Map of the Horne Foundry: “It's fixed with the views guy!”

Horne Foundry Map: “It’s fixed with the views guy! »

and Émilie Parent-Bouchard MISE À DAY

Citizens of Rouyn-Noranda coldly welcomed the Horne Smelter's five-year reduction plan to reach the target of 15 nanograms (ng) of arsenic per cubic meter (m3).  

“It does not take into account the health of the population, it is really too long, there are vulnerable people in the neighborhood who would be overexposed to arsenic over five years. It doesn't make sense,” thundered Nicole Desgagnés of the ARET committee, an organization that campaigns for a significant drop in toxic emissions from the plant. 

According to her, Public Health demanded that the Foundry, owned by the multinational Glencore, reaches this threshold much faster. 

“INSPQ [Institut national de santé publique du Québec] said it has to be done very quickly at 15 nanograms. It's the only way to protect people,” she said.

The company has no still no plan to reach the Quebec standard of 3 ng/m3, which was requested by several stakeholders in the field and citizens of the Notre-Dame district which borders the plant. 

“They are trying to tell us that when they get down to 15 nanograms, that will be enough because 85% of the city will be correct. I find that appalling. It means that we are ready to sacrifice part of the population who live in the Notre-Dame district,” said Ms. Desgagnés. 

She believes that the government is not acting to responsibly in the file and that the Foundry imposes its choices. 

“We have the impression that it is the company that dictates the figures to the government. It should be the government and Public Health that should have requirements,” she said.

On the airwaves of QUB radio, the solidarity deputy Émilise Lessard-Therrien, even said that she believed that the whole operation was “arranged with the views guy”. 

“The CAQ asked the Foundry the question. How far would you be able to go? And that's what we're going to announce and that's exactly what happened!” the member got carried away. 

A citizen located very close to the factory, in the Notre-Dame district, Marjolaine Bizier, said she was unimpressed by the announcement. < /p> Marjolaine Bizier

“There is a lack of will on the part of the factory and the government, but it is not us who have the big end of the stick,” she said.  

Ms. Bizier was operated on for lung cancer and is currently in remission. She doesn't believe the taxpayers should pay “a penny” for a multi-billion dollar company. 

“Do you think the citizens will help Glencore? We have no money to give them. It is up to them to compensate us for the pollution they have caused,” she said. 

Dr. Frédéric Bonin, emergency physician at the Rouyn-Noranda Hospital since 2000 , greeted the plan with a mixture of anger and sadness.

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“What you have to remember is that 15 ng/m3 is a compromise. There, what we are told is that it could take at least five years before reaching a compromise, he illustrates. A compromise upon a compromise does not make strong children. At some point, we have to take it seriously and get to the 3 ng/m3 threshold quickly,” he said. 

The doctor, who became more involved in the case in the wake of the publication of worrying health data this spring – life expectancy reduced by five years, increased risks of cancers and higher incidence of low-birth-weight babies. birth –, believes that it is unacceptable to continue to impose on the population to live in such an environment. 

“I told Minister Charette, I told Dr. Boileau. We, here, live with the consequences of the bad decisions made or [the absence of] decisions for 40 years. There, we are tired, we want to make good decisions for the future”, indignant the one who wishes to continue to get involved in the file.

On the contrary, the Quebec Mining Association welcomed Glencore for its efforts to achieve the targets set by the government. 

“The next step is the public consultation which will begin on September 6th. All citizens of Rouyn-Noranda and the region will have the opportunity to comment on the subject,” said Environment Minister Benoit Charette.