Environmental fears from spill

Staff ~ Advertiser
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Dear Editor:

If we didn't realize it before, we should now.

After a belated report from our government of Newfoundland and Labrador, we now know the residents of Grand Falls -Windsor are sitting on a chemical brew that could turn our population into a gallery of grotesques and bring about the early demise of many of our citizens. Yes, I heard Ms. Sullivan support Minister Johnson's actions regarding the covert report and yes, I heard Ms. Johnson try to ally our fears and suspicions but neither is very comforting.

Of course, neither lady is responsible for this lethal chemical cocktail in our midst but obviously a good number of government people and company officials and even some employees had to wink at this centennial of pollution. I know for a fact that countless reservoirs of cooking acid were flushed into the Exploits when the batch of wood chips were overcooked. Yet workers like company and government officials and politicians are prone to averting their gaze as the brew is concocted bit by bit and the fetid simmering lies hidden in our soil and in our atmosphere. When our towns of Grand Falls and Windsor came off the Exploits River a few decades ago because government officials of the day claimed there were lethal chemicals in the river bedrock basin, I also suspect that it was well known then more than nature was culpable for the state of our river and the mill site itself.

Letters to the editor -

Dear Editor:

If we didn't realize it before, we should now.

After a belated report from our government of Newfoundland and Labrador, we now know the residents of Grand Falls -Windsor are sitting on a chemical brew that could turn our population into a gallery of grotesques and bring about the early demise of many of our citizens. Yes, I heard Ms. Sullivan support Minister Johnson's actions regarding the covert report and yes, I heard Ms. Johnson try to ally our fears and suspicions but neither is very comforting.

Of course, neither lady is responsible for this lethal chemical cocktail in our midst but obviously a good number of government people and company officials and even some employees had to wink at this centennial of pollution. I know for a fact that countless reservoirs of cooking acid were flushed into the Exploits when the batch of wood chips were overcooked. Yet workers like company and government officials and politicians are prone to averting their gaze as the brew is concocted bit by bit and the fetid simmering lies hidden in our soil and in our atmosphere. When our towns of Grand Falls and Windsor came off the Exploits River a few decades ago because government officials of the day claimed there were lethal chemicals in the river bedrock basin, I also suspect that it was well known then more than nature was culpable for the state of our river and the mill site itself.

Yet, this situation is relatively localized compared to the potential awaiting us off shore if no greater care is taken than that exercised in the Gulf of Mexico oil project. It is shocking to realize that information was already available and known to the company that sufficient safeguards were not in place to prevent a gusher from turning into a continental disaster. Hence when the company went with cap in hand to cover and control the flow to direct it to a waiting fleet, they must have known the "solution" was too little too late.

For many years, we watched oil companies across the world explore and exploit our oil resources to fuel the insatiable greed of western civilization and we looked away because they were big players and we, the common man, were insignificant bystanders. We can no longer afford that luxury because their greed is translating into an environmental Armageddon and the very survival of our various cultures is threatened.

In the meantime, how long will we have to wait before the warm Gulf Stream no longer just brings warm air to our Newfoundland shores but also a dark oily sludge that will cover our beaches and kill our aquaculture and destroy our province? Is that physically possible? I have not yet heard any reference to such a possibility, but neither have I heard a firm negation of such an event.

Aubrey Smith

Grand Falls-Windsor

Organizations: Dear Editor

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, Grand Falls, Exploits River Gulf of Mexico Gulf Stream

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