This Blog will discuss politics, government, corruption, police, S.I.U., courts, education, min. of attorney general, min. of labour, v.o.i.c.e. and other current and past events of interest to concerned citizens. In the "About me" section to the right and down I have included the names of persons whom I have tremendous respect for. Their influence on me however has been primarily environmental (and personal) and this is therefore a disclaimer that all words posted on this Blog/Website are mine and I alone am responsible for them. I say this with the greatest respect and affection to my friends.
Monday, September 30, 2019
ELMIRA WATER WOES: THE TRIUMPH OF CORRUPTION, DECEIT, AND CITIZEN BETRAYAL
87 ....Henry, the Quiet Heart and Soul of Public Participation
91.....Have I Been Suckered
Henry, the Quiet Heart and Soul of Public Participation
I want to share another of Dr. Henry Regier’s treatises this one dated November 19, 2007 titled, “What Goes Around, Comes Around.” In hindsight I certainly chuckle at Dr. Regier’s choice of title. Ms. Mclean and Ms. Bryant got a taste of their own medicine in 2011 although none of us could possibly have known that in late 2007 and early 2008. Ms. Bryant and Ms. McLean were somewhat restored onto the committee dealing with Chemtura/Lanxess in 2015 namely TAG, but they have not had any in-charge position since 2010.
"WHAT GOES AROUND, COMES AROUND.
Henry Regier, 19 November 2007
Please note: The contents of this aide memoire relate to the soil and water aspects associated with Naugatuck-Uniroyal Chemical-Crompton-Chemtura site over the decades and not, in any obvious way, to surface water and stream-related issues, to atmospheric issues, to accidents on site etc.
The current mini-crisis at CPAC concerning Alan Marshall's steadfastness in his ethical commitments may have echoes from an earlier crisis about fifteen years ago. At that earlier crisis, Alan and some of his colleagues were boldly and rudely confrontational, BARC, in their campaign to correct the environmental abuses above, on, under, near and down-gradient of the Naugatuck-Uniroyal Chemical-Crompton-Chemtura site. Alan was originally a member of APTE which had more members who were politely if resolutely persuasive, PIRP, in their behaviour.
Alan and Rich Clausi, once members of APTE, teamed up with an out-of-town activist, Pat Potter, who had a richly deserved BARC reputation. She started her activism at Brock University where, about 30 years ago, she and colleague Mike Dickman sucessfully sued the government for not enforcing anti-pollution laws against a chemical plant which was polluting the Welland River near St. Catherines. So Alan and Rich with Esther Thur, and eventually I, joined Pat Potter's Environmental Hazards Team.
Pat Potter was much appreciated by the experts and activists working under the aegis of the International Joint Commission remediating Areas of Concern. For example, she and colleagues created a map of contaminated hot spots in the Grand Valley none of which had been designated as an Area of Concern under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. Technocrats working in government agencies and municipal councillors in company towns like Elmira may have been unenthusiastic about her BARCing behaviour.
There may still be members of CPAC who find Alan's BARCing insufferable. I don't; rather I find him a loveable and considerate person but one who simply won't tolerate unethical injustices nor the behaviour of credentialed persons who work to impede recognition and correction of such injustices.(Generally, technocrats ignore the issue of injustice.) Some members of our municipal government may still be comfortable with the waning features of old governance traditions of Elmira as a "company town". (This clearly wouldn't include Sylvia Berg who, years ago, as a municipal councillor combated the company.) Since the 1940s, Elmira has been-to a gradually diminishing degree-a company town "managed" to an important if diminishing extent by our branch plant of an American multi-national corporation. To refer openly to this rather obvious and odious fact is taken to be rude in Elmira's polite society, into which I was never inducted,alas.
The approach of some of the municipal old guard (emphatically not all) has been to "Manage the contaminant issue politically", for example , by trying to keep information about the contaminant issue out of the media and out of the public eye. Also most of them choose to remain uninformed about the issue, perhaps to safeguard a commitment to "plausible deniability" in case any serious accident were to occur. "I was never informed and, in any case, I have no legal responsibility.") For these folks, Alan's BARCing may be particularly offensive. Hence an interest by some to get him off CPA?
Some members of APTE with PIRP predilictions have found Wilf Ruland's way of operating congenial. Wilf, who lives near Dundas, has an advanced degree in hydrology from the University of Waterloo where he studied with the justly reputed John Cherry. Wilf has been an on-again, off-again consultant with CPAC for some 15 years. His service on particular soil and water issues have usually been triggered by Susan Bryant as the leader of APTE. Perhaps Susan brought in Wilf, on occasion, to trump the advice that the other members of the S & W SubCttee generated through intense discussions. I have never seen a document that specifies Wilf's responsibilities at Elmira and I don't know how his services are assessed for purposes of compensation.
Though I was raised as a PIRP and have no real talent for BARC behaviour, I have had trouble understanding and relating to Wilf's modus operandi. In a PIRP -kind of way, Wilf may have his own rude and insulting features. It seems to me that his role could have been to assist the S & W sub-Cttee, to complement the combined expertise and understanding of its members and to correct inevitable mistakes during prior discussion and then to help make the SubCttee's case more reliable and credible at CPAC. But he has seldom played a role like that. During CPAC meetings he has distanced himself from the oral contributions of Fred Hager, Alan Marshall and myself as members of that SubCttee, and has taken alternative positions; but not always. Usually he has not interacted directly with us (i.e. Fred, Alan and me) and may not even have read our written documentation prepared for CPAC. He seems to be confident that his opinion trumps that of the SubCttee and its individual members. In his interventions at CPAC it has sometimes been obvious that he had less knowledge than Fred and Alan about details of the contaminated complex of pits, groundwater, aquifers and aquitards. So his main role as consultant/advisor to CPAC seems not to have been to focus on the technical details of the contaminant problem. Instead it seems to have served as a kind of "all-round kind of fixer". From on-going interactions with MOE and consultant technocrats in various contexts and his experience with "management" of other contaminated lands and waters, he has some informal understanding of the real-time conventions related to practical, legal and bureaucratic aspects on problems like those we have with soil and water contamination in Elmira. Perhaps in an attempt to cajole a cooperative stance on the part of the technocrats, his modus operandi seems to be to stop any BARCing by Alan or me and to speak soothingly to any MOE or Company technocrat that might feel affronted. Perhaps he tries to use his pragmatic expertise to finesse incrementally more thorough and better action jointly by MOE and the Company concerning contaminants than would be the case than what one or more CPAC members could achieve on their own. If perish the thought!, there happened to be a struggle of personal wills between personalities with PIRP versus others with BARC predilictions on CPAC, then Wilf could be hired to buttress the interests of those with PIRP behaviour and trump what the BARC scoundrels had to say.
One of the differences in past years between the PIRP and the BARC factions on the S & W SubCttee related to the long-term fate of the contaminants under the site of the Company's plant. Regardless of what MOE's Control Order stipulated, PIRP members in APTE only committed to containment of extant contaminants within a volume of aquifers and aquitards below the ground water layer and within the geographic and lateral boundaries of the site. BARC members campaigned for containment plus physical removal (source removal) of contaminated hotspots such as pools of DNAPL where that could be done in a cost-effective way, i.e. if it would not bankrupt the Company. Years ago John Cherry, Wilf's mentor in graduate school, had sided with the containment option but more recently Cherry and his colleague Beth Parker have campaigned publicly for source removal, as above. With this change of mind by Cherry and Parker, CPAC's PIRP members, and perhaps Wilf as well, may be in a gradual change of mind process on this point. That Alan Marshall has been correct on this point all these years may not have endeared Alan to the PIRPs.
Coming to the near past, my membership in CPAC lapsed last year and I have not tried to stay current with all that has been happening since then. I sat in on a CPAC meeting a couple of months ago where the issue of selecting wells to monitor the effects of pumping of onsite wells as part of the containment commitment came up for discussion. At that time Eric Hodgins intervened orally with comments about selection of monitoring wells. Pat McLean as Chair permitted me to make a comment along the following lines: "In view of the hydrological complexity under the site, inappropriate (perhaps intentional) selection of wells could lead to misleading or meaningless data; proper selection was a difficult task." But it seems that the Company proceeded carelessly, i.e. without due diligence, in this responsibility, as Alan found when he looked carefully at the wells that the Company had subsequently proposed and had endorsed by the Ministry. That the Ministry did not exercise due diligence in this case seems obvious. Due diligence is both a legal issue and a responsibility of professional ethics.
Interesting things happened with respect to CPAC dynamics since then. I don't know all of the details. One that I found particularly surprising was that a CPAC meeting was convened to which Alan was deliberately not invited; any decision bys uch a meeting would presumably be set aside if Alan were to appeal under due process considerations, if due process conventions are of any concern to other CPAC members. Also the Ministry was apparently advised that CPAC had no objections to the Company's proposed monitoring wells when Alan clearly had objections; the Ministry issued a Certificate of Approval forthwith. So Alan chose to refer the issue for official review. Taking into consideration the way Alan has been treated by some members of CPAC and by Wilf Ruland and that the Ministry had signed the Certificate of Approval, I may well have supported Alan's decision to go for official review, had he asked me.
With respect to Alan's appeal for an official review, he invited me to sit in on two meetings concerning the specific and general shortcomings that he found in the details of the signed Certificate of Approval: one meeting on October 30 at Chemtura and one in the Municipal Council Chambers on November 13. I noted some interesting parallels:
-Pat McLean assumed the chair/convenor role in the first meeting and Wilf Ruland assumed the chair/convenor role in the second meeting. In view of the fact that each had publicly exhibited animus toward Alan I wondered how each could imagine the s/he could fairly exercise the responsibilities of a chair. Perhaps they had no such intention? And, in my judgement, on balance these meetings were conducted unfairly toward Alan.
-Immediately after a meeting got started, the convenor began to interfere in Alan's occasional BARCing though every person present must already have been inured to it because of past experience. So I wondered whether these continued interventions were intended, in part, to harass Alan in order to disorient him.
-After Alan got through the first two items on his agenda, which took about an hour at each meeting, each convenor tried to end the meeting. At least, their behaviours were like that typical of a chair/convenor at the close of a meeting. I wondered whether the convenors were trying to achieve a token compromise: give Alan a few face-saving crumbs in return for his withdrawal of his appeal. Of course Alan ignored the end-of-meeting shuffle of papers and glance at the clock., and proceeded with the remaining items of his agenda.
-A difference between the convenors: Wilf Ruland had met previously with Alan to examine Alan's objections in detail and said or implied that some of Alan's points might merit further consideration by the Company and Ministry, so I understand from Alan. So at the second meeting Wilf tried to wheedle concurrence from the Company and Ministry that some of what Alan had to say could be accommodated, perhaps by incremental revisions of the signed Certificate of Approval. I saw some body English on the part of some Company persons indicating modest interest but none on the part of the Ministry.
-At the first meeting after the first two items of Alan's agenda had been processed, the convenor suggested that the Company's Consultants consider Alan's arguments and provide information in response. I didn't hear whether she specified a time for delivery of such comments. The Company's new plant manager, Dmitri Makaros, was sitting beside me, and he interjected that the Company would also need to have those comments. I don't know the current status of any such comments.
-At the end of the first meeting, when Alan had completed most of his agenda, the convenor looked angry and flushed while she tried to conclude the meeting by re-iterating a request that the Company respond to Alan's first two agenda items, and continued with emphasis that the comments were intended for Alan. At this point Sandy Shantz intervened with a question about the status of Alan's remaining items; I didn't hear the convenor's response to Sandy Shantz, if in fact the convenor made a response.
-At the second meeting, in spite of some apparent effort by the convenor to get at least a few incremental improvements in some details in the Certificate of Approval and of some apparent interest on the part of one of the Company's Consultants, any positive responsiveness withered as Alan continued. His demeanour on this occasion was less pronouncedly BARK-like than has sometimes been the case in CPAC meetings. About two hours after the meeting began, the convenor called a break. During the break the Company and its consultants seemed to have made a decision to stonewall the whole "settlement" issue, as was also the case with the Ministry. I don't know whether the Company, its Consultants and the Ministry consulted during the break: perhaps only a word or two in passing, if that. Later Alan stormed out of the meeting whereupon one of the Company's Consultants smiled broadly and the other looked pleasantly relieved. The convenor made a brief comment across the room to one of the Company persons, perhaps he said "I tried." The Company person responded with a friendly nod.
-Retrospectively comparing and contrasting what happened at these two meetings, I wonder whether the two convenors had:
-planned a joint strategy to arrogate the role of chair;
-tried to contain, harass and perhaps disorient Alan;
-tried to limit the agenda of the meeting to only the first two or three items of Alan's agenda;
-tried to induce the Company and Ministry to respond favourably though only incrementally, to Alan's shortened list of concerns; and
-to induce Alan to withdraw his appeal.
-If the above was the convenors' joint strategy, then Wilf in particular failed. Perhaps it was this failure which has irked Wilf most since it may relate to his future "saleability" as an "all-around fixer who can reliably deliver the goods".
So now I list some questions that may be worth considering:
1. Is there a power struggle between dominance -seeking personalities on CPAC that needs remediative attention?
2. Is any lack of commitment to due process on the part of a Chair of any interest to CPAC members?
3. What have been the terms of Wilf Ruland's consultancy role with respect to CPAC's/Woolwich concerns about soil-and-ground-water contamination in and around Elmira, and who holds Wilf Ruland accountable for services rendered?
4. With consideration of how due process and other democratic conventions of CPAC have become "abridged" increasingly over recent years, culminating in the recent mess, was Alan justified in his official appeal?
5. In view of the fact that the Ministry has repeatedly, with some exceptions, signed off on studies and proposals based on technical information that was obviously "extremely imperfect", does the Ministry have a written protocol concerning which kinds of issues it finds relatively important for which due diligence with respect to information "reliability" is practiced and others that are low priority for which information "reliablity" can be ignored? What specifically do their commitments to due diligence mean in this context?
6. Considering the way Pat McLean and Wilf Ruland inserted themselves into the Settlement meeting procedures and then "managed" them, were those meetings actually valid?
7. More broadly has the Company's change in plant managers brought with it changes to past commitments by a previous plant manager? I sensed behaviour on the part of the Company's representatives at these meetings that seemed different from what they used to be, say two years ago. Perhaps commitments to technical excellence have been relaxed?"
I am completely in agreement with the overall findings and significant attitudes as presented by Henry Regier in his treatise. I felt that at both meetings members were strongly biased and that there were no serious attempts to resolve any problem. I believe that the various guilty parties from Pat McLean, Susan Bryant, CRA, Chemtura and the MOE had already decided their strategy and it simply entailed some window dressing in order to sell to the general public and the media the reasons for removing the best informed and by far most knowledgeable CPAC member. I do have two comments however. First Dr. Regier’s kind words for Sylvia Berg were based upon her later public, excellent, and critical comments towards Uniroyal and Crompton on matters such as the LNAPL pool floating on the water table as well as on other issues. Henry was not living in Elmira in late 1993 and January 1994 when Sylvia successfully inspired the departure of three outstanding members from APT Environment namely Richard Clausi, Esther Thur, and me. That nasty behaviour critically damaged both APT as well as the public interest, and hurt the three.
Second, I do respect the timing of Henry’s treatise of November 19, 2007. It is possible that my recollection of the two meetings, the one at Chemtura and the second in Council Chambers with several council members, is different to Henry’s on some details. For example, while either Pat McLean or Wilf Ruland could have chaired the meeting at Chemtura, I am surprised if Wilf Ruland had actually chaired. I remember being in council chambers, and that the meeting was to ostensibly mediate a peaceful settlement between myself and CPAC. It is also possible that Henry is describing a different, second meeting in council chambers rather than the one that I have described in Chapter Nine. Unless further honest evidence clarifies this, I will accept Henry’s more immediate written recollections.
Henry after adding his observations and opinions into the mix in early November 2007, then wrote another treatise in early April 2008 after Woolwich Council councillors Murray Martin, Sandy Shantz and mayor Bill Strauss made their Chemtura-centric decision to remove me from CPAC. Later, facts elucidate that old joke about not knowing who is on each team without a written roster.
I have always enjoyed Dr. Regier’s writing as well as his observations of people’s adherence to democratic institutions and protocols. I suspect that I’ve always taken them for granted and really never realized that there are individuals for whom rules and procedures are simply tools to use to avoid informed debate. Henry provides an assessment of the manipulation and deception that went on within CPAC and UPAC for many years. His descriptions of Ms. McLean’s and Ms. Bryant’s bizarre behaviours are particularly informative and eye- opening. His much quicker than mine understanding that an executive committee of some kind had usurped the authority of CPAC is an indication of his superior understanding of how a minority of individuals who are so willing and intent can manipulate a larger body to their will. Dr. Regier is a scientist with the heart of both a humanist and a political scientist. He knows what is and what is not proper. Speaking of Dr. Regier's humanity, he made a very rare mistake. The University of Waterloo professors were Dr. Beth Parker as Henry stated however it was Dr. John Cherry not John Power.
Individuals with brass and nerve along with a shortage of ethics and morals really have no problem with deceiving and manipulating larger groups of people. I believe that most of us are inherently decent and honest in our interrelationships and respect the truth. Those for whom the truth is flexible and who believe that lying is simply a method to obtain their goals think nothing of lying. The smarter ones are careful and can go for incredible lengths of time while manipulating facts and people constantly. They especially know how to say what seems like the right things, in front of the right people, at the right times. They are essentially politicians who are always searching for ways to get and keep their positions of power and influence. They are masters of conning people and take quiet pride in those accomplishments. Most normal people would be appalled and ashamed to behave in such a manner.