Boreal Action is a grassroots environment and social justice group.

Louisiana Pacific


Groups Launch Appeal to Stop Pollution in Manitoba – Louisana Pacific Swan Valley/April 29, 2011

By Susanne McCrea/Executive Director

The Boreal Forest Network

The Louisana Pacific Swan Valley (LP) oriented strand board plant was just given a license, on March 24, 2011, to remove the pollution controls many of us fought for when they came to Manitoba, in 1994. They pleaded poverty and the Manitoba Government let them take the controls off to save money, a move that would never be allowed in the US.

This decision is in stark contrast with the great work Manitoba Conservation is doing to support the First Nations led bid for an UNESCO World Heritage Site, on the east side of Lake Winnipeg.

The Boreal Forest Network (BFN) and Concerned Citizens of the Valley have launched an appeal to call for controls to be required at the mill.

LP can now, legally, increase their actual emissions of hazardous air pollutants (HAPs), from the dryers and press, 100 fold. Total volatile organic compounds (VOCs) will increase from 25 tons per year (tpy) to 1,140 tpy. And that’s not all.

“This license allows astonishing high emissions of both NOx and VOCs from the same facility”, said U.S. EPA consultant and toxics expert, Dr. Charles Simon. “This is a recipe for tropospheric ozone and smog. It can not and will not be avoided. That is a serious degradation of air quality permitted by this license. VOC + NOx + particulate matter + sunlight = tropospheric ozone, smog, and citizen trips to the ER.”

Nox stands for nitrogen oxidesThey’re produced from the reaction of nitrogen and oxygen gases in the air during combustion, especially at high temperatures. Benzene is another toxic substance increased from 0.29tpy to 6.7tpy in this license. It’s not considered safe at any level of exposure.

The Boreal Forest Network and the Concerned Citizens of the Valley launched an appeal, based on numerous errors in fact, of Environment Act license, # 2954, on April 20, 2011, calling on Manitoba Conservation to insist that LP, either keep the Regenerative Thermal Oxidizers (RTOs), or implement RCOs, or the newer and less expensive biofilters.

We’ve been battling this issue, since it resurfaced two years ago, when the RTOs were, quietly, turned off on a temporary permit.

We thought we’d won a permanent victory when the RTOs were written into the original, 1994, license, by the Filman government. The NDP joined us in heralding this a victory when they fought for the pollution controls with us, while in opposition.

The Clean Environment Commission (CEC) conducted hearings, in ’94, that lasted for several weeks and included testimony from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). LP had just received the largest fine ever levied by the EPA and the agency had reached an agreement with LP to install RTO pollution controls at 11 of its 13 plants. RTOs are a highly effective incinerator that removes 90 percent, or more, of the most dangerous emissions.

We were forced to participate in the most recent CEC process, in July 2009, under protest when the Manitoba Conservation terms of reference to the process denied us a full public hearing process, with hearings, in Winnipeg and Swan Valley. We had to settle for a one way submission process in a meeting held only in Swan River, effectively limiting the participation from Winnipeg environment groups and concerned Manitobans.. We got no intervener funding and had to raise over $50,000 to provide experts reports, one from Dr. Simon, that didn’t make it into the CEC recommendations, released in September 2010, to do away with the controls.


Support the appeal of Environment Act License #2954 by contacting your MLA, Conservation Minister Bill Blaikie and Premier Greg Selinger and calling on them to insist that LP, either keep the regenerative Thermal Oxidizers (RTOs), or implement RCOs, or the newer and less expensive biofilters.

reprinted from Manitoba Eco-Journal


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