Saturday, September 29, 2018


The Ontario MOE have certainly mixed and matched their representatives at UPAC/CPAC over the years and the decades. The only really consistent, longterm rep was Steve Martindale who I couldn't help but like. I believe all of twice were harsh words exchanged between us and we sorted that out on both occasions to our mutual satisfaction. Others complained about Steve's alleged or apparent ultra laid back responses but I always figured that was just his personality etc. Steve was no better or no worse than all the other MOE personnel who showed up on occasion over the decades.

With Uniroyal/Crompton/Chemtura and now Lanexess we had company name changes far more than personnel changes. Jeff Merriman and Dwighte Este carried the corporate banner for decades with others dropping in and out such as Dr. David Ash, Ron ...? Dmitri Makres, Josef Oleajarz, Helder Botello etc. at the helm. Jeff is now retired. The company's consultants were Conestoga Rovers forever (CRA) who were recently taken over by GHD although some of the personnel remain from CRA such as SQuigley and Alan Deal. Luis Almeida currently is GHD's point man.

Now we come to Ramin Ansari, hydrogeologist for Lanxess and possibly for Chemtura although I'm not certain. CPAC members who have seen him at meetings are split on his sincerity, credibility, veracity etc. Some think he is the real deal others believe that yes he's very knowledgeable in his field and that he presents very well when speaking, however that does not necessarily mean that he is sincere, and truthful in all matters.

My first initial bias was that he's a mouthpiece for a corporation who likely are no different from Uniroyal, Crompton and Chemtura. In other words all talk about the environment and all receptors while their actions always appears to be in the interests of their shareholders versus their stakeholders here in Elmira. Their stakeholders are every living thing that breathes the air that they discharge into and who used to drink the groundwater and still drink or live in the surface water that their corporate predecessors dumped into and contaminated. That's one option.

Of course another option is that Ramin is the real deal from start to finish. He's highly knowledgeable along with morals and ethics that demand that his employer live up to their responsibility to clean up their mess both in the Elmira Aquifers, Canagagigue Creek and more.

A third option may be that Ramin will face the reality that whatever his personal scruples are, he's working for Lanxess Canada and they provide his paycheque. They could bluntly tell him to toe the line or they could do it more subtly. For example if Ramin is simply not provided with crucial past information, his employer could essentially fib to him by omission. Dwighte who is still there knows where all the skeletons and coverups are and he could potentially plead ignorance to Ramin on the DNAPL coverup and so much more.

Institutional memory is often lost when employees retire or leave for other reasons. It can also be intentionally "lost" as new employees enter the scene, such as now. It is very easy for new employees to correctly state that they are not so and so from the past and not responsible for errors, mistakes or intentional truth deflections from the past. I agree that they personally are not so responsible but that they do bear responsibility to not assume that everything they are told by their colleagues or supervisors are gospel. If they repeat dishonest environmental statements and facts after being advised by stakeholders otherwise, then they will assume the mantle and reputation of their predecessors.

A fourth and more likely option is that Ramin is somewhere stuck in the middle of the three proposed options. He could be the real deal however he is facing the reality of working for a typical corporation who, whatever their public declarations, have to look out for number one. He may technically be miles ahead of anyone else we've seen and he might based upon that technical superiority be willing and able to move this employer further along the road to environmental remediation than we have so far seen. As always time and actions will tell, not words.

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