Unifor wins chance to appeal Rio Tinto Alcan environmental permit

A judicial ruling is allowing Unifor to challenge the ministry of environment's permit for the Kitimat smelter's emissions.

Unifor announced on Friday that they have been successful in their filing of a judicial review of their appeal of Rio Tinto Alcan’s emissions permit which allowed the company to proceed without installing sulphur dioxide (SO2) scrubbers.

SO2 at the modernized smelter is permitted to rise, from 27 tonnes a day to 42.

“The union has been given standing to allow the board to consider a mitigation plan around possible ill effects of sulphur dioxide on human health,” explained Unifor 2300 President Sean O’Driscoll. “As an organization, we care about our members but we also care about the community at large. Anything to impact human health we’re going to be front and centre in ensuring the most appropriate mitigation strategies are put in place.”

He said there will likely be hearings in the new year on this matter. He said the door is also not closed to potentially formally joining the appeal put forward by Emily Toews and Lis Stannus on the permit.

O’Driscoll said the path forward is primarily up to Unifor’s legal team. He said the union fully supports modernization “but not at all costs.”

Toews and Stannus recently concluded their own hearing process on their appeal of RTA’s approved environmental permit and await a decision.

Rio Tinto Alcan has consistently stood by their decision not to install scrubbers, saying environmental reports the company has commissioned show the impacts from the SO2 will not significantly impact the health of people in the Kitimat area.

RTA spokesperson Kevin Dobbin says the company is reviewing the ruling.

“Right now the judicial review has just come out…so we’re taking our time with our legal and internal teams to review it, to see exactly what it means and then we’ll be able to make some comments after that.”

Within the arguments of this ruling is while there are environmental thresholds quantified for environmental health affects there is no thresholds relating to human health.

 

Just Posted

Kitimat’s Water Quality Advisory, which has been in place for just over a week, has been lifted. (Black Press file photo)
Water Quality Advisory in Kitimat lifted

The district has been under a Water Quality Advisory since June 2

On June 16 at 6 p.m., the Kitimat Chamber of Commerce will be hosting a public presentation and discussion with Happipad, a social enterprise, to talk about solutions for affordable housing Kitimat. (Happipad photo)
Affordable housing to be focus of Kitimat Chamber of Commerce meeting

Figures indicate the average Kitimat household needs to make more than $92,000 a year

(District of Kitimat logo)
Hirsch Creek Bridge restricted to single lane traffic

The district is restricting the bridge traffic to legal highway loads only

Artist’s illustration of the proposed Kitimat LNG facility at Bish Cove near Kitimat. (Kitimat LNG illustration)
Haisla Nation surprised by Woodside pull out from Kitimat LNG project

Haisla Nation council states its main focus is now on developing the Haisla-led Cedar LNG project

(Northern Health logo)
Pop-up vaccine clinic tomorrow at the Save-on-Foods parking lot in Kitimat

The clinic will be this Friday, June 11 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Most Read