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  • Volume Eight, Number Five: July 2003

    Cross Border Assessments Could Clean Up Development

    High pollution developments, like the proposed Sumas Energy natural gas plant just across the border from Abbotsford, may soon face stronger scrutiny if a new agreement is reached between the Canadian and US governments.

    Federal Environment Minster David Anderson and US EPA Administrator Christie Whitman are working on an agreement to allow joint environmental assessments of energy projects that create trans-boundary air pollution.

    Referring to the proposed SE2 plant specifically, Anderson mentioned the agreement during a Washington, DC press conference where he and Whitman announced the creation of a Georgia Basin/Puget Sound international air shed strategy to protect air quality in BC and Washington State.

    ”Holding joint environmental assessments on projects like SE2 would be a huge step forward,” said SPEC Director Tracy Keeling. “During the SE2 review,
    Washington State regulators were not required to consider the negative impacts on BC’s Fraser Valley. And it took a real effort to convince Canada’s National Energy Board to examine more than just the nine-km power line linking SE2 to the BC grid.”

    NEB is completing hearings into the controversial SE2 project, which, if built, would emit three tons of toxic air pollutants into the Lower Fraser Valley every day.

    Anderson and Whitman say the Georgia Basin/Puget Sound Strategy will focus on reducing fine particulate matter and toxic emissions. It will also target emissions from marine vessels. Last year’s GVRD Air Inventory identified ships as the region’s largest source of sulphur dioxide pollution.

    ”Already suffering from pollutants like sulphur dioxide, nitrous oxides, lead, ammonia, mercury, arsenic and benzene, the Fraser Valley now experiences some of the poorest air quality in Canada,” said Keeling. “An agreement enabling joint environmental assessments will make it easier for residents of both the
    Fraser Valley and Whatcom County to stop any future SE2s.”


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