To the Editor:

In 2017 five of the eight mayors then seated at the United Counties of Prescott-Russell’s (UCPR) governance table voted to approve Colacem’s zoning change request. A decision made to accept this environmental calamity without the benefit of a complete and independent environmental assessment confirmed to be free of any of the “erroneous data” concerns that Francis Drouin, the riding’s MP, has indicated appear to be there in the environmental assessment carried out by Colacem Inc., the cement plant’s proponent.

The extent of those environmental impacts only came to light during Action Champlain’s LPAT commissioned appeal against the UCPR decision.

Now that they are known, if the mayors seated at the UCPR have any interest in truly doing what is best – when it comes to  offsetting and minimizing the negative effects and actual environmental harm this proposed plant will inflict upon the Prescott-Russell counties – they can do so by getting behind Action Champlain’s petition (aka the people’s petition) to Minister Guilbeault, asking him to exercise the discretionary authority that is his to identify the proposed L’Orignal cement plant a Designated Project under the Impact Assessment Act.

Any good cost-benefit analysis of having this heavy industry in our  midst should include doing all that knowingly can be done to mitigate  the short-term and long-term health and socio-economic costs today’s  children will have to bear with the coming of this cement plant.

I can’t see how or why the UCPR’s Senior Administration would not recommend as much to their governing Board.

While the ecological and environmental damage price tag that comes with the cement plant was not a factor  that technically had to be examined within the blinkers of a property zoning change decision, that environmental price tag is surely one that all three levels of  government should agree is important to know before any final  construction permit is  issued.

Section 7.5.7 of Action Champlain’s Petition to Minister Guilbeault outlines the cost our children will be burdened with to offset the equivalent of the L’Orignal cement plant’s yearly 0.83 Megatons of GHG emissions per year.

Briefly stated those GHG emissions are equivalent to those annually emitted by 181,000 cars.

The federal government could have to spend $ 905,370,000 a year to  offset the equivalent of Colacem’s yearly emissions Colacem’s greenhouse  gas (GHG) emissions are equivalent to 181,074 gasoline car emissions a  year. If the federal government wanted to offset Colacem’s emissions by subsidizing the purchase of 181,074 electric cars per year, they would  have to spend $905,370,000 a year if they gave a subsidy of $5,000 per car currently offered through their Incentives for Zero-Emission Vehicles Program (iZEV). Over 50 years, this amount would total $ 45.2 billion.

I’d like to think all present and potential municipal politicians would indicate that they, like the Champlain Township, would indicate that they too support Action Champlain’s Petition to Minister Guilbeault that he identify the proposed L’Orignal cement plant a Designated Project under the Impact Assessment Act (IAA).

Gary Champagne