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 –
Under the Provisions of the Environmental Management Act
Northern Engineered Wood Products (2007) Inc.
Smithers, British Columbia
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??
Perhaps the following image will lay out part of the answer.