Environment Hamilton (EH) was incorporated as a not-for-profit organization in 2001 to help Hamiltonians to develop the knowledge and skills they need to protect and enhance the environment around them. The organization emerged out of the efforts of a small group of citizens from east Hamilton who launched an investigation to ensure the City of Hamilton's old Rennie Street Landfill was properly cleaned up.
Working with the Sierra Legal Defence Fund, and the Environmental Bureau of Investigation, charges were laid against the City of Hamilton for allowing toxic substances such as PCBs and other contaminants to discharge from the dump directly into the Red Hill Creek. The City entered a guilty plea to the charges and was fined over $480,000 under both provinical and federal legislation.
The sum of $150,000 came back to the citizens via a fine-sharing provision in the federal Fisheries Act. Some of that provided seed money for the launch of Environment Hamilton and a substantial portion is managed by the organization as an Environmental Justice Fund.
The organization's official launch took place on December 5, 2001 with the assistance of the president of the Waterkeeper Alliance, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., and the Lake Ontario Waterkeeper Mark Mattson. It included a presentation by Mr. Kennedy to over 2000 students at Hamilton Place.
Environment Hamilton has subsequently worked on dozens of projects and activities in collaboration with a variety of funders and many local partners to build a sustainable future for Hamilton. We also work alongside residents to deal with pressing environmental issues, making frequent use of the Environmental Bill of Rights and other legal tools. Environment Hamilton is led by Executive Director Lynda Lukasik and a volunteer board of nine directors, and each project has one or more full or part-time staff.