Residents of Rouyn-Noranda coolly welcomed Horne Foundry’s reduction plan, which will stretch over five years to meet the target of 15 nanograms of arsenic per cubic metre.
• Also read: Horne Foundry is confident of meeting the target and will invest $500 million to reduce its pollutant emissions
• Also read: Arsenic at Horne Foundry: The soil belongs to the citizens of Rouyn-Noranda, says Legault
“It doesn’t take into account the health of the population, it’s really too long, there are vulnerable people in the neighborhood who would be overly exposed to arsenic over 5 years. That doesn’t make any sense,” thundered Nicole Desgagnés of the ARET committee, an organization working to significantly reduce the plant’s pollutant emissions.
According to her, public health demanded that the foundry, owned by multinational Glencore, reach that threshold much more quickly.
“INSPQ said it has to be done very quickly at 15 nanograms, that’s the only way to protect people,” she said.
The Company still has no plan to meet the Quebec standard of 3 ng/m3 requested by several stakeholders and citizens of the Notre-Dame district adjacent to the facility.
“They’re trying to tell us that if they get down to 15 nanograms it will be enough because 85% of the city will be fine. I find that appalling, it means that we are willing to sacrifice part of the population that lives in the Notre-Dame neighborhood,” Ms Desgagnés launched.
The latter believes that the government is not acting responsibly in this matter and that the foundry is enforcing its decisions.
“It feels like the company is dictating numbers to the government. It should be government and public health that should have requirements,” she said.
On the airwaves of Qub Radio, United MP Émilise Lessard-Therrien even believes the whole operation was “arranged with the guy of views”.
“The CAQ asked the foundry the question. how far would you be able to go And that’s what we’re going to announce, and that’s exactly what happened! ‘ the deputy got carried away.
A resident near the plant in the Notre-Dame neighborhood, Marjolaine Bizier, said she was unfazed by the announcement.
Photo Olivier Bourque
“There is a lack of will on the part of the factory and the government, but we don’t have the big end of the stick,” she said.
Ms. Bizier underwent surgery for lung cancer and is currently in remission. She doesn’t think taxpayers should pay “a dime” for a billion-dollar company.
“Do you think the citizens will help Glencore? We don’t have money to give them to them, it’s up to them to compensate us for the pollution they cause,” she said.
dr Frédéric Bonin, emergency doctor at the Rouyn-Noranda hospital since 2000, welcomed the plan with a mixture of anger and sadness.
“You have to remember that 15 ng/m3 is a compromise. We’re told it could take at least five years to reach a compromise, he illustrates. Compromise upon compromise does not make strong children. At some point we have to take it seriously and get there quickly [au seuil de 3 ng/m3) », a-t-il lancé.
Le médecin, qui s’est impliqué de plus près dans le dossier dans la foulée de la publication de données de santé inquiétantes ce printemps — espérance de vie réduite de cinq ans, risques de cancer accrus et plus grande incidence de bébé de faible poids à la naissance —, estime qu’il est inacceptable de continuer à imposer à la population de vivre dans un tel environnement.
« Je l’ai dit au ministre Charrette, je l’ai dit au Dr Boileau. Nous ici on vit avec les conséquences des mauvaises décisions prises ou [l’absence de] decisions for 40 years. We’re tired, we want to make good decisions for the future,” says the indignant person who wants to get involved in the file.
On the contrary, the Quebec Mining Association (AMQ) commended Glencore for its efforts to meet targets set by the government.
“Now the next step is the public consultation, which will start on September 6th. All citizens of Rouyn-Noranda and the region will have the opportunity to express their opinions on this issue,” stressed Environment Minister Benoît Charette.