March 13th, 2017 - 1:13pm
Significant Safety and Environmental Concerns Cited
Here’s a copy of the text of a letter I sent to Minister Garneau Calling for Immediate Action to Address Environmental and Safety Concerns at Sterling Fuels:
March 10, 2017
Honourable Marc Garneau
Minister of Transport
House of Commons
Dear Minister Garneau,
I am writing you today to bring an alarming issue to your attention.
I am apprised that there are serious environmental, workplace health and safety and public safety concerns with Sterling Fuels – a subsidiary of McAsphalt Industries – a marine and land commercial fueling company operating directly on the banks of the Detroit River, which as you know is an international waterway in Windsor. Sterling Fuels – a recipient of millions of dollars from Infrastructure Canada – operates on public land leased from the Windsor Port Authority governed under federal legislation of the Port Authority Act.
Port Authority lands are owned by the Canadian public, their use falls under laws governed by the Port Authority Act reportable to Parliament, and you as the accountable Minister responsible.
It is my understanding that there have been significant spills on site and that they occur with an alarming degree of regularity. Further the remediation of these spills has been called into question with allegations that run off of hazardous material stored on-site in some instances ends up in the river.
In addition to the environmental concerns that these allegations raise the workplace health and safety aspects are extremely worrisome.
There have already been several mainstream media reports about the concerns at Sterling Fuels; additionally I have met directly with the local labour leadership regarding these concerns. The reports and accounts are in many respects shocking and the community wants to understand what your department has done in response, and will do regarding the current state of affairs.
Furthermore, the public should be apprised of when Sterling Fuels implements comprehensive safety procedures that meet both industry standard and the regulatory requirements. This public disclosure should also include what measures were specifically implemented to address existing shortfalls with Sterling Fuels Emergency Preparedness Plan.
Among the troubling realities clearly demonstrating a need for intervention is the fact that Sterling Fuels does not have a fire safety plan that could be remotely considered consistent with operators in their industry. This, notwithstanding the fact that McAsphalt Industries Ltd. (the parent corporation cited above) experienced a major fire event endangering thousands of residents and public safety officials and damaging the environment as recently as 2015.
Sterling Fuels has received several work orders from both federal and provincial authorities. In short there is an exhaustive list of on-going concerns that demand full and immediate attention of the federal authorities you direct to ensure that Sterling Fuels is operating in full compliance with the regulations they are legally bound to follow.
A comprehensive and publicly inclusive environmental and public safety risk assessment of Sterling Fuels addressing its responsibility and relationship to the community is urgently required.
I ask that you take immediate action to engage all federal, provincial and municipal authorities to ensure compliance with all laws on this site without delay. I also call for a full report of this analysis to be provided publically to ensure the public confidence is restored.
I look forward to your timely reply, I re-emphasize that the urgency here is substantial.
Brian Masse M.P.
Click on the following link for photos of Brian standing with workers at Sterling Fuels, demanding safer working conditions: