What are friends for? Friends of the Earth, a national environmental organization has come out in support of Allan Williams in his long battle to have the New Harbour landfill site cleaned up.
Friends of the Earth (FoE) Canada has come out to publicly support Allan Williams in his fight to have New Harbour landfill site cleaned up.
For the past 10 years Williams has been doing his own investigation into the site, and lobbying to have it cleaned up. He has amassed a library of information and reports, particularly on transformer casings that were dumped there and buried, Williams believes, in an area that covers about 15,000 square feet. For a number of years, as tons of garbage was trucked in, burned, and later buried, that area remained undisturbed, despite the piling refuse.
Friends of the Earth (FoE) Canada is a charitable, non-profit environmental organization — the Canadian voice for FoE International, the world’s largest grassroots environmental network, consisting of 70 national member groups.
In a June 2 press release, the group said with its support, Williams has applied to federal Environment Minister Jim Prentice to investigate violations of the “federal PCB regulations under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA), 1999 by the government of Newfoundland and Labrador, as well as others.”
FoE said Williams submitted evidence of contamination in excess of regulated limits of PCBs at the landfill site.
“PCBs are persistent organic pollutants controlled globally and the subject of a new Canadian regulation that seeks to eliminate releases to the environment by 90 per cent in five years and 100 per cent of stored PCBs by December 2009,” the group says.
“Mr. Williams alleges that transformer casings, which have been dumped at the landfill site over the past 23 years, are leaching PCBs into the surrounding soil and water in concentrations that violate the federal regulations passed in September 2008. Mr. Williams is hopeful that the new PCB Regulations and his application for investigation will force the federal government to step in and do the right thing - order the province to contain the PCBs and clean up the site.”
Williams says after spending almost a decade trying to get attention on the matter, with help the FoE, “we are exercising our environmental rights to call for a federal investigation. We have asked Friends of the Earth to monitor the treatment of our application for investigation to the minister.” (See related story)
According to FoE, under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act 1999, any Canadian resident can apply for an investigation of an offence under the act. The minister of Environment is then required to investigate the alleged offence and report to the applicant every 90 days on the progress of the investigation and on what action the minister has taken or plans to take.
Beatrice Olivastri is CEO for Friends of the Earth Canada.
She says the PCB regulation “is an important new opportunity for communities and environmental watchdogs to get long overdue action on stored or dumped PCBs... Friends of the Earth hopes to hear from other concerned people about toxic messes that need to be cleaned up in their communities,” she says.
Meanwhile, the provincial Department of Environment and Conservation is holding a meeting at the Lions Club in Dildo this Thursday night, June 11. The meeting is being held to update residents of communities from Markland to Green’s Harbour who use the site, on work that has been carried out there and further work to be done.