The McInnis cement plant, which faces a threat of an order from the Ministry of the Environment to force it to stop releasing dust and contaminants into the atmosphere, requested and obtained an extension.
The St-Marys company, which operates the Port-Daniel-Gascon cement plant in Gaspésie, had until July 15 to submit its comments to Quebec to try to dissuade it from using an order that would force it to comply with the law.
The cement plant, which is the biggest polluter in Quebec, has been emitting sticky dust since the summer of 2020. The ministry has identified a dozen equipment failures that caused these dust releases. It also received 80 reports and 11 complaints, particularly from neighboring residents. He sent the factory 5 notices of non-compliance in addition to opening an investigation.
However, as the problem persists, Quebec issued a notice of order on June 30, 2022 and the cement plant had until July 15 to submit its arguments.
Until August 8
“On July 6, 2022, the company asked the MELCC for documents to fully understand the facts invoked in [the notice of order]. She also asked the Department to give her until August 8, 2022 to submit her observations. After analyzing the arguments submitted by the company, the Ministry agreed to this request”, confirms the ministry.
“It's crazy that the company is asking for documents as if they needed know what it is about, as if they did not know it themselves internally,” reacted the spokesperson for Environnement Vert Plus, Pascal Bergeron, who is following the file closely.
< p>Ciment St-Marys, however, declared in a press release ten days ago that it was working in “close collaboration” with the ministry and that it had identified various sources of dust and that the mitigation measures had to be improved so “ significant”. It has also earmarked $40 million for operational and environmental improvements, the statement said.
“The notice of order is very clear on the facts. What more do they need?, continues Mr. Bergeron. I don't understand why they make this request. Seems completely silly to me. Did the old management not pass the info on to the new management? There are several questions and this request is difficult to explain.”
Ciment St Marys, which belongs to the Brazilian giant Votorantim Cimento, specifies that it began to participate actively in the management of the plant after the conclusion of a transaction on April 30, 2021.
Mr. Bergeron says, however, that he understands that the department must take the time to analyze the file before issuing the order, given the consequences that this may entail. “We generally see that the time between the notice and the order sometimes varies from a month to a year, sometimes it can take a really long time, but we hope it will go quickly.”
If the ordinance is applied, the McInnis cement plant must, in particular, stop discharging contaminants beyond the standards, award a contract to an independent expert to assess the air purification equipment, submit a dust control plan and atmospheric contaminants in addition to providing an independent attestation confirming that the work for the control of contaminants is compliant.
At the time of publication, the company had not answered our questions. The ministry did not wish to grant an interview.
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