MACRO: What laws and economic drivers produce (or undercut) civic data infrastructure, access, work and capacity in this setting?

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June 7, 2021

This report from Ecojustice shows a decline in air pollution compared to Ecojustice's first report released in 2007 for the area around Chemical Valley, yet Sarnia industries continue "to release far more pollution, and in particular far more SO2 , than comparable U.S. refineries." One contributor to the continued excessive emissions is Ontario's lagging air quality standards. The report notes that "Ontario’s AAQC and air quality standards are lagging behind current science on the health impacts of air pollutants, which may put the health of residents at risk." The report highlights pollutants where Ontario's standard is above the national standard or where Ontario has no standard at all. Additionally, Sarnia's benzene emissions are exempt from Ontario's health-based standard for this chemical and are instead regulated by  "an industry technical-based standard" allowing benzene levels to be far higher than the health-based standard. The lagging, lack of, or exemption from regulation undercut efforts in monitoring and reducing emissions to a "safe" level as what is considered "safe" by standards is out of line with what is considered "safe" by health and other standards.

Tim Schütz's picture
October 21, 2020

When attending court hearings related to the Formosa Plastics Naphtha Cracker case, sociologist Paul Jobin frequently creates his own drawings. The drawings are necessary for legal reasons, since the court does neither permit audio recordings or photography, but written transcripts are allowed. The illustrations serve as supplements to the written notes, but also as devices to focus his attention on both interactions and language use. As civic data, the drawings point to the legal regimes that govern the creation of (legal) data in Taiwan and elsewhere.