Recently, in Question Period, Leeds-Grenville MPP Steve Clark called on the Minister of Environment and Climate Change to get off the sidelines and confirm no landfill will open at the ED-19 site using environmental approvals granted two decades ago.
“The minister’s predecessor committed in writing that a ‘change in circumstances or new information that wasn’t presented at the time of approval’ would allow for reconsideration,” he said in his question. “The minister now has both, so will he commit to revoking those stale-dated approvals or to sending this matter to the Environmental Review Tribunal?”
Steve Clark expressed disappointment that Minister Chris Ballard refused to make that commitment, despite the compelling reasons that have been presented to him. These include:
changes to site conditions documented in three expert reports filed with the ministry by the Canadian Environmental Law Association; the Township of Edwardsburgh/Cardinal has declared itself an unwilling host; the minister has been contacted by the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne, who weren’t consulted during the environmental review 20 years ago, reminding him of the Constitutional duty to do so. And the approvals were granted on the basis of a municipally operated landfill for waste from Leeds and Grenville Counties, not a private facility that could accept garbage from across Ontario.
“Allowing a private operator to use 20-year-old environmental approvals to open a mega-dump is unprecedented and it would be against the wishes of the public and the elected council of Edwardsburgh/Cardinal,” Steve stressed. “The minister has the authority to scrap those historic approvals and order a new environmental assessment. It’s now time for him to tell me and my constituents if he will take that necessary action.”
His question comes as the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville is exploring the sale of the ED-19 site. The MPP has written to United Counties Council requesting any sale include a condition that no waste from outside Leeds-Grenville could be accepted.