Wilderness Committee decries “biased” incineration report

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Vancouver
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Vancouver – The Wilderness Committee is calling on BC Environment Minister Barry Penner to say no to Metro Vancouver’s waste to energy proposal, in light of concerns raised by Ministry of Environment staff regarding the key consultation report on waste management options commissioned by Metro Vancouver.

A letter from the Ministry of the Environment to Metro Vancouver, dated June 2, 2009, said the Metro Vancouver report appeared to show a bias towards the controversial waste incineration technology.

“The letter from the Ministry of the Environment raises a number of very serious issues regarding climate change and air quality, issues that have been repeatedly swept under the rug by Metro Vancouver staff,” said Ben West, Healthy Communities Campaigner with the Wilderness Committee. “Many of the same issues flagged by the BC Government were raised by environmentalists and residents, and their concerns were dismissed outright by Metro staff. This is unacceptable.”

The expiration of the contract for the use of the Cache Creek landfill for Metro Vancouver’s garbage has prompted a heated debate on waste management options, ranging from waste reduction measures designed to reduce the need for landfills to the building of a controversial new 470 million dollar waste incinerator.

“It is frustrating that Metro Vancouver has continued to tell elected officials and the general public that waste incineration reduces greenhouse gases, because that is inaccurate and misleading” said West. “We have corrected Metro Vancouver staff about this since day one of the public consultation, but they have stuck to their misguided position even though the Ministry of the Environment raised similar concerns.”

The waste management report was produced by AECOM Energy Industries, a company that owns and operates a waste incinerator in Alberta and is a member of the Energy from Waste lobby organization. Metro Vancouver staff repeatedly claimed that the report was independent and non-biased. The report has been criticized by numerous organizations, including KPMG Accounting, the Vancouver Board of Trade and the Fraser Valley Regional District.

“It is unacceptable that the Ministry of the Environment’s concerns were not addressed adequately before the proposed waste management plan was sent out for public consultation,” said West. “The AECOM report used to sell waste incineration to the public and decision makers presents misleading information and misrepresents serious areas of concern. The right thing for Minister Penner to do is to say no to the proposed waste incinerator in light of concerns raised by his own Ministry staff.”

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