The Citizens Against the ED-19 Dump (CAD) is relieved with the recent decision by Ontario Environment Minister Jeff Yurek to revoke an outdated environmental assessment approval for the proposed ED-19 Landfill Site near Spencerville, Ontario.
“The Minister came to this decision based on evidence presented in an application filed by the Canadian Environmental Law Association,” said Kyle Johnston, spokesperson for the non-profit group. “CAD was confident the approval would ultimately be revoked, given the preponderance of evidence against the project. In our opinion, the Counties’ attempt to sell an approval obtained for its own use to a private company was an outrageous idea and clearly an abuse of the Environmental Assessment Act. CAD is extremely grateful to CELA’s Richard Lindgren for his leadership and wise counsel throughout this process.”
This landfill approval had been issued in 1998 to the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville, but the landfill was never constructed by the municipality. In recent years, however, the Counties had entered into negotiations with a private waste disposal company that wanted to acquire the landfill property and proceed with the project.
CAD is a group of local residents who remain opposed to the construction of the landfill, and who are concerned about its potential impacts on public health, well water quality and wildlife habitat. CAD was particularly outraged at the Counties’ plan to sell the site and its approvals to a private company for an entirely different purpose than what was assessed in the 1990s.
In May 2017, CAD retained the Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA) to file an application that requested the minister to reconsider the approval under section 11.4 of the Environmental Assessment Act. Among other things, this application noted that significant changes in circumstances and site conditions had occurred after the approval was issued two decades ago.
In light of these changes, the minister announced that he has decided it is in the public interest to revoke the 21 year-old approval. In effect, this means that no landfilling can occur at the site unless a fresh application under the Environmental Assessment Act is filed, subject to public consultation, and approved (or not) under the Act.
“On behalf of our client, CELA commends the Minister for doing the right thing by revoking the unused and stale-dated landfill approval,” said Richard Lindgren, counsel with CELA. “In our view, this is an important and welcome precedent under the Environmental Assessment Act.”
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Featured image from CAD.