Saturday, May 2, 2020


First of all I have zero regrets for stepping up and taking action. I have zero regrets for calling out individuals, companies, government agencies, and governments themselves (municipal, regional and provincial) for their inaction, deceit, incompetence, dishonesty and or willful negligence of the public interest. I was as brainwashed as all the rest for far too long as I wanted to believe that our governments inherent purpose is to protect their citizens as well as to promote their legitimate interests. If only.

If nothing else I have realized that governments can and do move amazingly quickly when they are inspired to do so. The current Covid 19 crisis is a textbook case on how fast and quickly governments can respond to a crisis if they feel it is in their best interests to do so. Yes there were several governments who fell short on the timely and quick scale. Clearly England (Boris Johnson) and the United States (Donald Trump) are the best examples of that. China may have stalled and delayed initially but once well and truly motivated they have stopped the pandemic in their country. A little late for the rest of us undoubtedly but we did have the luxury of several weeks to see its' seriousness before it got to us, mostly by personal travel of our own citizens.

So let's be bluntly honest here. Thirty plus years later and the Uniroyal Chemical site is not cleaned up. That is undisputed and in fact almost a perverse/reverse point of pride. The claim that the site is too polluted to bother cleaning it up is nonsensical, self-serving "poo poo del toro" as Dr. Henry Regier has been known to say. "Containing" the site versus cleaning it up is the mantra of world class polluters and their sycophantic regulators. The problem of course is that practitioners of world class puffery (i.e. p.. p.. del toro) will always advise us that a grossly contaminated site is 100% "contained" even if it's barely 40% contained. Some of those practitioners are so used to their own bull ... that they've come to believe their own misrepresentations, exaggerations and supreme gilding of the lily. Their attitude is "here's the plan/theory, here's at least some of the resources needed to implement the plan/theory and the starting date is now hence it's a done deal and forever more we will claim victory. Critics or skeptics are mere naysayers.

The Uniroyal site is not and likely never will be, or at least not within the next two hundred years, seriously cleaned up much less 100% cleaned up is because that is exactly what our provincial and federal governments want. They do not want the monied and influential interests in this country to feel penalized because they were forced to clean up polluted sites that the governments of the day tacitly if not explicitly condoned. Some countries do force private companies to fully or mostly clean up their messes. I expect that European countries in general require more cleanup than we do. Superfund designated sites and their owners in the United States appear to be on the hook much more than contaminated sites and their owners are in Canada. They do however allow client driven consultants to intervene on belalf of their polluter clients albeit those same consultants do not fully drive the remediation plans as they do here.

The IMICO site in Guelph is another terrible example. Varnicolor Chemical in Elmira has had much greater overall (surface) cleanup than Uniroyal. Still thirty years later and the Ontario MOE/MECP have not given the new (approx 2002) owners their long sought after Record of Site Condition (RSC) so that they can divide their property and build ground surface only commercial storage units. This is due to the deep contamination that was willfully and deceitfully ignored by the same MOE/MECP. Their initial Control Order insisted upon a full areal and vertical investigation. In order to give Phillip Environmental an inducement to buy the site the MOE dropped the deep investigation and willingly allowed those contaminants to be reduced over decades by dilution, natural attenuation (Ha!) and the overlap pumping and treating of the Elmira Aquifers by Uniroyal Chemical and their successors. I publicly exposed Varnicolor Chemical thirty years ago. They still apparently haven't been cleaned up enough to permit commercial surface storage units. That's pretty scary. And done intentionally.

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