Ontario’s Independent Investigations Office (IIO) has recorded 1,290 environmental incidents in the first five months of this year, an increase of 58% on the same period in 2017. IIO investigations over this period reveal a large number of emissions-related incidents, which the Office attributes to increased tanker truck traffic.
The report describes a pattern of pollution where cleanups take time. Each month so far has seen an average of 59 incidents. Year-to-date, IIO investigations have found that 1,446 of the incidents involve serious or non-serious environmental impact. While many incidents were minor and fester on over-crowded county roads, many more were high-impact events, raising the public’s concerns.
“Despite the IOUs that have been offered in response to the growing environmental pollution in the wake of this era of oil industry growth, this systemic emissions problem has not changed in response to calls for the industry to improve its performance,” said Yvan Cybele, executive director of the environmental watchdog, Environmental Defence. “With 1,290 incidents since January 1, the province should be concerned that the government of Ontario and the industry leadership isn’t acting quickly enough to fix the underlying causes. Until these cause-and-effect links are investigated and mitigated, we risk the damage done to the environment and people’s health continuing.”
Region-wide, recent reports reveal a broken pipeline near Keele, a contaminated road in Belleville, contaminated water near Frontenac and polluted water at Exeter.
Each month, IIO investigators provide a detailed report on its findings and a list of environmental incidents that impacted the public. The report, along with related photographs and videos, can be accessed by visiting the IIO website.