How did this happen?

For many years (33 from the permit data) Northern Engineered Wood Products (NEWPRO) operated from a site just upwind from the main population centre of Smithers, BC. The air contaminants were routinely trapped by inversions to raise concentrations of  various nasty gases and particles in an already polluted town. See page 8 of the BC Lung State of the Air report for Smithers’ provincial ranking during NEWPRO’s last year of panelboard production. The Province authorized emissions under their permit 6099.

NEWPRO was required to report annually to Environment Canada’s National Pollutant Release Inventory, the NPRI. The annual NPRI figures are required and are required to be accurate – but are they? This report seems to cast doubt on this – see page 34.

Air emissions permits issued by the Province typically start off in this way  –

PERMIT
6099
Under the Provisions of the Environmental Management Act
Northern Engineered Wood Products (2007) Inc.
Box 2890
Smithers, British Columbia
V0J 2N0

is authorized to discharge air contaminants to the air …

and an air contaminant is …

“… a substance that is introduced into the air and that

(a) injures or is capable of injuring the health or safety of a person,

(b) injures or is capable of injuring property or any life form,

(c) interferes with or is capable of interfering with visibility,

(d) interferes with or is capable of interfering with the normal conduct of business,

(e) causes or is capable of causing material physical discomfort to a person, or

(f) damages or is capable of damaging the environment”

So is particulate matter capable of causing harm?  In Canada this is conclusively established by Schedule 1 to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, the list of legally toxic substances, where we find, in the list number

51. Respirable particulate matter less than or equal to 10 microns

So there isn’t any doubt about it – an air emissions permit authorizes harm to people who breath the pollution. How can this come about??

Regulatory capture is sometimes said to be at work in this context. The BC Auditor General seems to agree – here

Perhaps the following image will lay out part of the answer.

justbuddies

just buddies…

2 thoughts on “How did this happen?”

  1. As a Ministry of Environment employee in Smithers, I was responsible for Newpro’s panelboard plant compliance with their Air Permit. In my opinion they were the worst of more than 200 Waste Management permits that I managed. The Greens Dryer (the worst culprit) was always cranked up after dark and on weekends when I wasn’t able to deal with it (The Government wouldn’t pay us overtime). They were allowed lead time for stack tests so everything was running perfectly when the test occured. They Refused to install effective pollution control equipment, claiming poverty. They may be telling a different story now but in my experience from dealing with this company – they’re just trying to pull th ewool over our eyes.

  2. As a Ministry of Environment employee in Smithers, I was responsible for Newpro’s panelboard plant compliance with their Air Permit. In my opinion they were the worst of more than 200 Waste Management permits that I managed. The Greens Dryer (the 0when I wasn’t able to deal with it (The Government wouldn’t pay us overtime). They were allowed lead time for stack tests so everything was running perfectly when the test occurred. They Refused to install effective pollution control equipment, claiming poverty. They may be telling a different story now but in my experience from dealing with this company – they’re just trying to pull the wool over our eyes.

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