Lucy McRae and Breanne Wilken after presenting a petition to RTA to install SO2 scrubbers on the modernized smelter.

Lucy McRae and Breanne Wilken after presenting a petition to RTA to install SO2 scrubbers on the modernized smelter.

Petition for RTA to install SO2 scrubbers delivered to company

Petitioners hand delivered a petition demanding SO2 scrubbers be installed in RTA's modernized smelter.

A near 1,100 signature petition to Rio Tinto Alcan demanding SO2 scrubbers was hand delivered to the company’s community office June 9.

The company has followed up though saying they stand by their decision to release SO2 in the air rather than through salt water scrubbers.

Meanwhile the deliverers of the petition, Lucy McRae and Breanne Wilken, felt unwelcome when they handed the petition to the company.

“Kevin [Manager Communities, External Relations and Media] was not happy to receive it,” said McRae outside the office. She and Wilken both say they felt like they were pushed out the door.

McRae said copies of the petition will also be forwarded to RTA’s head office.

“We did receive the petition this week,” said Gaby Poirier, General Manager for BC Operations, but added, “Our main focus is on people and stakeholders that live and reside in the community.”

The petition includes some signatories who are not specifically in the Kitimat area, even as far away as Ontario and the United Kingdom.

Poirier points to what he calls the “big picture” of the overall 50 per cent general reduction in emissions.

“We are very open to feedback. We have many consultation processes…we’ve got the website, got the community office always open to the public,” he said. “There’s many, many ways to get the feedback and we’re very open to get the feedback from the community because this remains our main focus; people and stakeholders that live and reside in the community.”

Poirier called SO2 a complex issue but stands by the company’s decision against using scrubbers.