Aamjiwnaang given standing in Styrolutions hearing over benzene rules

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The Aamjiwnaang First Nation will have have status during an hearing about INEOS Styrolutions.

May 1 – 15 days after high levels of benzene in the air sickened members of the the Aamjiwnaang First Nation – the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, pulled the company’s Environmental Compliance Approval certificate shutting the plant down.

The order required the removal of all benzene storage from the site.

The province also ordered installation of full vapour control equipment which were later mirrored by the federal government which announced an interim order May 17.

INEOS Styrolutions filed an appeal to the Ontario Land Tribunal – which now hears cases regarding MECP orders. Styrolutions called the ministry’s new standards “crippling.”

The case will to be heard July 12. OLT documents show the Aamjiwnaang First Nation will be a part of it.

The OLT, in a written decision after a May 31 conference call, said Aamjiwnaang said “its members have experienced significant health and safety impacts due to benzene emissions from the site” and had “a direct and genuine interest” in Styrolutions appeal.

Neither the OLT nor Styrolutions objected to the First Nation’s standing at the coming hearing.

July 12, there will be a conference to work out the details of the tribunal hearing. The hearing itself is to be held Oct. 31.

INEOS Styrolutions said earlier this month it is closing the Sarnia Plant in 2025 citing changes in the styrene market. Most manufacturers in North America are running at 70 per cent capacity after producers in China scaled up production there.