February 25th, 2016 - 1:46pm

Canada-US Air Quality Agreement Provides Opportunity for Intervention


WINDSOR – The State of Michigan is currently considering an application from the Marathon Petroleum Company to expand capacity at their refinery located in Detroit MI in close proximity to the Canada/US border. This proposal if allowed to proceed would increase Sulfur Dioxide emissions from the facility by nearly 40%.


MPs Brian Masse (Windsor West) and Tracey Ramsey (Essex) have written the Minister of the Environment to support the town of LaSalle’s request that the Minister of the Envrionment investigate the impact of this proposal on residents in Windsor and Essex County. They want the Minister to invoke the Canada-US Air Quality Agreement in order to categorically determine the impact of this proposed expansion on potentially impacted residents in Canada.


Masse noted that Canada and the United States have signed a treaty that provides a level jurisdiction for the Canadian Government to determine Air Quality impacts for US based projects: “The Canada-US Air Quality Agreement is the bilateral recognition that both Canada and the United States share a common border and that the decisions taken in one country can impact people in the other. This treaty provides the mechanism for this engagement to occur and we are asking the Minister of the Environment to use this tool to assess the impact that the proposed expansion of the Marathon Refinery will have on residents in Canada.”


Ramsey expressed deep concern for the potentially negative air quality on the residents of the region: “Windsor and Essex County is downwind of the Marathon Refinery. The significant increase of Sulfur Dioxide emissions being proposed through the expansion of this facility and its potential impact on residents in our region is a serious concern. Thus far, the full scope of the implications for people living in potentially impacted areas of Windsor-Essex has yet to be assessed. It is critical that we have a clear understanding of the impacts on air quality and human health before this expansion is allowed to proceed.”


Masse had previously written to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) during the public comment period to express opposition to the proposal. The letter to Minister McKenna will be hand delivered by the MPs in the House of Commons.