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Great Lakes Article:

Data show Ontario's coal-fired plants have to go

July 17, 2002

TORONTO (CP) -- An Ontario coal-fired generating station is Canada's worst single source of air pollution, spewing more chemicals into the air than do four provinces, a report released Wednesday shows.
 Based on federal data, the report by the Ontario Clean Air Alliance shows the Nanticoke plant on the shore of Lake Erie emits more air pollution than each of Saskatchewan, New Brunswick, Manitoba or Nova Scotia.

 The Nanticoke plant alone is responsible for six per cent of all air pollution in Canada, 13 per cent in Ontario, according to the data from Environment Canada's national pollutant release inventory.
 Figures show Nanticoke produced 7,640 tonnes of toxic pollutants in 2000, the latest year for which data are available.
 Among those pollutants are numerous chemicals that are known health and environmental hazards.
 They include arsenic and mercury, potent neuro-toxins, sulphuric and hydrochloric acid, key causes of acid rain, and chromium and nickel, which can cause cancer and birth defects.
 The plant also produces dioxins and furans, both among the most carcinogenic chemicals known, the report found.
 Ontario Power Generation, the province's publicly owned generating utility, insists it is meeting all regulations set out by the province and is installing equipment to reduce some of its toxic emissions.
 But Jack Gibbons, of the clean air alliance, said that proves the province needs much tougher laws.
 "The regulatory regime is just not strict enough," said Gibbons.
 "They're very weak regulations that allow (Ontario Power Generation) to emit excessive amounts of pollutants that are causing a very serious public health hazard."
 Environment Minister Chris Stockwell was not available to comment.
 Although he has labelled the amount of pollution caused by Ontario's five coal-fired plants as "insignificant" compared to those in the northeastern United States, he has also said the province needs the plants.
 Shutting them down would cause power shortages, Stockwell has said, although he conceded that eventually, they should be phased out.
 Stockwell has also said deregulation of electricity generation will encourage the building of new, cleaner plants and promote environmentally friendly sources of generation, such as wind and solar power.
 Gibbons said the province can't afford to sit back and wait for that to happen.
 "Deregulation by itself isn't going to solve the problem," said Gibbons.
 "We're hoping now that (Stockwell) will develop a firm timetable for phasing out the coal plants and develop a strategy for doing it."
 Last year, former environment minister Elizabeth Witmer directed that Lakeview, another generating plant, would have to stop burning coal by spring 2005 or shut down.
 "That's what we need to do with the four other coal-fired power plants, starting with Nanticoke," said Gibbons.
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