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Class action suit launched against ESRD

PostPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2014 6:53 pm
by Wilberforce
Class action suit launched against ESRD

Thursday, March 20, 2014 4:34:42 MDT PM

Due to a change in their operating practices, Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development has been sending a lot of wood smoke into West Bragg Creek and is now resulting in a class action suit by residents.
“We have to suffer the consequences and we’re not prepared to do that,” said Doug Sephton, the proposed representative plaintiff and one of the residents exposed to the wood smoke.
The problem started in December when the ESRD got rid of their incinerators as a cost saving measure, despite a promise in the fall to use incinerators.
“It’s a different order of magnitude to throwing a match on a wood pile,” said Sephton, adding that while the incinerators were in operation there was no problem.
Now it permeates West Bragg Creek, sometimes as a smell (though come carcinogens are odorless) while other days a yellow pall on the horizon and covering the Foothills or even seeping into homes.
“Why would (a government agency) be subjecting residents of our community to this kind of abuse?” said Sephton. “(Governments) tell us we shouldn’t be smoking then they force us to smoke.”
Due to the carcinogens present in wood smoke, many of which can also be found in cigarettes, the community is concerned that daily exposure during wood waste burning season can lead to cancers and of the more serious effects breathing in carcinogens has on the elderly and children.
Some of the respiratory issues that can arise from breathing in wood smoke include asthma, diminished lung function that eventually turns to cancer, strokes and chronic bronchitis. Less well known is that the smoke can also lead to cancers of the blood, nasal passage, lymph system and throat.
Wood smoke also has much higher particle pollution than cigarette smoke, meaning it is 12 times more likely to cause cancer than cigarette smoke and stays in the body 40 times longer.
As wood burning is already banned in most provinces because of the health risk it posses, as well as legal precedence within Alberta, Sephton believes that the law is on their side and hopes that the ESRD will settle out of court and either bring back the incinerators they promised they would be using or send the wood waste to government facilities that use it as a biofuel, something dozens of other companies have been doing in recent years.
“They shouldn’t be burning period,” said Sephton. “There are better ways. That’s the simple bottom line.”
This is not the first time the ESRD broke a promise to residents in the area as they went back on an agreement to not have logging trucks use the back roads. Residents managed to get the ESRD to comply with their initial promise then and hope to be able to hold the ESRD to their word this time as well.
“ESRD continues to exhibit callous disregard for the health and safety of Bragg Creek residents – whether it is the operation of logging trucks or the burning of slash piles” said Sephton
When asked about the situation from their perspective, ESRD press secretary Kevin Zahara said they could not comment on matters before the court.

source ... ainst-esrd