Horne smelter: a standard for all metals and daily thresholds for arsenic, proposes Charette

Horne Smelter: One standard for all metals and daily thresholds for arsenic , proposes Charette

MISE À DAY

Minister Benoit Charette is considering the possibility of imposing on the Horne smelter a standard for the emission of all metals and not just arsenic.

This is what the Minister of the Environment discussed during private meetings with local stakeholders, including the mayor of Rouyn-Noranda, the Abitibi regional public health office, the Chamber of Commerce and the Committee Stopping discharges and toxic emissions (ARET) of Rouyn-Noranda.

Mr. Charette also raised the possibility of establishing “intermediate targets” in the next government authorization which should be formalized by the end of the summer. Remember that the current certificate expires and that the company that operates the foundry, Glencore, must reach an agreement with the government by then.

“We would have the possibility of exercising our power of control and our power of sanction, for example after two years of the establishment of the new certificate, if we do not respect the conditions and the targets which would be specified”, said Benoit Charette in scrum, to explain how interim targets work.

The government could also set daily thresholds for arsenic emissions, which sometimes reach between 800 and 1000 nanograms per cubic meter for a given day, in addition to installing sensors to measure air quality.

Benoit Charette did not meet with Glencore representatives on Wednesday. “Personally, I haven't had contact with the foundry for several months, but the ministry is in contact with the foundry (…). The foundry knows very well that it cannot come back to us with a plan that is not more ambitious than the one that has been presented to us so far,” he said.

< strong>The “receptive” minister

“It was a good meeting, declared the mayor of Rouyn-Noranda, Diane Dallaire, in an interview with LCN, early Wednesday afternoon. We were able to convey loud and clear all the concern of the population. The minister was receptive.”

Ms. Dallaire was particularly pleased with the possibility of a standard being established for emissions from all metals, which she believes responds to a request from the municipality. “We clearly asked that the foundry's action plan must aim to comply with air quality standards for all metals.”

The Mayor of Rouyn-Noranda said that Benoit Charette confirmed to her that the next certificates will be “more restrictive”, but she pleads for new measures to be put in place as quickly as possible.

“The status quo is unacceptable, it is absolutely necessary that measures be taken.”

Loss of confidence

The measures proposed by the minister are a step in the right direction, believes Valérie Fournier of the committee ARET, who is sorry, however, that the targets have not been quantified by the minister and that no timetable has been established for the moment.

“We have experienced a great loss of confidence in the government's place in this file, so we will remain vigilant. We have not seen a firm commitment from the Minister on the targets to be achieved or on the deadlines for achieving them,” explained Valérie Fournier in an interview.