Quebec cement industry urges federal government to ensure proposed Port-Daniel-Gascons cement plant not bypass any applicable fisheries, navigation and environmental regulations

OTTAWA, March 10, 2014 /CNW/ - Drawing attention to potential risks to the lobster fishery industry in Gaspesie, the Cement Association of Canada (CAC) today urged the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, the Honourable Gail Shea, the Minister of Transport, the Honourable Lisa Raitt, and the Minister of the Environment, the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, to ensure that the proposed project for a new cement plant in Port-Daniel-Gascons, Quebec not be allowed to bypass any applicable federal processes and regulations.

According to media reports, the proposed project includes the construction of a marine terminal in an area that is known to support a commercial lobster fishery. Under federal law, any work, undertaking or activity that results in serious harm to fish or other aquatic species that are part of a commercial fishery must obtain a formal authorization under the Fisheries Act. In addition, any proposed work that could interfere with navigation must be reviewed and approved by the Minister of Transport under the Navigable Waters Protection Act prior to its construction.

"We urge the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and the Minister of Transport to make sure that all appropriate actions are taken to protect the lobster fishery industry and the navigation in the area", said Michael MCSweeney, President and CEO of the CAC. "We also call on the Minister of the Environment to ensure that a proper process will be undertaken to assess whether the project should be subject to a federal environmental assessment."

"This is an issue of responsibility and fair play for our Quebec members, who are extremely committed to sustainable manufacturing and who pride themselves on meeting and exceeding the environmental requirements established at the federal and provincial levels", continued Mr. MCSweeney. "Gaspesians have the same rights to be protected from potential environmental damage from large industrial projects as anyone else in the country, and their health is as important."

Since the Government of Quebec announced on January 31 its decision to invest nearly half a billion dollars in a new cement plant in Port-Daniel-Gascons, the CAC has repeatedly expressed extreme concern that the massive investment of public funds unlevels the playing field for Quebec cement manufacturers from a financial  perspective and – should the new plant be exempt from the usual analysis and comprehensive process of consultation with environmental matters (BAPE) –  from an environmental perspective.  The investment of public funds in the proposed project, which has been seen by many as being politically motivated, also takes place at a time when Quebec's cement producers have been running at just 60% of their annual production capacity for several years, a situation which is expected to continue into the next decade.

About the Cement Association of Canada

The Cement Association of Canada is the voice of the Canadian cement industry and a significant contributor to the country's economy and infrastructure. The industry provides a reliable domestic supply of cement, which is needed for building Canada's infrastructure. The members of the CAC manufacture cement and concrete products in an environmentally responsible manner. The CAC's member companies in Quebec are: Ciment Québec, Colacem Canada, Holcim Canada and Lafarge Canada.

SOURCE Cement Association of Canada

For further information: Michel Binette, Vice-President, Legal, Public and Government Affairs, Cement Association of Canada, T: 418.527.3973; Lyse Teasdale, Director, Communications, Cement Association of Canada, T: 613.236.9471 ext. 211