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UPDATE: Council of Canadians opposes ethanol refinery on Lake Ontario

FarmTech Energy Corporation is seeking to build an enthanol refinery on the Lake Ontario waterfront of the southern-Ontario city of Oshawa, located about 60 kilometres east of downtown Toronto. Opposition to this plant has been expressed to the federal Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada ministry by the City of Oshawa, 3,300 Durham Region residents, the Council of Canadians, the David Suzuki Foundation, author Margaret Atwood, artist Robert Bateman, the Canadian Environmental Law Association, Lake Ontario Waterkeeper, and Friends of Second Marsh.

The City of Oshawa has stated, “The (City’s) submission emphasizes that the (federal Environmental Assessment) Screening Report does not comply with the legal requirements of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA), fails to address serious land-use compatibility issues, and does not provide the data and analysis necessary to evaluate the environmental effects of the ethanol refinery.” The City asserts that, “CEAA assessment requirements were not met regarding environmental effects (from) surface water contamination (and) groundwater contamination…” They also note that the proposed enthanol plant “would result in approximately 168,000,000 kilograms of carbon dioxide (a greenhouse gas) emitted annually as a byproduct of the fermentation process.”

In a letter dated July 26, Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow writes, “Great Lakes Basin Commons would reject the view that the primary function of the Great Lakes is to promote the interests of industry and the powerful and give them preferential access to the Lakes’ bounties. …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.”

To read Barlow’s letter, please go to http://www.oshawa.ca/media/file/ethanol-CouncilofCanadians.pdf.

According to a 680 News report on August 15, “Agriculture Canada is now reviewing submissions from those for and against the proposal but it could be several months before a decision is made.”