In a letter to the editor, Williams Lake resident John Pickford weighs in on Pinnacle Pellet’s application for a permit amendment. (Tribune file photo)

LETTERS: Amendment would represent 320 per cent increase in emissions

The requested permit amendment indicates these emissions would be allowed 24 hours a day


An open letter to the City of Williams Lake:

I wish to share with you some information and my views regarding the request of Pinnacle Renewable Energy Inc. for council’s support of their application to amend permit 17577 which governs emissions from their operations. (Agenda item B, 1 of council meeting of March 26, 2019)

The previous council on Sept. 15, 2015 passed a resolution to support Atlantic Power’s application to amend is permit to increase the percentage of rail ties allowed to be burned (from five per cent to 50 per cent — a ninefold increase).

The consultation report subsequently submitted by Atlantic Power contained letters and e-mails sent by city stakeholders. The vast majority of missives from city residents indicated opposition to increased rail tie burning (this report is in the public domain, and available online).

Pinnacle’s requested permit amendment allows a 20 per cent increase in existing maximum discharge rate of the bag house (from 25 to 30 cubic metres per second) with a corresponding increase in particulate matter emitted.

Additionally, the amended permit would allow a maximum emission from a new bed dryer with a discharge limit (flow rate) of 90 cubic metres per second, which is triple the one proposed for the bag house, resulting in triple the emissions.

In all, if the amendment is granted, the maximum allowed emissions would represent a 320 per cent increase in existing maximum emissions permitted.

The requested permit amendment indicates these emissions would be allowed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

A B.C. Lung Association “State of the Air Report for 2018” shows a graph indicating Williams Lake had the highest level of annual average PM2.5 particulate matter of all cities in B.C. in 2017.

The health of 11,000 residents who each breathe 20,000 times daily is important enough to demand clean air.

City council: I respectfully submit the result of the proposed permit amendment, and subsequent greatly increased particulate emissions, have such potentially deleterious effect on the health of city residents that council’s support for the permit amendment be denied, or alternatively withheld pending further study and analysis, which I humbly suggest cannot be determined in the time provided at a council meeting.

John Pickford

Williams Lake

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