FCSNW2018 English header

Metro Toronto Convention Centre 
255 Front St West, North Building, Toronto Ontario 
June 13-15, 2018 


 

Keynote – June 14 9 amKeynote – June 15 8: 45 am
PFAS: International Perspectives, Lessons Learned and Future Challenges in Policy, Regulation, Risk Reduction and Remediation

This panel discussion will provide international perspectives on regulating and managing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). The panel is comprised of speakers from Canadian and international governmental agencies, providing a broad perspective on PFAS policy, regulation and risk management as seen from their individual jurisdictions. Topics addressed include: current status and future vision on approaches to regulation, risk management and remediation; and regulatory/financial/technical challenges and lessons learned.

Panelists:
  • Rita Mroz, Environmental Scientist – Contaminated Sites, Environmental Protection Operations Directorate, Atlantic Region, Environment and Climate Change Canada
  • Gunnhild Preus-Olsen, Norwegian Environmental Agency
  • Representative TBC, United States Environmental Protection Agency
  • Luke McLeod, Australian Department of Environment and Energy
  • Ginny Yingling, Senior Hydrogeologist, Environmental Health Division of the Minnesota Department of Health

Moderator:
  • John Santacroce , Senior Geologist and PFAS Practice Lead in AECOM's Latham NY
FIRESTORM

Firestorm4On May 3, 2016, a rapidly spreading wildfire near Fort McMurray in northern Alberta sent 88,000 people fleeing their homes, offices, hospitals, schools, and seniors’ residences. Residents left so quickly that they were gone before the government declared a provincial state of emergency. Thick smoke turned day into night. Embers rained down on cars and trucks as people headed south to the city of Edmonton or north to the safety of oil sands camps and First Nations communities. In the days that followed, world leaders such as the Pope, the Queen and the president of Russia offered their prayers, their condolences and their support.

By the time rains and cooler temperatures helped firefighters contain the inferno, 2,800 homes and buildings were destroyed. Nearly 1.5 million acres burned. Insurance losses were expected to amount to $3.77 billion. The total cost of the fire, including financial, physical, and social factors, is likely to be $8.86 billion. The fire ended up being the costliest natural disaster in Canadian history.

Firefighters named the fire “the Beast,” because it acted like a mythical animal, alive with destructive energy and unpredictable in the way it attacked forest stands and buildings. They hoped never to see anything like it again. In light of all that has happened since then, it’s not a stretch to imagine we will all soon live in a world in which fires like this are commonplace. There is too much fuel on the ground, too many people and assets to protect, and no realistic plan to deal with the challenges.

The Beast was unquestionably a devastating fire. But many other fires have had a bigger, longer lasting impact on cities and towns, on public health, on industry and forest ecology. There is still a lot that we do not know about wildfire. Some wildfires have the potential to release toxic substances such as asbestos and arsenic that have been emitted by mines operating in times when environmental regulators were unaware of the risks. Others have the potential to knock out water treatment plants with soot and ash that choke rivers and lakes. Smoke from wildfires in the remotest parts of northern Canada can exacerbate air quality in southern cities such as Houston.

In this presentation, author Edward Struzik will identify and describe the twelve wildfires that he believes have had the biggest impact on how we perceive and deal with wildfires in a world where fires are now burning bigger, hotter, faster and more often. He will talk what communities that can do to make themselves more resilient to devastating impacts of fire. And he will end the presentation with predictions about where the next big fires are likely to burn.

Firestorm2Firestorm3Firestorm1

Edward Struzik, Fellow, Institute for Energy and Environmental Policy, Queen’s University

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Edward Struzik, Fellow, Institute for Energy and Environmental Policy, Queen’s University

Edward Struzik is a writer, photographer, adventurer, public speaker and a fellow at the Institute for Energy and Environmental Policy in the School of Policy Studies at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. For the past decade, he has been a regular contributor to Yale Environment 360, (http://e360.yale.edu/authors/ed-struzik) an international on-line magazine offering opinion, analysis, reporting and debate on global environmental issues. Yale E360 is published at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. His articles, essays and photographs appear in journals, magazines and newspapers such as Scientific American, Natural History, National Geographic Traveler, Ensia, Policy Options, Foreign Policy Review, Canadian Geographic, the Globe and Mail, National Post, and Toronto Star. Edward has earned more than 30 international and national awards for his writing and his books. Included among them are the U.S.-based Grantham Prize, which honours and encourages excellence in writing on the environment; the Sir Sandford Fleming Medal, which honours individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the understanding of science in Canada, and the Atkinson Fellowship in Public Policy. His articles, essays and photographs appear in journals, magazines and newspapers such as Scientific American, Natural History, National Geographic Traveler, Ensia, Policy Options, Foreign Policy Review, Canadian Geographic, the Globe and Mail, National Post, and Toronto Star. Edward has earned more than 30 international and national awards for his writing and his books. Included among them are the U.S.-based Grantham Prize, which honours and encourages excellence in writing on the environment; the Sir Sandford Fleming Medal, which honours individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the understanding of science in Canada, and the Atkinson Fellowship in Public Policy.