Mr. Chairman


Today I want to talk to you about....

the very air.... that we breathe

here in beautiful....but highly industrialized

Southern and Eastern Ontario.

And my message today two fold:

first, that a number of well known Industries in Ontario

continue to compomise..... air quality

by releasing chemical wastes.... from their smokestacks,

into the atmosphere;

and second...that the Government of Ontario,

as the regulator of industry,

is not being very effective.... in approaching this problem.

So we have two issues here.....

Industrial waste.....and ... Government regulation.



When I think about this,

I am reminded of......the late Mr. U. Utah Phillips.

Mr. Phillips was an American entertainer and activist

who he famously noted

that "The earth is not dying,..... it is being killed,

and the people killing it ......have names and addresses."


So with Mr. Phillip's gentle admonition in mind,

I would like to make two points

abpit is my subject today,

which is.... industrial air pollution .

First of all,

in the control of industrial air emissions

in the province of Ontario

there has been ....regulatory ...failure.

I say this because

although you might find this surprising

for such a modern province as Ontario

at the present time

there appears to be

no .....effective ....limits.... on,

or.... effective ....monitoring ....of....

chemical discharges..... by industry ... into Ontario air.

So this is what I refer to

as a regulatory failure....

lack of limits...and lack of monitoring.

My second point is that,

the Government of Ontario

is misleading .....the Ontario public

about how effective .....

or more accutrately, how ineffective,

current air regulations

really are.

The government says

that Ontario industrial air emissions regulations

......are "the toughest.... in North America."

But it is my view

that a more accurate way to put it is that

Ontario air regulations

.....are among the weakest.... in North America.

That is the reality.

Among the weakest in North America.

Here in Eastern Ontario alone

there have been 5 examples the last 10 years

of what I am talking about...

which illustrate this problem of regulatory failure

by the GO.

These are specific cases of industries located in our area,

in Cornwall.....and Trenton..... and Picton......and Bath...... and Ottawa

I am not going to name the specific corporations,

but they include the cement industry,

the pulp and paper industry,

and the waste disposal industry.

Of course, each of these industries

has a smokestack,

and that smokestack.... releases waste chemicals

into the local air.....

there is nothing new about that.

But....when you look at each of these 5 specific cases in detail

what you find uniformly

is that the Ontario Government regulator of air quality,

which is the Ministry of Environment,

has failed to ensure proper control

of smoke stack emissions

in each of these 5 cases.

Now I remind you..... that the Ontario MoE was created

almost 40 years ago, in 1970,

in response to evidence at that time

that the then regulator of Air Pollution,

the Ontario Department of Health,

was not being effective in that particular role.

The specific case which triggered concern at that time

was that of a fertilizer plant in Dunnville, Ontario

which was polluting the local air with fluoride.

Public concern about that case led to the creation

of what is now called the Ontario MoE,

whose job, among many other functions,

is to regulate emissions from industrial smoke stacks,

for the protection of human health.

However, the problem is that

over the 40 years of its subsequent existence

it appears that the relationship between the MoE

and the industries that it regulates

has become a little too close....

one might even say unhealthy.

I say this because time and again,

when you look at any number of cases over the past 40 years,

the priorities of the MoE appear to have been

with the protection of the interests of industry

rather than the protection of human health

and the environment.

Now of course, we tend to blame the Americans

as the primary source..... of our air quality problems,

with those nasty emissions from industries

in the Ohio Valley flowing this way

on the prevailing winds.

But American air quality regulations

actually appear to be stronger than our own.

For example, just across the border

just 120 miles due East of here

in a place called Ticonderoga, New York,

in November 2006, just 2 years ago,

the International Pulp and Paper Company

mounted a pilot tire burning project ....

they wanted to use old tires...

as fuel in their pulp and paper mill.

Now on the surface that sounds like a pretty good idea.

However it was discovered that when tires

were burned as fuel at Ticonderoga...

high levels of a lot of very nasty emissions

came out of the smoke stack...

and futhermore, that these levels

were in exceedence of U.S. federal limits...

so the project was shut down.

In contrast to that case.....

a similar project here in Ontario

in our neighbouring community of Bath, near Kingston,

a large international cement company

wanted to do the same thing.....

to burn tires as fuel in their plant.

And sure enough, in December 2006,

which was just one month after the Ticonderoga proposal

was declined in New York State,

this Bath proposal was approved ....

by the Ontario MoE.

So what was unacceptable under American air regulations

was acceptable in Ontario, Canada.

So there is quite a contrast

between air standards in the two countries.

One Canadian who has been

influential in Ontario air quality issues

is Mr. Gordon Miller,

the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario.

Mr. Miller has made

a very strong contribution

to our understanding

of the regulation of industrial air pollution .

Although his office has no power,

in his last 6 Annual Reports ,

which I commend to you,

Mr. Miller really has done a very good job

in focusing on... how far behind

Ontario regulators are ...

in the matter of air quality.

I have two of the most recent editions here.

The 2006 edition of the Commissioner's report

is entitled ....Neglecting Our Obligations. (Show)

The cover page shows

a number of smokestacks in the background,

belching out a lot of nasty stuff,

and the silhouette of a child

in the foreground, presumably breathing it in.

This image itself is a very Powerful one....


The 2008 edition

is titled....Getting to K(no)w, (play on words)

What Mr. Miller is getting at here

is that in the past 40 years

the MoE has acted as a sort of.....

Rubber Stamp Regulator ..

saying to industry, Yes, go ahead and pollute the air,

when in some cases,

when we KNOW more about a proposal

the answer should be, NO, You can't do that.


The fundamental issue in air quality

that Mr. Miller has identified

is that..... of the 3 methods available

to regulate industrial air emissions

the Government of Ontario

has used the two methods that are

complicated and ....ineffective ...

instead of the third method

which is simple, and effective.

This seems rather odd, but that's how it is.

The first method .....of the two in use,

which is the one

that was used for many years,

until very recently,

is called.... POI..... the Point of Impingement method.

In the POI method....

air samples are taken at a location...

which is some distance away....

from the actual source of pollution,

for example, a smoke stack.

Somebody....a technician....goes out

to , for example, the property line... of the industry

that has the smokestack,

and the technician takes an air sample ... in a bottle,

and this is sent off to a lab for analysis.

That is the POI method.
Now that method, POI, has with great fanfare..

recently been replaced

by a purportedly.... even better method

which is called ... the AAQC ..

the Ambient Air quality Criteria method ,

certainly a longer name,

but whether it's a better method is a very different question,

because, in this new, AAQC method,

no.... actual air samples are taken all.

Instead, concentrations of air pollution

that might be expected to occur

in the area around..........any particular source

are predicted by models.

And if you have ever seen

any of the mathematical formulas

on which these computer models are based.....

they are very complex

......and they are very difficult to understand

I defy anybody to explain them to you.

I might add, because of this complexity

these models are also very easy to manipulate

to get the desired result....

and we have seen that locally.

Effectively, it seems to me

that although these two methods,


give the Appearance

of being very scientifically based,

and therefore, presumably, very reliable,

that in actual fact

what these Regulatory methods do ,

if you look at the numbers,

is they have allowed, and continue to allow, Ontario..... to dump

as much chemical waste it wants..

into the atmosphere .....

as long as the wind is blowing in the right direction.

I know......hard to believe,

here in the modern world of 2008,

but that is the way that it is.....

here in good old Ontario

The good news is.... that there is

a third method of regulating industrial air emissions,

which I have already described

as the simple ....and effective ......method.

This is called Source Testing

and it is done very putting a filter

in our smokestack,

way up there, near the mouth of the stack,

to measure ...the amount of chemicals of various kinds

that actually leave the smokestack.

Commissioner Miller's point is that

until the government regulates emissions

by Source Testing,

(which you would think

would be the obvious method to use),

that until they do that,

we are going to continue

to have a problem.

So of the three methods available

to regulate industrial air emissions

we are using the two...... which are complex and ineffective,

instead of the one .....which is simple and effective.

You might well ask why that is.

The answer seems to be once again

that in air quality regulation at least

in the Province of Ontario

the interests of industry

take precedence over

the protection of human health.

In the Bath case,

which is of one of the 5 Eastern Ontario cases

that I have mentioned,

in my opinion the recent decision by the MoE

to allow the cement company in Bath

to burn these tires as fuel

suggests once again, as in 1967, 40 years ago,

that the wrong... government... department

is regulating industrial air emissions in Ontario.

Indeed, the Ontario Supreme Court,

just 6 mos ago,

in their June 2008 review

of the MoE decision in the Bath case,

the 3 Judges of the Ontario Supreme Court

used some colourful language,

to describe the decision

as one which was....egregious......

which was..... bungled....

which was.... a betrayal of public trust.

That was the Supreme Court's

rather jaundiced view

of the regulator's decision in the Bath case...

egregious......bungled.....a betrayal of the public trust.

And the Court of Appeal

has now seconded that opinion

in their November 2008 decision.

So, who ...should be doing this job

of regulating industrial air emissions

in our province??

Well, first of all, as Mr. Miller,

the ECO,

has recently pointed out

of every dollar of the Ontario Provincial Budget

the Ministry of Health gets about 45 cents

of every provincial dollar.

The MoE, on the other hand,

which incidentally has a huge mandate,

gets 1/3 of one cent.

That is how much we are investing

in environmental protection

in this province.....1/3 of one cent.

and I think that we a getting...what we are paying for,

because as a result, in the past decade

the Ontario MoE...... has been reduced

to a SMALL,..... minor, ......department

of the Ontario government.

So the MoE... is in no position

to be regulating these BIG, .....major,......,

either financially,

or by virtue of expertise.

In some cases, these are ....multinational,

......multibillion dollar....corporations.

So it's a kind of a David and Goliath situation.

And Secondly,

in answer to the question as to who

should be regulating industrial air emissions...

this is a human health issue,

and it is the Ontario Public Health officials

who are the experts in human health,

not the MoE.

Therefore, it seems to me ....

that we should return

to the original idea..... of regulation of air quality

by an appropriate division........

of the Ontario Department of Health...

they have the weight.....they have the expertise.

To summarize then, 3 points:

· 1. There has been regulatory failure in the control of industrial air emissions in Ontario

· 2. There are in Eastern Ontario alone, 5 cases, in Bath, Trenton, Picton, Cornwall and Ottawa, which demonstrate this regulatory failure all too well.

· 3. The Ticonderoga, New York, case demonstrates that the Americans are more effective at air pollution regulation than we are in Ontario.

However, despite all of that evidence,

our Ontario Government persists is saying

that Ontario industrial air emissions regulations

......are "the toughest in North America."

But I believe that a more accurate way to put it

is that our air regulations, as I said before,

.....are among the weakest in North America.

In my opinion, the Government of Ontario

is misleading ....the Ontario public

about how effective

current air quality regulations.... really are.

Mr. Chairman