Profile: Bill Crumplin, Green Party, Nickel Belt
The following questions were circulated to all Sudbury and Nickel Belt Candidates seeking their responses to our key questions. The list below are answers we received. -No Ferrochrome Sudbury
There is a good possibility that a thorough environmental review of the proposed
Sudbury ferrochrome smelter site would find that there is too little research on serious
risks to be mitigated, especially in terms of chromium.
Would you consider advising the smelter project be shelved and revaluated after a thorough
environmental review is
Not only do I support this idea, but I feel the province must revisit its
environmental impact assessment (EIA) regulations to insure that they are based on the most up to date science regarding the risks of chromium. The province has the opportunity to become a world leader developing such regulations. I feel that any new EIA regulations must stipulate that any potential site be inventoried for existing contamination and that the assessment consider the cumulative nature of potential contamination. It is also critical that these new regulations demand that the developer monitor all emissions in real time and report them weekly, if not
The data we have reviewed comparing the Outukumpu smelter site in Finland showed that it bares little to no resemblance to the proposed Coniston site (the Finnish site is 10 km away from the nearest population, on an enormous, brackish body of water and away from fragile ecosystems and drinking water). Here in Sudbury, the effects begin within a 2 km radius of Coniston and would spread over the New Sudbury area, around Lake Ramsey and into Richard Lake and the Vermillion River watershed area, not to mention the close proximity of the proposed site to the New Sudbury water intake. We are concerned that such a large population of our municipality would be subjected to these significant risks associated with ferrochrome smelting. (We have compiled peer-reviewed information as well as maps supplied by the city to support our concerns and are happy to share with you for your assessment). What are your thoughts on these discrepancies, the potential risks associated with this particular site and how do you see your role as part of the provincial government in assisting with accurately assessing the public health risk? Also, should it be determined that there is a significant risk to public health, will you be willing to take a stance publicly against developing a ferrochrome smelter at this proposed site?
I attended the information session held by Mr. Tom Price and I feel he made it very clear that the Finnish site differed dramatically from the proposed site in Coniston! The physical geography of both sites are not at all the same. In additon, the Tornio site is not only down wind and down stream from the population, but all the raw materials needed to operate the smelter do not follow routes through the populated areas. I see the Coniston site presenting many more geographical and public health challenges than the one in Finland. I would be pleased to add my voice to a public stance against developing a ferrochrome smelter in Coniston should it be determing that there is a significant risk to public health.
The municipal government has submitted a proposal to Noront to encourage it to locate the ferrochrome smelter here. This has involved lowered costs in electricity and other concessions that amount to considerable subsidies.
Do you see a role for the province in ensuring that the costs are adequately assessed before going ahead with the project?
I, and my party, do not support government subsidies for any new development that will pollute. I am totally opposed to offering Noront subsidized electricity costs. The difference between regular electricity charges and a subsidy will have to be assumed by all other users and many local and regional users of electricity already find the costs of electricity to be high. I feel that projected electricity demand and any and all associated costs (new transmission systems, extra generating capacity etc.) for the proposed development must be borne by the proponent and not the community, region or province
Noront has been able to evaluate four sites and fairly autonomously decide which site would be chosen before evaluation of environmental and health risks of the project.
Given that the provincial legislation does not have policies that deal directly with around chromium and this type of facility nor experience in evaluating its effects, what do you think needs to be done to ensure a rigorous evaluation process?
I feel that independent, qualified scientists must be allowed to evaluate the
existing conditions of each of the proposed sites and through experimentation determine what the likely outcomes will be with different levels of chromium emissions on both the natural and human environments. The results of these studies must form the basis of any and all operation and mitigation regulations.
What would you do to ensure that the entire process of production of stainless steel from
mining to the making of the final product did not cause environmental damage? The federal government is currently evaluating an updated environmental review process which considers more broad-based, proactive evaluations that are regional and strategic. That means the whole production process from mining to smelting process would be reviewed. This would take time.
Would you be willing to seek a federal strategic review even though it might delay the setting up of the ferrochrome smelter?
Most definitely! I firmly believe in the precautionary principle and this means we must take time to undertake "good" and independent science before embarking on such a potentially risky development.
Chromium can easily become Chrome VI and we know that it can cause damage both to the
environment and animal and human health. The effects on humans may not show up as cancer until
many years have passed. We need more research. The process is lengthy and time-consuming as
there are many complex interactions that can occur to change Chromium III to VI and sometimes
reverse the process.
Could you see a role for the provincial environmental review process that would allow for the necessary research into setting up the most appropriate process before agreeing to go ahead with
Yes, I firmly believe that the provincial review process needs to be updated. I understand that what exists is largely based on 1980s science and much has been learned since, not the least of which is the necessity to include real and meaningful involvement of the stakeholders including local citizens and all people in the water shed and those within the fallout zone.
Can you address the value of the jobs that would possibly be gained through setting up the ferrochrome smelter and the danger of exposure to Chromium VI and in light of the overall job creation strategies for the municipality and for Northern Ontario?
How can we ensure that this interrelated mining process is sustainable and resistant to the effects of climate change?
I personally feel that the value of potential, long term jobs from any ferrochrome smelter pales in comparison to the risks associated with it. Coniston and the general Sudbury region has improved drastically since the day of sulphur dioxide clouds and the resulting “moonscape”. We do not need to go backwards! Any new mining or mining related development must meet new scientifically based requirements and take into account the effects of climate change (increased chances of wild fires and flooding) that could seriously impact things like tailings and the storage of the various raw materials required and finished products.
Having both the provincial and federal environmental legislation applied to evaluation of the ferrochrome smelter would provide the best protection. The mining company, Noront, has said that they would provide for an environmental evaluation but we cannot be sure that this would be adequately followed through.
Would you be willing to press for involvement of both the provincial and federal environmental review processes especially with the inadequacy of the company’s self-monitoring of the environmental review?
I would most definitely support a two pronged, federal and provincial, approach to the environmental evaluation. It is also necessary that the monitoring of any such smelter must be taken out of the hands of the proponent to ensure objective and real time observations.
What are you and your party prepared to do to ensure that indigenous communities in the north within the Ring of Fire and the communities now being considered for the ferrochrome smelter have a voice in the environmental evaluation?
The indigenous communities must be involved in this project from the very
beginning. To me, the fact that a minority of them have offered measured
support to the Ring of Fire indicates that the majority are not in favour. The absence of support is, to me, an indication that those communities do not support the project as it is proposed. Indigenous People need to met on their own terms in such matters. We cannot simply employ standard “capitalist” based means of engagement; to do so would be a modern version of colonialism. Indigenous groups must be allowed to participate fully and, I feel, be allowed veto power if their concerns can not be addressed to their satisfaction.