One of the sectors he examines is contaminated sites.
"The federal government is responsible for managing
thousands of contaminated sites across Canada
(Chapter 3, Federal Contaminated Sites and Their Impacts).
The associated risks to human health and the environment are as
varied as the contaminated sites themselves; these range from
extremely large abandoned mines and nuclear waste dumps to hundreds
of smaller sites, such as buried fuel tanks. The budget for
managing the sites is approximately $4 billion, and the
funding is scheduled to end in 2020.
... the government has made progress in managing
the Federal Contaminated Sites Inventory. About a third of the
22,000 sites have been closed; that is, they require no
further action. Addressing the rest is likely to be a much tougher
task, for several reasons. First, the remaining budget for
assessing the environmental and human health risks of sites has
shrunk by more than 60 percent, and so the capacity to
identify new risks has dwindled. Second, the government has
identified the sites where environmental and human health risks are
greatest and has channelled the bulk of financial resources to the
largest four, including Giant Mine in the Northwest Territories and
low-level radioactive waste sites in Port Hope, Ontario. With
available funding consumed by a few priority sites, it is not clear
how the more than 10,000 other sites will be managed. Third,
the total estimated financial liability for federal
contaminated sites is about $500 million higher than the
amount of dedicated funding that remains. Finally, there
is no lead agency accountable for managing this environmental
liability across the federal government.
Some of the thousands of contaminated sites are a testament to
poor planning, the failure of initial assessments to anticipate and
avoid future environmental and human health problems, and a lack of
ongoing mitigation to lower the environmental risks during
operations. Many of the sites are buried and out of sight, but they
will impose environmental and financial burdens on coming
Meanwhile, according to the CBC, the federal government
identified 142 contaminated sites as of last September where
pollutants need to be contained or eliminated because of a
long-term or immediate threat to human health or the
environment. The 142 sites, shown on the CBC's map, are
only those that have reached step eight in a long process that
federal departments and agencies must follow to assess and develop
plans to clean up or contain damage posed by contaminants.
Step eight is what's called "remediation/risk
management strategy," which includes identifying the
contaminants and whether they are present in soil or groundwater,
and developing a plan to remove or treat the contaminants, as well
as a detailed contingency plan in case the contaminants are
released into the environment. Thousands of other sites are still
working their way through the process.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.
Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.
Ontario's Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change continues to roll out its Climate Change Action Plan with its proposed GHG guide for projects that are subject to the province's Environmental Assessment Act.
The Imperial Oil refinery pled guilty to one offence for discharging a contaminant, coker stabilizer, thermocracked gas, into the natural environment causing an adverse effect and was fined $650,000...
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).