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NEWS: Opposition to federal appointee-approved ethanol refinery on Lake Ontario grows

Earlier this month, the Oshawa Port Authority – of which five of the seven Board members were appointed by the Harper government – approved a controversial $200 million, 12-storey industrial ethanol refinery on the Lake Ontario waterfront next to a ‘provincially significant’ 123-hectare coastal wetland.

Last summer, Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow wrote, “Several aspects of the proposed ethanol plant contradict the notion of the Great Lakes Commons including the importance of public participation and a program for wetlands protection. …I urge the Federal Government to withdraw any consent and withhold any further consideration to establish an ethanol plant on Crown land at the Oshawa Harbour until the concerns of the community are adequately considered.”

In an open letter released last week, NDP Transport Critic Olivia Chow writes, “Looking beyond clearing up the circumstances of this damaging decision, I will continue to advocate for the most sensible solution: to give the Oshawa port back to the people of Oshawa. Back in City hands, the citizens will be able to determine the future of their waterfront unfettered by federal intervention and cronyism.”

And tonight, the Toronto Star reports, “Disagreement is heating up over an ethanol refinery to be built in Oshawa, with the city’s council calling for an investigation into the relationship between the federally controlled Oshawa Port Authority, federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and FarmTech Energy Corp., the company building the plant. …Mayor John Henry was directed to ask that the federal ethics commissioner investigate the appointments of the board of directors and chair of the port authority, and the relationship to Flaherty and FarmTech regarding the decision to build the plant.”

The Toronto Star article is at http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/article/1247878–oshawa-council-seeks-ethics-probe-into-ethanol-plant-decision. Maude Barlow’s letter opposing the ethanol refinery can be read at http://canadians.org/blog/?p=10149. Olivia Chow’s letter is at http://www.oliviachow.ca/2012/08/oshawa-ethanol-plant-olivias-open-letter/.