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Keep up the fight, say Clarington incinerator foes

March 04, 2010

CLARINGTON — Opponents of an incinerator in Clarington say they need to keep the pressure on senior levels of government as the fight isn’t over.

“The good news is it’s not a done deal, but we all have to move quick because it’s five minutes to midnight,” said long-time incinerator opponent Linda Gasser. “People have the power to inform themselves and to stop these projects. An informed and engaged citizenry can scare the heck out of politicians, especially if they’re seeking re-election.”

She made the comments during a meeting Tuesday attended by 150 people at the Faith United Church in Courtice.

Last Friday, the provincial Environment Ministry released its review of the environmental assessment for the proposed energy-from-waste facility. The ministry review noted the facility “will benefit” Durham and York regions.

“The ministry is satisfied that the proposed mitigation methods and contingencies will ensure that any potential negative impacts will be minimized and mitigated,” the MOE review stated.

The public can comment on the review until April 2, while the minister of the environment has 13 weeks after that to announce a decision.

“What EA are they reading?” asked Wendy Bracken, another incinerator opponent. “Our air quality is already poor.”

Dr. Debra Jefferson, a Newcastle family physician, said emissions from the incinerator would compromise the health of citizens.

“Courtice has the highest measurable nitrous oxide (readings) in southern Ontario,” she said, adding children, older adults, asthmatics and diabetics would be most vulnerable.

“This incinerator will pollute not only for our generation, but our children’s generation and their children’s generation,” Dr. Jefferson stated.

“Our greatest challenge, dare I say, is apathy. People say if it’s not safe, it won’t be approved. The Region says if it’s not safe, the Province won’t approve it. The buck stops with us. If we want to stop the incinerator, we all have to do our part,” Dr. Jefferson noted.

She said particulate matter, very fine materials less than the diameter of a human hair, would be emitted.

The possibility of an incinerator, the Hwy. 407 extension through Clarington and a possible expansion of Hwy. 401 “all work together to increase the load of particulate matter in our atmosphere.”

“We need a groundswell of opposition to kill it,” said Doug Anderson, a Green Party candidate in Whitby in previous elections.

“In our opinion, the public has been let down by the politicians and bureaucrats at all levels,” Ms. Gasser added.

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