Find common ground on pipe proposal

Opinion

To the Editor:

Concerning “the mill” and some associated activities and comments, I suggest we do something simple: start with things almost all of us agree on or can agree on.

First, I think almost everyone wants the mill to remain open. It provides some 300-plus jobs, which pay for a lot of things: dining out, new cars, hockey equipment, games and activities, dance lessons and costumes, travel.

Second, Donald Trump-like ultimatums such as “No Pipe = No Mill” are not helpful nor do they make any useful contribution to the discussion. In my opinion, whoever signed off on that “bumper sticker” should either be fired or replaced. My response to such ultimatums would be “Nationalize it” and let the owners – whoever they may be – take a tax write-off. Or do they pay any taxes anywhere?

Third, there is enough blame to go around from owners to government at all levels.

Some things we may disagree on:

• The competence or incompetence of 50 years by the top management of the mill.

• The competence or incompetence of 50 years of provincial government.

• The impact or non-impact of the mill and the effluent on local and regional environments and economics.

I suggest some very simple experiments.

• Take the concentration of the effluent as described in the 2017 handout and dilute it by a factor of 100 to 1. (You can do this on paper). Take that to your family doctor, or any MD and ask: would it be OK if I drank eight glasses of this every day?

• Take the concentration of the effluent to a dermatologist, or to several dermatologists, and ask: Would it be OK if I showered or bathed in this every day? Would it be OK if I bathed my children in this every day?

Doctors know a bit more about organic chemistry that the typical chemical engineer.

A friend and associate suggested the following experiment:

• Get a large tub or barrel (I would suggest an unused swimming pool). Fill it with sea water from the Strait, and then add the above diluted level of effluent. Next, add a few frogs, a few live lobsters, some fish from the Strait, some other forms of seafood natural to the Strait. Add an aerator, so the live objects don’t suffocate. Now, watch. If nothing dies, maybe the effluent isn’t harmful… if things start to die, maybe it is harmful.

Eugene McManus

Caribou Island Road