October 11, 2017 9:34 pm

Hamilton councillor says we need an environment ministry that will enforce the law

Ward 4 Councillor Sam Merulla says it's time for the province to get serious about air emissions, after an incident this past weekend.

Environment Hamilton
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City council is asking the provincial government to be more aggressive in its enforcement of air pollution issues.

The demand follows an incident this past weekend when a large plume of brown smoke was sent up from ArcelorMittal Dofasco and drifted into nearby neighbourhoods.

READ MORE: Air pollution causes 7,700 premature deaths in Canada each year, costs $36B: report


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It was the result of a process known as ‘coffining,’ during which liquid iron is poured into slag beds to dispose of excess hot metal.

A motion approved by council, and brought forward by Ward 4 Councillor Sam Merulla in response to complaints from Environment Hamilton, is calling on the environment ministry to ensure that the company complies with its site-specific performance measures.

READ MORE: Environment Hamilton to help re-vegetate eroded shoreline near Waterfront trail

It also suggests a summit on air quality where the premier, minister of the Environment and Climate Change, Hamilton-area MPPs and industry meet to discuss solutions.

Merulla insists that the rules are currently “rigged in favour of industry, at the expense of the environment and more importantly public health.”

He also complained that we have a Ministry of the Environment which “considers their enforcement branch, more of a consultation branch.”

READ MORE: Hamilton chamber of commerce adds its voice to a federal study on the steel industry

ArcelorMittal Dofasco insists that “we do not want to see these kinds of emissions from our operations.” The steelmaker adds that “we do everything in our power to avoid them and we are committed to improving.”

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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