Corporations and the Community


Sarnia, Ontario, and the surrounding area comprises Canada’s Chemical Valley, which houses 40% of that nation’s petrochemical industry. Forty-six of Chemical Valley’s 62 facilities are listed under Canada’s National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI) as well as the U.S. Toxic Release Inventory (TRI). Although these facilities represent only 2% of Ontario’s NPRI listed facilities, they together contribute 16% of Ontario’s NPRI air pollution. In 2005 Sarnia was home to three of the top ten air polluters in Ontario: Ontario Power Generation’s Lambton Generating Station, Imperial Oil’s Sarnia Refinery, and Shell Canada’s Sarnia Manufacturing Centre.

Top Air Polluters in Chemical Valley

Suncor Energy Products Sarnia Refinery
Cabot Canada plant
NOVA Chemicals Corunna site
Fibrex intallations Sarnia plant
Transalta Energy Sarina regional cogeneration plant
Terra international Canada terra nitrogen plant
Lanxess East plant
Ontario Power Generation’s Lambton Generating Sation
Inperial Oil Sarnia
Shell Canada’s Sarnia Manufacturing Center

As a result Sarnia is Ontario’s worst air pollution hotspot. The toll from these emissions is being felt dramatically in the health of Sarnia residents, many of whom are employed in Chemical Valley facilities.

Studies have found that hospital admission rates are significantly higher in Sarnia than in other comparable Ontario cities.

Occupational Health in Sarnia

Despite the growing awareness of their negative impact on the health of Sarnia’s people and environment, the corporations of Chemical Valley work together and with local supports to try to make a positive impression on the community through the funding of community projects and initiatives.

Joint community industry organizations

Bluewater Community Advisory Panel

The Bluewater Community Advisory Panel is composed of 30 members representing six industries and members of the Sarnia-Lambton and Port Huron-St. Clair communities. The stated goals of the board are:

  • Exchange health, safety and environmental information between the community members and industry members concerning company operations and respond accordingly.
  • Support industry members in fulfilling CCPA Responsible Care community awareness requirements
  • Respond to community awareness and emergency planning issues as they relate to industry member companies

Industry members:

Imperial Oil
Ethyl Canada Inc.
Basell
Shell Canada Products
NOVA Chemicals
TransAlta

Community Awareness and Response (CAER)

CAER purports to deal with safety issues arising in Sarina. It provides information about the nature of the industries that surround the community and what steps citizens should take in the event of an emergency. Along with the Chemical Valley Emergency Coordinating Organization it identifies potential industrial risks and develops emergency plans around them.

Critics point out the limitations of this approach–that the information it provides about local industry excludes crucial facts about hazards that the community ought to know about, and that the “safety” advice is only applicable to dealing with dangerous spills and leaks, not with preventing them to begin with.

Sarnia-Lambton Environment Association-

The Sarina-Lambton Environment Association “SLEA” is a co-operative of 20 industrial manufacturers in the Sarina Lambton and Southern Ontario area.

“SLEA” monitors the environmental impacts of its members upon the communities in which they are located and make it their mandate to share their information with those communities.

Critics note that studies seem to focus only on those aspects of the environment that lend themselves to positive reports, and that information on spills, leaks, health effects of substances used and produced, etc., are most definitely not shared with the community.

SLEA Members

Imperial Oil
BP Canada Energy Company
Cabot Canada Ltd.
Clean Harbors Canada Inc.
E.I. DuPont Canada
Endbridge Inc.
Ethyl Cananda
H.C. Stark
INEOS-NOVA
LANXESS Inc.
Newalta
NOVA Chemicals Corporation
Ontario Power Generation
PRAXAIR Canada Inc,
SGS Canada Inc.
Shell Canada Limited
Suncor Energy Products Inc
Suncor Energy, St. Clair Ethanol
Terra International (Canada) Inc.
Toda Advanced Material
TransAlta Cogeneration
Waste Management

Worst Polluters are most active community members

(In the case of each example below, it can be instructive to note whether or not the charities, programs, events, and projects sponsored by these corporations are in any way involved in curbing pollution or ameliorting its harmful effects on humans and the environments.  Most will likely agree that they are not; rather, they seem more geared toward enhancing the public image of the corporation.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

Imperial Oil Limited’s Sarnia operations include its most complex oil refinery, Canada’s largest petroleum research laboratory, and a world-scale chemical plant and technology facility.

  • 2nd largest air release of sulphur dioxide
  • 2nd largest air release of volatile organic chemicals
  • 2nd largest combined air releases of chemicals considered suspected respiratory toxicants
  • 5th largest combined air releases of chemicals considered known or suspected reproductive and developmental toxicants
  • 5th largest combined air releases of chemicals considered known or suspected endocrine disrupters (Sarnia Rerinery Plant)
  • 6th largest combined air releases of chemicals considered known or suspected endocrine disrupters (Sarnia Chemical Plant)
  • 2nd largest combined air releases of chemicals considered toxic under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act

Community Investments in Sarnia

  • Donations to YMCA Mad Science Camp- $10,000
  • Sarnia Lambton College- overhaul of welding shop and First Nations Student Centre
  • $15,000 to Good Shepherd’s Lodge resource and technology room
  • employs 1500 employees and contractors
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

Suncor’s Sarnia refinery has a crude oil capacity of 80,000 barrels per day. The plant produces intermediate feedstocks used in the production of plastics and pharmaceutical products in addition to a variety of fuel products.

The Suncor St. Clair Ethanol Plant currently produces 400 million litres of ethanol per year. In addition to ethanol, the plant will produce dried distillers grains with solubles (DDGS), sources of high protein and high-energy feed for dairy and beef cows, hogs and poultry, as well as carbon dioxide, which is used to freeze foods and produce carbonated beverages and fire extinguishers.

  • 4th largest air release of volatile organic compounds
  • 4th largest combined air release of chemicals considered suspected respiratory toxicants
  • Largest combined release of chemicals considered known or suspected reproductive and developmental toxicants
  • 3rd largest combined air release of chemicals considered known or suspected endocrine disrupters
  • 6th largest combined air release of chemicals considered toxic under Canadian Environmental Protection Act

Community Investments in Sarnia

  • supports non-profit activities and events by providing financial assistance, product or in-kind contributions in Canada and internationally.
  • contributes to registered Canadian charities through the Suncor Energy Foundation.
  • employee grants program recognizes, and supplements, Suncor employees community work and charitable giving.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

Shell Canada Limited

Shell’s Sarnia Manufacturing Centre is one of three Shell oil refineries in Canada. Shell’s Sarnia Manufacturing Centre refines approximately 75,000 barrels of crude oil per day into products such as liquid petroleum gas (LPG), diesel oil, gasoline, furnace oil, jet fuel, and pure chemicals such as benzene, toluene, zylene and hydrocarbon solvents.

  • 3rd largest air release of sulphur dioxide
  • 3rd largest air release of volatile organic compounds
  • 3rd largest combined air releases of chemicals considered suspected respiratory toxicants
  • 8th largest combined air releases of chemicals known or suspected reproductive and developmental toxicants
  • 4th largest combined air releases of chemicals considered known or suspected endocrine disrupters
  • 3rd largest combined air releases of chemicals considered toxic under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act

Community Investments in Sarina

  • member of Bluewater Community Advisory Panel
  • Community dialogue program
  • Community Awareness and Response (CAER)- installed siren system
  • Social investments- enviro, employees, education, community- No specific Sarnia projects

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

NEOS NOVA’s Sarnia site supplies styrene to INEOS NOVA’s polystyrene operations and customers in North America. The Sarnia facility had been operating since 1977. NOVA Chemicals purchased the facility in 1988. In the late 90’s, a significant project to upgrade the facility with new equipment and state-of-the-art technology increased annual production of styrene monomer to approximately 950 million pounds (431 killotonnes). The Sarnia site became part of the INEOS NOVA joint venture on October 1, 2007.

  • 5th largest air release of sulphur dioxide
  • 7th largest air release of volatile organic compounds (Corunna Site)
  • 9th largest air release of volatile organic compounds (St. Clair River site)
  • 6th largest combined air releases of chemicals considered suspected respiratory toxicants (Corunna Site)
  • 6th largest combined air releases of chemicals considered known or suspected reproductive and developmental toxicants
  • 2nd largest combined air releases of chemicals considered known or suspected endocrine disrupters (Sarnia Site)
  • 8th largest combined air releases of chemicals considered known or suspected endocrine disrupters (Corunna Site)
  • 5th largest combined air releases of chemicals considered toxic under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (Corunna Site)

Community investments in Sarnia

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     


TransAlta’s Sarnia Regional Cogeneration Plant produces steam and electricity for industrial customers in Sarnia, surplus electricity is sold to the Ontario electricity market. The 575 MW plant uses natural gas to fuel gas turbines, which produce electricity. Heat is recovered from the exhaust of the gas turbines to produce steam, which is used in industrial production processes. Surplus steam is also used in a steam turbine to generate additional electricity.

  • 8th largest combined air releases of chemicals considered suspected respiratory toxicants
  • 10th largest combined air releases of chemicals considered known or suspected reproductive and developmental toxicants
  • 7th largest combined air releases of chemicals considered toxic under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act

Community Investment in Sarnia

  • Yearly contributions of over $1 million to the United Way
  • Grants funding to organizations in arts, culture, education, environment and health and human services, supports at least one of TransAlta’s operating communities and complements the company’s business interests and values

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Cabot Canada manufactures carbon black. Carbon black is a form of elemental carbon, which is manufactured, in a highly controlled process to produce particles and aggregates of varied structure and surface chemistry. The resulting products possess many different performance characteristics for a wide variety of applications that are marketed domestically and globally. The primary use for carbon black is in the tire industry where it is used as a rubber-reinforcing agent to enhance a tire’s performance, quality and durability.

  • 4th largest air release of sulphur dioxide
  • 5th largest combined air releases of chemicals considered suspected respiratory toxicants
  • 4th largest combined air releases of chemicals considered known or suspected reproductive and developmental toxicants
  • Largest combined air releases of chemicals considered known or suspected endocrine disrupters
  • 4th largest combined air releases of chemicals considered toxic under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act

Community Investments

  • Cabot Foundation- funds qualified charitable, non profit organizations

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

A North American leader in delivering energy, Enbridge operates, in Canada and the U.S., the world’s longest crude oil and liquids transportation system. The Company also has a growing involvement in the natural gas transmission and midstream businesses and expanding interests in green energy technologies.

  • 10th largest air release of volatile organic compounds
  • 10th largest combined air releases of chemicals considered toxic under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

LANXESS is an international chemical company that manufactures high quality products in the area of chemicals, synthetic rubbers and plastics. LANXESS Inc. Sarnia site is the headquarters for LANXESS in Canada with both a major manufacturing operation and an R&D technology center. Focused on the production of synthetic rubber, this facility is a major supplier to both domestic and international markets and employs over 850 employees.

  • Largest air release of volatile organic compounds
  • 9th largest combined air releases of chemicals considered suspected respiratory toxicants

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

The Lambton Generating Station is one of Ontario Power Generation’s most heavily used coal-fired generating plants because its units are among the cleanest and most efficient. Lambton has four units capable of producing a total of 1975 megawatts of power. Running at full capacity, these units can produce enough power to meet the electricity requirements of up to 1.3 million homes.

  • Largest air release of sulphur dioxide
  • Largest air releases of chemicals considered suspected respiratory toxicants
  • 2nd largest combined air releases of chemicals considered known or suspected reproductive and developmental toxicants
  • Largest combined air releases of chemicals considered toxic under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act

Community Investments in Sarina

  •  supported more than 140 not-for-profit initiatives in Sarnia, Courtright, Corunna, Mooretown, Petrolia, Chatham and Wallaceburg.
  • since 2002 has funded more than 65 local youth amateur sports initiatives in hockey, baseball, lacrosse, soccer, gymnastics and swimming.
  • $100,000 donation to restory Ducks Unlimited Canada’s wetland  at the Sileno C. Corsini / Pigeon Marsh was completed. The wetland provides habitat for 700 plants and 200 bird species.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Terra International (Canada) Inc.

Terra International produces a range of nitrogen products including ammonia, urea and nitrogen solutions. These products are used extensively in industrial and agricultural markets.

  • 10th largest combined air releases of chemicals considered suspected respiratory toxicants
  • 7th largest combined air releases of chemicals considered known or suspected reproductive and developmental toxicants
  • 8th largest combined air releases of chemicals considered toxic under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act

Community Investments in Sarnia

  • Youth sports teams
  • Boy/Girl Scouts
  • 4-H and other clubs
  • Local hospitals and agencies that help disabled or disadvantaged citizens
  • Charitable events, as well as local United Ways and other organizations

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

The majority of the Dow Sarnia sight was sold to the TransAlta Corporation in 2009. Although it has dismantled the majority of its Sarnia operation Dow has been in Chemical Valley since 1942 and has supported many community initiatives.

  • 7th largest combined air releases of chemicals considered known or suspected endocrine disrupters

Investments in the Sarnia Community

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