Public embraces mill’s fuel proposal

Cory Hurley
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Derek Johnson speaks with people at his table while Katie Temple writes questions to be asked at a public session on Corner Brook Pulp and Paper's proposal to burn old tires as fuel.

Corner Brook — Much has changed in the five years since Corner Brook Pulp and Paper last proposed to burn tires as an alternative fuel source.

At that time, there was immediate opposition to the tire-derived fuel proposal at the mill, and a public protest brought about 50 people to the doorstep of the mill offices. A petition was presented and protesters called for more information on health and environmental concerns before a decision was made.

That project was withdrawn from the table by the mill after discussions with the Multi-Materials Stewardship Board (MMSB), the Department of Environment and Conservation and the company reached an impasse.

Corner Brook Pulp and Paper officials led a public consultation at the Pepsi Centre in Corner Brook Tuesday evening. It attracted a smaller crowd than even the protest did years earlier, with slightly more than 30 participants. Following an overview of the process, they were then given some time to discuss amongst themselves their questions and concerns and present them.

The two-and-a-half hour session garnered plenty of discussion — mainly focusing on the measures the mill has or will put in place to ensure the protection of human and environmental well-being, the potential environmental impacts, the economic benefits to the mill, the long-term sustainability of such a venture and the level of accountability and public accessibility.

Robert Murphy, who is involved with the West Coast Asthma Group and the Lung Association of Newfoundland and Labrador, said he thinks the public perception is different this time because of the different approach the mill has taken.

“I think the mill has changed their tactic,” he said. “They haven’t come out the same way they did five years ago. Presentations like this are very helpful, and while I thought there would be a bigger crowd here, the community is embracing it.”

Murphy said the transparency Kruger employees are demonstrating and preaching thus far is key.

He said the moment that breaks down, so will people’s acceptance to listen and await the results of the trial, if it receives approval to proceed. He also said it is not acceptable for the community to oppose the project without any merit.

“In five years technology has changed,” he said. “Everyone is concerned about the environment. The lung association saying is, ‘if you can’t breathe, nothing else matters.’ That is very true.”

Mario Levesque was another individual with environmental concerns in mind. While he said he was attending the consultation as a private citizen, he is a member of the Environmental Policy Unit at Grenfell Campus, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

Levesque challenged Mike Lacey and Craig Snelgrove of Corner Brook Pulp and Paper and Terry Gray, an independent chemical engineer with more than 25 years experience in tire-derived fuel applications.

“I think the jury is out, and what needs to be done is to have more study first before moving to a trial,” he said.

“There are a number of questions that need to be answered, and the plan needs to be flushed out a little bit more.”

Levesque said he approached the proposal objectively and scientifically, from a non-partisan perspective.

“Let’s just take an extra month or two. If it takes six months, let’s find what those facts are before moving forward,” he said.

A second public consultation is scheduled for this evening at the Pepsi Centre at 7 p.m.


The Western Star

Organizations: Multi-Materials Stewardship Board, Pepsi Centre, Department of Environment and Conservation West Coast Asthma Group Lung Association of Newfoundland and Labrador Kruger Memorial University of Newfoundland.Levesque

Geographic location: Corner Brook, Western Star

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Recent comments

  • james
    November 15, 2010 - 08:49

    when other in the world ban tire burning , tailing pond,s burning tires what next

  • a breath of fresh air
    November 10, 2010 - 17:54

    There is nothing in this for NL. It's for Kruger and it's for money. Many places have tried burning tires and many are closing it down. The main employer in CB wants to cut costs. They might want to burn 40 tonnes now but once they get the go ahead tires will be coming in by the barge load. To approve this is opening the flood gates for many years of tire burning. Have people forgotten so quickly the pollution left behind by Abitibi.

  • Calvin
    November 10, 2010 - 12:02

    I think one thing people are a little misinformed about is the manner in which the tires will be burned. It is not going to be in an open yard with plumes of smoke covering the countryside every day. The tires will be burned in a controlled environment where any harmful fumes given off will be filtered and processed to death before they are ejected into the atmosphere. Sure, some harmful chemicals will be dispersed, but no more than the amount that enters the atmosphere every day from car exhausts during rush-hour in Cornerbrook. If it can keep the Mill open and keep the people employed, go for it.

  • jason bull
    November 10, 2010 - 10:42

    economics is the only thing driving this. the mmsb doesn't have the money they collected from all those tires, they spent it years ago on consultants to do 'studies'. someone should have that group open its books. the mill is pushing to save money. why wouldn't it? its a business afterall, and the people who own that business probably socialize with the same people who own this paper. neither live in corner brook, and obviously neither care about the people there if this article is reflective of their feelings. does anybody want their children brought up next to melting tires? who would want such a thing in their town? to save the mill a million dollars a year? why not just bury the tires? there are a million other ways to rid ourselves of them. surely we don't have to burn them to cover up mismanagement by the mmsb and to save joe kruger a few bucks. surely we are more inventive and self-preserving than that?

  • Mark
    November 10, 2010 - 09:00

    This is a well-written article. Hats off to the authour. I think the label of the article is a little questionable, though: "Public embraces mill’s fuel proposal." 30 participants is hardly a representative sample of "the public". I would not even say it is a representative sample of Corner Brook's population of approximately 20,000.

  • Ken Collis
    November 10, 2010 - 08:48

    If Kruger can burn tires, why do small communities have to ship their small amounts of trash to landfills. I guess it's a money issue. We pay for tire disposal and get nothing for the money. Can I burn my old summer tires next month and save the deposit?