The province’s approval of a oneyear pilot project to burn discarded tires at the Lafarge Canada cement plant near Brookfield will have to pass a Nova Scotia Supreme Court test. Environment Minister Iain Rankin gave the project the initial green light in July but a group of concerned residents filed for a judicial review of the ministerial decision.
“Imagine basing the research for the burning of 20 tonnes of whole tires per day (a tire a minute) in an old cement kiln on a science laboratory experiment using not whole tires but scraps of tires,” Lydia Sorflaten, who lives about 500 metres from the mill, said in summarizing the arguments the group’s lawyer will make before
the court. “How could a ‘pilot project’ of this magnitude have been put forward with such a flimsy base?”
The group maintains that the minister’s decision failed to properly consult the public, to protect human health and to prevent pollution.
“Whatever way you look at burning 20 tonnes of scrap whole tires in Lafarge’s old cement plant in Brookfield, it is wrong,” Sorflaten’s summary concluded. “Burning whole tires at the plant in Brookfield poses threats of serious and irreversible damage to our environment (our air, our water, our soil) and, consequently, our health. We need to support our local recycling industry. This project should not be allowed to go ahead.”
Rankin has said in the past that his decision was based on the science and evidence associatedwith the application, primarily from research
done by Prof. Mark Gibson at Dalhousie University, along with public feedback, which helped to shape the conditions of the approval.
“I’m a regulator,” Rankin has said. “I have to take my job as environment minister very seriously and look at the evidence in any application.”
The company’s plan to burn about 400,000 discarded tires in its kiln has been supported by $2 million in plant upgrades. The company has said it would not be ready to burn tires until late summer or fall.
The judicial review will be held Tuesday and Wednesday at the law courts in Halifax.