Judge Rules in Favor of Lafarge Alternative Fuel Project

A Nova Scotia Supreme Court judge rejected a bid to block the burning of tires at Lafarge Canada’s Brookfield cement plant, reported CBC News. Last summer, provincial Environment Minister Iain Rankin gave the green light to a one-year test project allowing Lafarge to substitute tires for its regular fuel at the facility.

Five residents who live near the Brookfield plant asked for a judicial review of the minister’s decision, arguing that Rankin’s approval of the project violated Nova Scotia’s Environment Act because the minister had failed to properly consider the project’s potential risk to air and water quality in the area surrounding the plant.

In a written decision, Justice James Chipman said there was no reason to overturn the minister’s decision.

“The analysis does not require the court to become bogged down in an ‘academy of science’ review,” Chipman wrote. “In taking a wide-angled perspective, it is apparent that there is no support for the applicants’ primary ground on this judicial review. When I evaluate the minister’s decision as an organic whole, I find it easily passes muster and must be regarded as an outcome within the range of reason.”

Chipman affirmed the minister and department staff adequately reviewed the potential risks and requirements of the project before agreeing to let it go ahead.

Lafarge plans to burn about 20 metric tons of tires a day – up to 5,200 metric tons a year – in place of fossil fuels. Once the company has obtained an industrial approval for the one-year pilot project, the province’s waste diversion agency is expected to shift a supply of about 280,000 tires annually to Lafarge.

A similar request by Lafarge in 2007 was denied by the province after an advisory committee recommended recycling scrap tires rather than incinerating them.

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