January 26, 2004

Newfoundland funds waste management projects, signs CWS for dioxins, furans

Several communities and two waste management committees in Newfoundland and Labrador have been awarded grants from the province's Waste Management Trust Fund. The towns of Lushes Bight, Beaumont, and Beaumont North will receive $2,000 from the trust fund to permanently close the dump site located on Long Island. The towns of Happy Valley-Goose Bay and Wabana have been awarded approximately $3,000 and $10,000 respectively to conduct various cleanup activities in their communities. Funding has also been approved for waste reduction co-ordinators for Green Bay Waste Management Authority and Norpen Waste Management. Each committee will receive $35,000 to support the second-year activities of the co-ordinator.

"The projects funded to date contribute to the environmental cleanliness of the province, however, I would like to see more emphasis placed on initiatives that support progressive waste management in the province," said Environment Minister Tom Osborne.

At the same time, Osborne announced plans for the future direction of the trust fund, which is administered by the Multi-Materials Stewardship Board (MMSB). The MMSB, a Crown agency established by the Environment Department, has overall responsibility for developing, implementing, and managing waste diversion programs in Newfoundland and Labrador.

The Minister said he is directing the MMSB to revise the trust fund's guidelines to focus on projects which support waste management throughout the province. Specific funding priorities will include regional waste management initiatives, disposal site closures, recycling, education and awareness activities, and other waste management projects.

"This is an opportune time to refine the focus of the trust fund," said departing MMSB chair Gordon Seabright, adding that "the trust fund plays an important role in implementing waste management initiatives and moving toward modern waste management in Newfoundland and Labrador."

The Board's new chair is John Scott, appointed last week by Premier Danny Williams. Scott, who was previously deputy minister of Industry, Trade and Rural Development, will be responsible for guiding the MMSB in its new strategic direction.

Earlier this month as well, Osborne signed the new Canada-Wide Standard (CWS) for dioxins and furans from conical waste incinerators, making Newfoundland and Labrador the first province in Canada to officially sign the new national standard.

Other jurisdictions agreed to this standard at the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME) meeting in Victoria, BC last November (ELW December 1, 2003).

While they are expected to sign the CWS within the coming weeks, Newfoundland and Labrador is the first province to formally commit to the new national environmental standard which calls for the phase-out of teepee incinerators by 2008 and prohibits future construction of such facilities. There are approximately 45 teepee incinerators in the province; together they account for 27% of all dioxins and furans emitted to the atmosphere.

More information is available from Karen O'Neill at the MMSB, 709/753-0949, or from Tina Coffey at the Environment Department, 709/729-5783.

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