I am impressed by Kamloops Domtar Mill Manager Eric Ashby's willingness to engage with me on this issue of a further extension for the mill's air quality permit compliance work. What he and the mill's environmental lead Kristin Dangelmaier told me this past week is that the air quality work done by the Ministry of Environnment over the past two years shows that, even when the mill is fully operational, it has a very small effect on air quality in Kamloops and in the region.
It seems to me that means there it is very likely Domtar will get its extension. But, Eric and Kristin seemed to want more than just the extension. They seemed to want to demonstrate to people who might be skeptical that the mill wants to be a good environmental citizen.
Obviously, the mill trumpeting the mills record often does not come across as credible.
I shared with them my perception that even the Ministry of Environment may have a credibility problem - that the folks there are sometimes seen to be rooting or working for industry, as opposed to being squarely rooted in the public interest. This is also likely not true, but that's often the optics in my view. Government is not really seen as a neutral "honest broker" any more.
I asked them to consider finding a respected third party to verify the Ministry air quality work. I suggested the BC Lung Association as a possible organization to do this verification. I only suggested this because the lung association shows well in a google search on "bc air quality". Ther may be other organizations who are better placed, but the lung association might a place to start.