Mayor Germuth reacts to failure of scrubber motion

“The mayor is the voice of council. It would be disrespectful of me to carry on with it.”

Kitimat mayor Phil Germuth said while he is disappointed his motion to support the installation of scrubbers was defeated, he respects the wishes of council and won’t participate in debates around the subject anymore.

“I knew this was a contentious issue so I expected this would not be a ‘slam dunk’,” said Germuth. “I respect council for their position, which is the position I will take moving forward.”

He said following the defeat he has no intention of pursuing the motion any further.

Germuth’s motion was introduced at the Jan. 21 council meeting and after considerable debate among members of council, was defeated 4-3, with councillors Mario Feldhoff, Edwin Empinado, Rob Goffinet and Mary Murphy voting against while Germuth and councillors Larry Walker and Claire Rattée were in favour.

“The mayor is the voice of council. It would be disrespectful of me to carry on with it,” added Germuth.

He stressed that the motion was wrongly interpreted as an attempt by him to get council to put pressure on Rio Tinto to install scrubbers.

“Different people perceive things in a different way. I believe the biggest concern was the perception that the motion may be seen as trying to overturn the current SO2 permit, even though that was not the intent,” said Germuth.

As a result of the motion’s defeat, Germuth withdrew his name from a list of speakers scheduled to attend the Unifor townhall that had been scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 3. It was cancelled at the last minute out of respect for the funeral of former Kitimat mayor Ray Brady.

“I told the organizers that I couldn’t go there and speak because council doesn’t have a position on the scrubbers,” said Germuth.

Responding to criticism that he didn’t consult the Haisla Nation Council before tabling the motion, Germuth said bringing the HNC into discussions around the scrubbers would have been premature.

“The motion didn’t say what type of scrubbers, how many and to which SO2 sources they were to be applied.

“If the motion passed, the next step was to communicate the district’s position to Rio Tinto and the provincial government for future discussion.

“In my opinion that would have been the appropriate time to invite the Haisla to be in the discussions.”

He said the motion wasn’t meant to slight Rio Tinto and that frustration surrounding the scrubbers be directed at the provincial government.

“I don’t have a problem with the holder of the permit. The problem was with who issued the permit in the first place,” said Germuth.

He said his intent was to support any initiative to ensure Kitimat residents have the cleanest air possible and to protect human health in the best way possible.

Email the newsroom

Just Posted

‘Police are ready’ for legal pot, say Canadian chiefs

But Canadians won’t see major policing changes as pot becomes legal

Illegal dumping pushes BC Conservation to the tipping point

Terrace office may bring violators to court to seek higher penalties

Natural gas pipeline cost soars

Coastal GasLink to carry gas from northeastern B.C. to LNG Canada plant at Kitimat

Airport wants LNG companies to build own terminals

Best way to handle expected crush of traffic

Video: An up-close look at beluga whales in Hudson Bay

An up-close look as some belugas greet whale watchers off the coast of Churchill, Manitoba

Canucks: Pettersson in concussion protocol, Beagle out with broken forearm

Head coach Travis Green called the hit ‘a dirty play’

5 tips for talking to your kids about cannabis

Health officials recommend sharing a harm reduction-related message.

NHL players say Canada’s legalization of marijuana won’t impact them

NHL players say the legalization of marijuana in Canada won’t change how they go about their business.

Automated cars could kill wide range of jobs, federal documents say

Internal government documents show that more than one million jobs could be lost to automated vehicles, with ripple effects far beyond the likeliest professions.

Private marijuana stores should shut down, Mike Farnworth says

B.C. has approved 62 licences, but they still need local approval

HPV vaccine does not lead to riskier sex among teen girls: UBC

Girls are less likely to have sex now than they were a decade ago

Koreas agree to break ground on inter-Korean railroad

The rival Koreas are holding high-level talks Monday to discuss further engagement amid a global diplomatic push to resolve the nuclear standoff with North Korea.

Flash floods kill at least 7 people in southwest France

Flash floods have left several people dead in southwest France, with roads swept away and streams become raging torrents as the equivalent of several months of rain fell overnight, authorities said Monday.

Most Read