NDP demands answers on proposed garbage importation and incineration scheme



For immediate release

Dec. 17, 2019

NDP demands answers on proposed garbage importation and incineration scheme


NDP Leader Alison Coffin has written a letter to Premier Dwight Ball about her ongoing concerns about the Synergy World Power proposal to import and incinerate international garbage in Central Newfoundland.


“Despite months of questions, government has remained silent on this proposed project,” Coffin said. “This is yet another example of government’s lack of transparency and its backroom operations.”


Coffin says her concerns include that the proposed technology for the plastics-to-liquid fuel incinerator is unproven, especially at the scale proposed; that the local, regional, and provincial environmental impacts of importing and incinerating 2 million tonnes of waste on our atmosphere, soil, and, groundwater are unknown; and that Synergy World Power has a track record of failure with similar projects around the world and their facilities have been rejected in Ireland, Scotland, and the United States, to name a few.


Coffin says despite the fact that her Caucus demanded greater openness and transparency from government and the project proponents in a Sept. 30 news release, no useful information about this project has been shared since then.


“We know that Synergy World Power representatives have been secretly meeting with representatives of the Town of Lewisporte, the Town of Grand Falls-Windsor, Nalcor, NL Hydro, the Wood Group/Amec, North Atlantic Refinery, various waste management sites, and senior officials and Cabinet ministers of your government,” Coffin said.


In her letter to Premier Ball, Coffin insists that the Premier answer questions, including who from government has been communicating with Synergy World Power, how long government has known about the project, and does government support the importation, incineration, and disposal of international garbage into our province.


Coffin further requests that government reject any attempts to register this project under Part X: Environmental Assessment of the Environmental Protection Act prior to January 2020 in order to ensure the project is not rushed through over the holidays without adequate public consultation.


The complete list of concerns about the proposed project is detailed in Coffin’s letter to Premier Ball, attached.


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For further information, contact Zaren Healey White, Director of Communications, NDP Caucus at 729-2137 (o), 693-9172 (c), or zarenhealeywhite@gov.nl.ca.



Alison Coffin's letter to Premier Dwight Ball


Hon. Dwight Ball

Premier, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador

8th Floor, East Block, P.O. Box 8700

St. John’s, NL A1B 4J6


December 16, 2019


Dear Premier Ball,


The NL NDP Caucus has serious concerns about Synergy World Power’s plan to import European garbage into Newfoundland and Labrador and to incinerate and dispose of it in the Town of Lewisporte.


Our concerns echo those of many of our constituents as well as a growing chorus of people and groups within Newfoundland and Labrador. These concerns are based on a review of the Terra Nova Renewable Energy Facility Proposal as provided by Synergy World Power, and include:


  • The proposed technology for the plastics to liquid fuel pyrolysis incinerator is unproven, especially at the scale proposed;

  • The local, regional, and provincial environmental impacts of importing and incinerating 2 million tonnes of waste on our atmosphere, soil, and, groundwater are unknown;

  • Synergy World Power has a track record of failure with similar projects around the world and their facilities have been rejected in Ireland, Scotland, and the United States;

  • The company intends to import many forms of garbage including biomass, organic fluids, and mixed plastics that cannot be recycled elsewhere;

  • Imported glass, soil/sand, minerals, and PVC waste will be immediately landfilled in Lewisporte;

  • Shipping 2 million tonnes of waste into our province is not in keeping with global efforts to address climate change by reducing unnecessary GHG emissions;

  • Sanctioning this project will damage our provincial reputation and image – we will likely be viewed as an international garbage dump;

  • Sanctioning this project will open the door to all manner of similar garbage disposal and incineration schemes;

  • The emissions, waste, and greenhouse gases produced by this project are in no way in keeping with the building of a green economy; and finally,

  • It is the responsibility of government to rigorously vet dubious and dangerous projects foisted upon struggling rural communities which do not have the capacity to do that for themselves, and to ultimately protect them from rogue projects that prey upon such communities.


We publicly demanded greater openness and transparency from both your government and the proponents about this proposed importation and incineration project in a news release dated September 30, 2019. This has not transpired. Indeed, your government has remained completely silent on a matter that is of paramount importance to the people of this province.


Yet, we know that Synergy World Power representatives have been secretly meeting with representatives of the Town of Lewisporte, the Town of Grand Falls-Windsor, Nalcor, NL Hydro, the Wood Group/Amec, North Atlantic Refinery, various waste management sites, and senior officials and Cabinet ministers of your government. For example, there was a meeting between Synergy World Power representatives and senior members of your Cabinet in the East Block of the Confederation Building on November 6, 2019.


In the spirit of transparent and accountable government, we must insist that you answer the following questions:


  • Does your government support the importation, incineration, and disposal of international garbage to/in our province?

  • What has been the role of your government to date with regards to this project?

- How long has your government known about this project?

- Who from your government has been communicating with Synergy World Power?

- Which Cabinet ministers and/or senior officials have met with Synergy World Power and when?

  • What were the expressed purposes of such meetings? Please provide the agendas.

  • What role has your government played in terms of brokering meetings held between Synergy World Power, Nalcor, NL Hydro, the Town of Lewisporte, the Town of Grand Falls-Windsor, North Atlantic Refinery, and other entities involved?

  • What specifically has Synergy World Power asked of your government?

- A power purchase agreement?

- An equity stake?

- Tax breaks?

- Interest-free loans?

- Infrastructure needed to support the project?


  • The importance of this project demands that the public be given adequate time to contribute to the Environmental Assessment process. Will you reject any attempts to register this project, under Part X: Environmental Assessment of the Environmental Protection Act that occur prior to January 2020?


I look forward to your timely responses to my questions.


Sincerely,







Alison Coffin (M.H.A., St. John’s East – Quidi Vidi)

Leader, New Democratic Party




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