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LETTER: Lewisporte waste-to-energy plant raises grave concerns, many questions

Synergy World Power outlines facilities for the first phase of the proposed fuel plant and sorting facility.
Synergy World Power has outlined facilities for the first phase of the proposed fuel plant and sorting facility near Lewisporte. - Contributed

We at the Mercy Centre for Ecology and Justice wish to register our grave concern regarding the waste-to-energy plant which Synergy World Power is proposing to build in Lewisporte.

While the creation of good jobs is of utmost importance to the people of our province, at the same time we must be vigilant in ensuring that the health and well-being of our planet, its people and its other creatures are not endangered.

While the proposal to use clean energy as a way to convert plastic waste into electricity sounds enticing, we have many questions surrounding this proposed project.

One of our main questions is whether or not there is sound proof that the emissions from the use of this technology are clean and without repellent odours that could interfere in any way with the health and well-being of the people in the community or the environment?  

How much water and energy would be required to operate the plant?  

What might be the long-term environmental risks to soil, water, air?  

We would also like Synergy World Power and its other company EnviroPower, to present evidence from other countries where this technology has been in use with regard to its liability and efficiency.

For the financial security of the community of Lewisporte and of the province it would be necessary to know if there were budget over-runs in construction or in operating or maintenance costs.

We would like to hear from the citizens of the communities in which this company has been operating to obtain their endorsement of the project as a reliable development that has served the community well and with proper attention to the health and well-being of the people and the environment. 

Would these people strongly recommend the implementation of this technology for a plant in Lewisporte?

To transport plastic garbage from Europe and other countries to Lewisporte would result in a large carbon footprint. As well there is a question as to what other toxic material or invasive species might be contained in this kind of garbage. Were the plant to fail what would become of the garbage already transferred to the province?

We are also apprehensive about setting a precedent in the proposal to import plastic garbage from outside the country or from outside the province.  

Once we open our province to international deals such as this, we could find it difficult if not impossible to terminate them.  We urgently request that a thorough and independent assessment be conducted before any approval for this project is considered.   

Rita Janes,
Board chair, Mercy Centre for Ecology and Justice,
St. John’s


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