205-180 Market Avenue
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, R3B 0P7
Susanne McCrea (204) 297-0321
For immediate release MARCH 6, 2009
Manitoba’s Louisiana Pacific Plant Takes Pollution Controls Offline
Unacceptable in the U.S.
Even the neighbours of Louisiana Pacific’s Swan River OSB plant didn’t know the pollution controls had been taken offline, until local resident, Margaret Romak went and knocked on some doors.
Louisiana Pacific’s Swan Valley OSB mill, near Minitonas, has been releasing more toxic chemicals into the air since, last January.
“I stopped at a house about one mile in each of the four directions from the plant. Not one person knew that this had already been done”, said Romak. “There is something very badly wrong with that.
The Province granted “temporary” discontinuation of the RTO pollution control system to LP, in spite of the Clean Environment Commission’s insistence on it as a condition of the company’s operation in the province.
“There are RTOs and or EPA approved equivalent pollution abatement equipment installed in all of LPs OSB plants and all OSB plants, for that matter in the USA.” said Susanne McCrea, spokesperson for the Boreal Action Project.
They must have them to meet EPAs National Ambient Air Quality Standards, she said.
Louisiana Pacific has now applied to have the requirement permanently waived by the Minister of Conservation.
"This is a cost-driven decision that will compromise human health and the environment as a means to support an American company that has taken millions of dollars out of this province.” Soprovich said.
Many people, including Susanne McCrea of the Boreal Action Project (then with Greenpeace), Swan River resident Ken Sigurdson, Don Sullivan and others were instrumental in the installation of the RTOs, when they campaigned to hold Louisiana Pacific accountable to the Manitoba public, before the mill construction was approved, in the mid 90s. Dan Soprovich was then Regional Wildlife Biologist, with Manitoba Natural Resources.
“We deserve the same level of health protection that Americans do” said Romak. “We deserve to have enough time to debate this fully. We deserve the chance for this to be done publicly. THEN a decision can be made”.
People concerned with this latest attempt by LP to circumvent public health should write letters to the Manitoba Minister of Conservation, requesting that the Minister deny LP's approval to decommission its RTOs permanently.
Write to Stan Struthers, Minister of Conservation; c/o email@example.com or at the Main Street address Environmental Assessment & Licensing Branch, Manitoba Conservation, 123 Main Street, Suite 160, Winnipeg, MB R3C 1A5.It will be up to the discretion of the Minister, under the Environment Act, to approve or deny LPs alteration request. Conservation has imposed a deadline, of March 13th, to hear from concerned parties.
Concerned citizens should also contact Swan River MLA, Rosann Wolchuk and Premier Gary Doer. Both of whom claimed victory, in 1994, when Louisiana Pacific was required to install the RTO technology.
“The Manitoba government must do the right thing here,” said McCrea. “If they allow LP to get away with this we will have to call for federal intervention.”
“This may be a good time to see if there is newer technology that is better than the RTOs of over a decade ago”, she said.
The Boreal Action Project
Links for background