Watch # 288
Great Lakes United
January 11-January 17, 2004
Ontario power plant proposal moving forward without
There is a proposal from US-based Synfuel Technologies
Inc. to obtain Ontario Ministry of Environment approval
for the installation of a petroleum coke gasification
power plant on the Mission River in Thunder Bay, Ontario.
The project is not being subjected to an Environmental
The $230 million mega-project has far-reaching environmental
implications. Petroleum coke fuel plants are reportedly
cleaner than coal, but the plant will utilize a "combustion
process" that has potential for serious airborne
contaminants and emissions. Other unanswered questions
regarding the plant include how much water will be drawn
to cool the plantís condensers and what local impacts
the return water will have on the Lake Superior coastal
ecosystem, and the areaís drinking-water supply.
Given the close proximity of a large urban population
(the plant would be located within urban city limits,
apparently less then a kilometre from residential homes
within Thunder Bay and Fort William First Nation), and
the 1990 promise that the Lake Superior basin was to be
a zero discharge demonstration zone, a complete Environmental
Assessment must be done. Please contact the Ministry of
the Environment to request one. Include the following
information for reference: EBR Registry Number: IA03E1538
and Ministry Reference Number: 4606-5SKL99.
Write to: Frank Wilson, NW Regional Director, Ministry
of the Environment, Thunder Bay Regional Office, Suite
331, 435 James St. S., 3rd Floor, Thunder Bay ON P7E 6S7,
fax: (807) 475-1754; and Brad Ross, Application Processor,
Environmental Assessment and Approvals Branch, 2 St. Clair
Avenue West, Floor 12A, Toronto, Ontario, M4V 1L5, fax
(416) 314-8452; and The Honourable Leona Dombrowsky, Minister
of the Environment, 12th Floor, 135 St. Clair Avenue West,
Toronto, Ontario, M4V 1P5, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more on the Lake Superior zero discharge demonstration
zone, read the International Joint Commission report from
the 10th biennial report at the Lake Superior Alliance
Destructive beach grooming legislation proposed
In July, federal Representative Bart Stupak (MI) and
co-sponsor Rep. Duncan (TN) introduced a bill (H.R. 2687)
which would force the Army Corps of Engineers to issue
general permits allowing beach maintenance and grooming
with less restrictions.
The bill is modeled after a Michigan law (14 PA 2003)
that relaxed Department of Environmental Quality permit
restrictions for certain shoreline maintenance activities.
The Michigan law exempts leveling of sand, mechanical
grooming, mowing vegetation, and path construction in
exposed bottomlands from needing a permit. The state legislation
was promoted by a group of Michigan shoreline property
owners after lake levels lowered and the exposed bottomlands
began to grow vegetation and develop into coastal wetlands.
By characterizing the issue as "beach maintenance
and grooming," the bill disguises the fact that it
would allow for the destruction of some of the most ecologically
valuable, and often intermittent, areas in the basin,
namely Great Lakes coastal wetlands. The proposed beach
grooming legislation contradicts efforts made by the Great
Lakes congressional delegations to promote a multi-billion
dollar restoration effort for the Great Lakes region.
Allowing for the destruction of coastal wetlands in the
Great Lakes, while proposing billions of dollars for restoration
at the same time, is illogical and counterproductive.
Please contact your congressional representative and
let them know what you think of this bill. Please CC Rep.
Stupak on any correspondence you have with your own representative
at: Representative Bart Stupak, 2352 Rayburn House Office
Building, Washington, DC 20515,fax: (202) 225 4744.
Great Lakes Unitedís Habitat and Biodiversity Task Force
produces Habitat Watch with support from the George Gund
Foundation and GLU coalition members. The task force is
committed to protecting natural areas, wildlife, and strong
conservation laws across the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence
River ecosystem. To join the coalition, subscribe, or
send stories, contact GLU at: (716) 886-0142; fax: (716)
886-0303; or email: email@example.com.
Past issues of Habitat Watch can be found at: http://www.sustain.org/Bulletins/index.cfm