- CURTAIN FALLS ON 12 MONTHS OF DRAMA (sewage mention)
- COUNCIL LEADERS REVEAL THEIR TO-DO LISTS (sewage NOT on list but implied in Victoria)
- TOP 100 PROJECTS IN CANADA INCLUDES CRD SEWAGE PROJECT
- GUERNSEY UPDATE: "AUTHOR BACKS REPORT AS SURFERS AGAINST SEWAGE ATTACK IT"
- PUGET SOUND: "THE STRUGGLE TO PURGE TOXINS"
- ARESST MEMBERSHIP: MAKE AN INVESTMENT WITH GREAT RETURNS
CURTAIN FALLS ON 12 MONTHS OF DRAMA (sewage mention)
Two new leaders and a citizen-led tax revolt capped an extraordinary year in B.C. politics. Times Colonist legislature reporter Rob Shaw looks at notable controversies of 2011 and where they are headed in 2012
DECEMBER 31, 2011
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VICTORIA PROJECTS GO . . . NOWHERE
Three major Victoria and Vancouver Island projects are still in limbo despite high profiles in 2011.
The Victoria International Airport runway expansion, which picked up steam during the premier's jobs plan when she was accused of ignoring the Island, was repeatedly shot down by Transportation Minister Blair Lekstrom and Clark in September and October.
The premier coughed up $7.5 million for the Island's E&N rail track June 28, but the money is contingent on matching federal dollars that have yet to appear.
The always-contentious capital region sewage treatment project remains in limbo, because neither the federal nor provincial governments have put any funding into the $782-million bill. B.C.'s minister responsible, Chong, said in October the province won't even promise an amount in writing until the feds put money on the table.
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ARESST: Sewage treatment plant concerns are completely absent in news story below and apparently absent from the minds of CRD municipal leaders, but Victoria's Mayor Fortin wants to implement their economic development strategy, which sees lack of sewage plant as an environmental problem:
Address the sewage treatment problem, which is a major environmental and image concern.Efforts to position Victoria as a green city will be undermined by failure to solve this problem. (page 40)
COUNCIL LEADERS REVEAL THEIR TO-DO LISTS (sewage NOT on list but implied in Victoria)
December 28, 2011
The region's 13 municipalities came through the November elections with some new and some familiar faces. Times Colonist municipal reporters Bill Cleverley, Derek Spalding and Kim Westad asked the mayors what their priorities are for 2012.
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VICTORIA: ECONOMIC GROWTH
Implementing Victoria's new economic development strategy will be the key challenge heading into the new year, says Mayor Dean Fortin.
"It does not mean that you accept every development that comes forward, because we know that the rich architecture that Victoria enjoys is what brings people here whether to live, visit or whatever," Fortin said.
"Bad developments will have a longterm effect on our tourism and ability to attract good quality companies," Fortin said.
Fortin said it's key that the city expand its revenue sources. "You want a better pool? We need to have density. If you want all these things, we need to have growth. Making that happen is the challenge."
The economic strategy, 18 months in the making, was a collaborative effort between the city, industry and major stakeholders around the region aimed at expanding the city's tax base and strengthening its economy. The plan focuses on 11 key initiatives, including maintaining and enhancing the city's role as the headquarters of the provincial government, strengthening the tourism, high-tech and marine industries and ensuring that the city is competitive in business and urban development.
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READ COMPLETE NEWS STORY: http://www2.canada.com/
victoriatimescolonist/news/ story.html?id=7f182502-4964- 4049-acb4-363e444c273d
TOP 100 PROJECTS IN CANADA INCLUDES CRD SEWAGE PROJECT
Every year, ReNew Canada (http://renewcanada.net/) does hundreds of hours of research and preparation to bring you the Top 100 Projects supplement and website. The Top 100 ranks Canada's biggest infrastructure projects by dollar value.
This year's list represents over $96 billion in infrastructure investments in Canada. You can browse our list by dollar value, by sector and by our interactive map, powered by ESRI.
Click here for CRD Waste Water Project: http://top100projects.ca/2010/
capital-regional-district- sewage-treatment-plant- program/
Click here for a full-browser version of the map: http://top100projects.ca/map/
Click here for list of the top water/waste water projects:
GUERNSEY UPDATE: "AUTHOR BACKS REPORT AS SURFERS AGAINST SEWAGE ATTACK IT"
This Is Guernsey
28th December 2011
A clean-seas campaign group has rubbished a report that supports Guernsey’s current method of sewage disposal.
But the author of the report, Intertek Metoc, backed its research, claiming accusations made by Surfers Against Sewage were inaccurate.
The environmental management consultancy conducted research into the Belle Greve outfall.
It suggested that the installation of diffuser ports, at a cost of £6m. to £8m., would enable the waters around Guernsey to meet UK standards.
But Surfers Against Sewage campaign director Andy Cummins argued that there were fundamental errors early on in the report.
PUGET SOUND: "THE STRUGGLE TO PURGE TOXINS"
Despite new regulations, eliminating everyday risks a tall order, officials say
DECEMBER 29, 2011
In Commencement Bay, a slice of Puget Sound just outside Tacoma, Wash., environmental officials haven't found it easy to purge the toxic remnants of more than a century of chemical-belching industry.
Washington state and Tacoma have spent almost $100 million trying to clean up pollutants discharged by lumberyards and processing plants that once thrived along the waterfront.
The efforts have made progress. Recent studies have shown improved fish life along with a decrease in levels of such toxic metals as mercury, arsenic and lead.
But that research has also shown an increase in levels of another group of other troublesome chemicals common in consumer product packaging and even children's toys: plasticizers called phthalates that enter the bay through storm-water run-off. The chemicals are considered endocrine disrupters, meaning that they may cause birth defects or developmental problems in animals and people, including in rare cases the feminization of males.
With hopes of decreasing such potential dangers, Washington state has passed some of the most comprehensive chemical regulations in the country, including rules that classify 66 chemicals as "of high risk to children." Companies are required to disclose whether the chemicals are in their products.
But identifying and eliminating such toxic substances from everyday products is a tall, if not impossible order for a resource-strapped state.
"When [toxic] chemicals come from a pipe or a smoke-stack, we have the tools and the know-how to do our job," Ted Sturdevant, director of Washington's Department of Ecology, said last month at a legislative hearing before Congress. "But when they come from ubiquitous products like the plastic casing of a television, or the foam in our furniture, we haven't had the tools or the know-how to do our job."
States across the country are trying to bear the burden left by what many people - from environmental health advocates to chemical manufacturers - have described as a gaping hole in federal laws. The uneven nature of state regulation leaves virtually no one satisfied.
Advocates of change now hope the increased awareness in state legislatures will translate into a sense of urgency in Congress, as it considers the latest attempt to overhaul the 35-year-old and never-updated Toxic Chemicals Safety Act.
Much has changed in chemical manufacturing since 1976, when Congress passed that act, and science continues to add volumes of new information about chemical hazards every year. Charlotte Brody, of the BlueGreen Alliance, a coalition of labour unions and environmental groups, cites the much-evolved understanding of Agent Orange, the code name for the herbicide the U.S. dumped on enemy forests during the Vietnam War.
"Those who had been exposed to Agent Orange were informed that the skin rash, chloracne, was the only problem they would have from their exposure," Brody testified at the November hearing. "That's what the science told us then. Now Vietnam veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange can be compensated for one kind of leukemia, two kinds of lymphoma and four other kinds of cancer as well as diabetes, a type of heart disease and Parkinson's Disease."
The US Environmental Protection Agency banned the use of Agent Orange in 1979 after a number of mothers in Oregon, where the chemical was also heavily used, had stillbirths. But for hazardous chemicals with less dramatic and immediate effects, EPA has lacked the tools to take action.
Inside the bodies of Americans are more than 212 industrial chemicals, including at least six known carcinogens, according to testing by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But few of those have been regulated at any level. Out of some 80,000 chemicals inventoried under the 1976 federal law, EPA has fully reviewed only 200, reports the Government Accountability Office, which has called the act a "high risk area of the law." An EPA spokesperson told Stateline that "the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act has fallen behind the industry it's supposed to regulate."
Unlike in European Union countries, U.S. manufacturers are not required to demonstrate that their chemicals are safe. The federal government still bears most of the burden of proof in studying whether the substances are harmful. That has led states to try to address the problem.
In the past decade, at least 18 states have adopted more than 71 chemical policies - largely with bipartisan support. The policies range from compiling comprehensive lists of hazardous chemicals, as in Washington, California, Maine and Minnesota, to more piecemeal prohibition of chemicals used in manufacturing. In October, for instance, California became one of 11 states to ban the use of bisphenol A - a chemical commonly known as BPA that is thought to inhibit children's development - from use in infant feeding containers (it is also banned in Canada). New York recently became the first state to prohibit manufacturers from using a toxic flame retardant called "chlorinated Tris" in children's goods.
BURDENSOME TO ENACT
But state environmental officials say such regulations are burdensome to enact, because, like EPA, state agencies have trouble compiling necessary information on each chemical. In Washington state, Sturdevant says "it's a lot of work for a lot of folks" to research chemical hazards - a process that can take years for just one chemical.
Advocates of change hope that increased awareness will translate into congressional action. In April, Sen. Frank Lautenberg, a New Jersey Democrat who has long pushed for an update to the TCSA, introduced his latest attempt, the Safe Chemicals Act of 2011. The bill would mandate companies to submit comprehensive testing data on every chemical they use, and it would require EPA to prioritize chemicals of greatest risk, organizing information in a public database.
The bill has drawn the broad support of environmental health groups and state officials, and Lautenberg is hoping to recruit bipartisan support after having held a series of meetings on it with Senator James Inhofe, a Republican from Oklahoma.
But the Safe Chemicals Act has garnered criticism from chemical industry representatives, who say it would be too burdensome to manufacturers.
Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland responded that "too many people are affected by this. We've got to get this moving."
ARESST MEMBERSHIP: MAKE AN INVESTMENT WITH GREAT RETURNS - A HEALTHY GEORGIA STRAIT, A HEALTHY VICTORIA AND A HEALTHY ECONOMY
As the year comes to a close, please consider making a donation to ARESST, an organization with a strong history of grassroots activism in communities, and the credibility and reputation among governments and industry as an organization working to find solutions.
With our combined efforts we can turn the current tide and help our leaders see the importance of our shared vision – that of a region with clean air and water, healthy salmon runs, rich wildlife and healthy communities – and give them the tools and community support they need to bring that vision to life.These are challenging times for the Strait of Georgia and for our economy, as the risks from pollution, disease and habitat loss continue to put a strain on this rich inland sea - and the prospect of steeply rising taxes. This is why investing in ARESST is so important. ARESST is the only organization that will ensure that your concerns for the health of this region and our economy are heard, and that solutions are created for the challenges we face.
A donation to ARESST today is an investment in a sustainable environment – and to ensuring your voice is not ignored on the issues we care so much about.Thank you for supporting ARESST as we continue our work to protect and restore the marine environment and promote the sustainability of Georgia Strait, its adjoining waters, and communities.
ARESST members: If you haven't send your membership dues to Bob, please now send him a cheque for $20 (and more if you can afford a donation) made out to ARESST and mailed to:
Bob Furber, ARESST Treasurer,
2751 Arbutus Road
Victoria, BC, V8N 5X7
2751 Arbutus Road
Victoria, BC, V8N 5X7
Help support ARESST on our important mission!