|Mike Lushington copy of Grains of Sand of Oct. 30th|
I had written last week's column in the Tribune's Grain of Sand, before a story appeared in the Saint John Telegraph Journal on Thursday, the 17th. It was entitled "Dalhousie doesn't see why Orimulsion fuels controversy", and it was on the Front Page of the Business Section. Several people were quoted as being of the opinion that there has been little or no controversy over the Dalhousie plant's operation since its conversion to Orimulsion in the mid 1990's. Each of them should know better.
Station Manager Geoff Thomas certainly does know better. He has been trying to get me to shut up over the issue for at least the last five years. In that time, he has admitted to me that the plant does have problems but that "they will be fixed." Sometime. If they could only figure out how to fix it - which they have not yet done. Company spokesman Jeffrey Carleton is equally dissembling when he states that the plant has experienced "significant reduction in CO2 emissions. " He says absolutely nothing about the SO3 (Sulphur trioxide) emissions which cause the purple stain across the sky on so many occasions. And in stating that that company won an award for the conversion in 1995, he, too, conveniently overlooks the problems - and the lack of awards - since then. However, one could expect this sort of reaction from two company salesmen; after all, there are still people out there whose job it is to promote cigarettes.
I was far more disappointed in the other two people who were quoted in the article. Dalhousie Business Improvement Development Corporation Coordinator Eileen Walsh and Dalhousie Economic Development Committee President (and retired NB Power employee) Bob Hickey should both know better. They are both community leaders and are supposed to have their fingers on the pulse of the whole community. Obviously they have not been talking to many of the same people who make it a point to talk to me about the issue. Obviously, too, they do not read this space - or they think that I am merely writing what I do about Orimulsion to while away the hours of my retirement.
I do have to wonder how much homework either of them has done on the topic. I venture to say that they do not have files to compare with those that litter my own office, scientific papers, records of protests from countries all over the world against the implementation of Orimulsion burning, medical reports on the hazards associated with its burning and so on.
My final spanking has to be reserved for TJ reporter Tracy Carr. As I understand it, he or she is supposed to be our correspondent; I would like to remind this reporter that one of the most basic tenets of professional journalism is to do the homework and get the facts straight.
Mike Lushington, Dalhousie