The proposed Olefin petrochemical plant has secured 300 acres in the Willow Cale area of Prince George within the Prince George air shed.
This plant has a designation as "Industry, special heavy." Under the City of Prince George's bylaw 8256-2007, special heavy Industry is defined as "any offensive trade including processing or manufacturing uses such as an oil refinery;chemical or explosive or fertilizer plants. etc"
In a 2008 report, the Regional District of Fort Fraser and the City of Prince George identified only three sites as being suitable for new heavy industrial development. The Willow Cale area was not mentioned in this report. In fact, this report states "The city of Prince George's air shed had been identified as not being able to accept additional air emissions without compromising the health of it's citizens."
These are very potent words of wisdom.
What is true then is still true today. As part of the community consultation, we were given the Nova Plant in Red Deer to make comparisons with. The emissions from the petrochemical and plastic plants in Red Deer, include 63 tonnes of fine particulates of which 50 tonnes are 2.5 microns or less, which are incredibly dangerous for human health. There is no mention or capture of nano particles which are so hazardous to plant workers.
Red Deer also emits five tonnes of benzene, which has no safe lower limit in the air shed, and which is well known to be associated with myelo-proliferative and other cancers. The emissions of volatile organic compounds, not currently monitored by the AGHI, are also very high.
A 2018 study from Sweden about a similar plastics plant found plastic pellet and smaller powdery plastic fugitive losses in the soil, water and wild life within 35 km of the plastics plant. As we all know plastics do not degrade and adversely interface with the biosphere with bio accumulation for hundreds, if not thousands, of years.
This project, if it is to be built, needs to be built outside of the bowl with its already over polluted air shed and high population density.
As a community, we seriously need to consider this decision with deep reflection and not be blinded by overwhelming plastic gold fever. Sustainable, clean long term jobs and money are important but not at the cost of human health and environmental degradation.
Dr. Marie Hay, Prince George