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NEWS RELEASE · 4th May 2015
Northwest Institute
April 30, 2015


VICTORIA – 3rd Floor 747 Fort Street, Victoria BC V8W 9V1

The fifth day of hearings continued with Patrick Williston, an Environmental Impact Assessment Biologist with the Ministry of Environment (MOE) who appellants had subpoenaed as a witness. Mr. Williston was one of three MOE employees who reviewed Rio Tinto Alcan’s (RTA’s) reports and advised MOE’s Environmental Manager.

Documents previously disclosed to all parties by the Ministry of Environment included a notebook Mr. Williston used while attending public consultation meetings in Terrace and Kitimat. During these consultation meetings, RTA representatives informed the public that installing scrubbers would require the scrubbed bi-product to be disposed of in the ocean causing potentially harmful environmental effects. Mr. Williston noted that there was no scientific basis for this assertion.

The disclosed documents also included memos in which Mr. Williston raised questions about RTA’s reports, including inappropriate thresholds used to balance acid deposition with the neutralizing capacity of the soil. These questions were raised in early 2012, enough time for RTA to include them in their STAR report. Mr. Williston’s evidence shows that RTA decided against further analysis and opted for an Environmental Effects Monitoring Plan (EEMP). The EEMP allows for an increase in SO2 with the requirement that human and environmental health be monitored for harmful effects.

Further, Mr. Williston was questioned on field work he conducted in the Kitimat Valley in October 2013. He found that in the flume path of RTA’s existing smelter, 15-20% of the pine trees were dying off and cedar trees that were planted in the 1970’s were malformed. These effects were not as strong outside of the flume path. These dying and malformed trees were not included in RTA’s reports.

Hearings will resume on Monday, May 11.

May 1, 2015 Witnesses:

Patrick Williston, Environmental Impact Assessment Biologist, Ministry of Environment
Comment by Oil is Good on 4th May 2015
I am surprised nobody is commenting on this topic.
My concern first for the health of our community. People with asthma or other respiratory problems should be concerned as well.
Alcan SCORCHED a lot of trees years ago with their emmissions so I can't believe they want to go there again.
I am also concerned that they are getting the right to emit so much SO2 that other industrial projects will be greatly affected even possibly cancelled.