The opposition denounces the relocation of 200 households near the Horne smelter

L’ opposition denounces the relocation of 200 households near the Horne foundry

Adil Boukind Archives Le Devoir The government would intend to pay to relocate 200 households located near the Horne foundry, in Rouyn-Noranda, according to “La Presse”.

Québec solidaire (QS) and the Parti québécois (PQ) denounce the government's intention to pay to relocate 200 households located near the Horne smelter, in Rouyn-Noranda, information reported in La Presse Wednesday morning.

“Asking 200 families to pack their boxes to accommodate a multi-billion dollar company that refuses to meet our environmental standards is appalling!” said QS environmental manager Alejandra Zaga Mendez.

She added in a statement that “the people of Rouyn-Noranda have never asked to be uprooted from their home.”

In a press briefing on Tuesday morning, PQ MP Joël Arsenault for his part indicated “that we should see with the population what they think of it, we imagine the uprooting, what it can create as a trauma in people”.

“The other big problem,” according to Mr. Arsenault, “is that we want to do it with a contribution of $85 million from the Government of Quebec, to a company that will, this year, or in 2022, have net profits of around US$18 billion”.

Interim Liberal Leader Marc Tanguay believes that offshoring “cannot be a solution for the whole population”.

However, he argued, “it's a file that is delicate, but I think that for some, it can be a solution”.

New emissions caps presented on Thursday

An agreement with Quebec, which was signed with the Liberal government in 2017, allows arsenic emissions from the smelter to reach an annual average of 100 nanograms per cubic meter (ng/m3), 33 times higher than the provincial standard .

But that deal is about to end. The Government of Quebec also issued a new certificate to the controversial foundry last January and Quebec will unveil the new ministerial authorization for the Horne foundry on Thursday.

Public Health and the Ministry of the Environment have asked the Horne smelter to reach an arsenic emission threshold of 15 ng/m3 in 2027, this is what could appear in the new certificate.

>

If this is the new target, “the government did not negotiate hard,” according to Nicole Desgagnés, spokesperson for the citizens' committee Stopping discharges and toxic emissions.

“We don't no pressure on the foundry, but we crowd the world,” illustrated the citizen of Rouyn-Noranda, who lives about 1 km from the foundry.

“We are aiming, in five years, for 15 nanograms, five times more, I find that it does not hold up,” said Marc Tanguay in a press briefing.

“Either the 3 nanograms standard is not good and then it should be 15, but you can't have the ambition to be… to exceed five times the standard in five years,” said the interim leader of the Liberal Party. /p>

24 times more arsenic emitted in 2022 than the norm

Last week, the Horne smelter published a document in which it asserts that the concentration average arsenic it emitted into the air in 2022 was 73 ng/m3, less than in 2021, but more than in 2020.

In a document published on its website , Glencore Canada, owner of the smelter, indicates that for the past year, “the annual average arsenic at the legal station” of the Horne smelter in Rouyn-Noranda “is 73.1 ng/m3, which confirms that our reduction projects are working”.

The smelter therefore emitted 24 times more arsenic on average in 2022 than the provincial standard, which is 3 ng/m3.