a review panel will seek to address important concerns related to the potential environmental effects of a transboundary nature, in particular with respect to the human health effects in transboundary communities," said Minister Anderson.

The decision was based on the Minister's consideration of a technical analysis initiated by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency at the request of the Minister. The analysis was undertaken by experts from Environment Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Health Canada and Indian and Northern Affairs Canada together with information received from the petitioners, environmental groups, the proponent, First Nations and the provinces of New Brunswick and Quebec. Although federal experts are of the opinion that the project is not likely to cause significant adverse transboundary environmental effects, the Minister decided that further assessment is needed because Health Canada is of the view that data are too limited to state with absolute confidence that there are no human health concerns for transboundary communities.

The technical analysis was conducted after opponents to the project submitted petitions requesting that the federal Minister of the Environment refer the Bennett soil treatment project to a review, pursuant to sections 46 and 48 of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. The Act permits the Minister to consider whether to establish a review in a very narrow area, namely the potential adverse transboundary environmental impact, in this case, in the province of Quebec or in relation to federal lands or waters.

Further information of the establishment of the review panel will be provided in the near future.

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The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency administers the federal environmental assessment process, which identifies the environmental effects of proposed projects and measures to address them.

For more information:

Élise Dhaussy
Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency
Senior Communications Advisor
Telephone: (613) 957-0406