Groups warn that province could approve proposal without giving residents opportunity to understand health and environmental impacts of massive expansion plan 

Toronto | Traditional territories of the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishinaabeg, the Haudenosaunee, and the Wendat – Environmental groups are raising the alarm about plans for a massive expansion of a private waste incinerator located in the Bramalea area of Brampton, west of Toronto. The facility’s owner, Emerald Energy From Waste, has quietly announced it will more than quadruple its capacity to burn garbage from households and businesses.

Under Ontario rules, there is no longer a requirement for projects like this to undergo a full Environmental Assessment. Instead, Emerald Energy From Waste conducts its own assessment and consultations, submits its documentation, and can assume it has the green-light. This “streamlined” approval process lacks crucial oversight and project scrutiny and poses huge risks to the environment and human health.

“Waste incinerators spew out toxic air pollution,” said Ashley Wallis, Associate Director at Environmental Defence. “Even today, the existing Emerald incinerator is one of the biggest industrial sources of nitrogen dioxide emissions in Brampton—a community already overburdened with air pollution from industrial and transportation emissions. Trucking in over four times more garbage to burn will certainly not make things better.”

“Incinerators are the most expensive and toxic way to deal with waste,” said Emily Alfred, Senior Waste Campaigner at the Toronto Environmental Alliance. “They are dirty and greedy—constantly needing a source of waste for years on end to cover their massive cost. This works against efforts to reduce waste. There are better waste solutions that cost less, create jobs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. More than half of the typical bag of garbage in Ontario is recyclable or compostable material. Burning this material is terrible for the environment and for the health of local residents.”

The groups are calling for a full Individual Environmental Assessment of Emerald’s proposal, which would give the public the opportunity to review the plans and ask for additional information on the proposed operations and the impacts on the community.

“People in Brampton have the right to know about a harmful, polluting expansion project happening in their own backyards.” Wallis added. “It used to be automatic for a proposal like this to have a full environmental assessment. There is no ethical reason not to do one this time.”

Read our backgrounder for more information.

ABOUT ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE (environmentaldefence.ca): Environmental Defence is a leading Canadian environmental advocacy organization that works with government, industry and individuals to defend clean water, a safe climate and healthy communities.

ABOUT TORONTO ENVIRONMENTAL ALLIANCE (torontoenvironment.org): For 35 years, the Toronto Environmental Alliance has campaigned locally to find solutions to Toronto’s environmental problems. As a not-for-profit organization, we work with communities to advocate for a green, healthy and equitable city.

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For more information or to request an interview, please contact:

Lauren Thomas, Environmental Defence, media@environmentaldefence.ca

Jessica Gordon, Toronto Environmental Alliance, jessica@torontoenvironment.org