Great Lakes Article:
Eves urged to press for wider risk assessment of underwater
COLIN PERKEL: Canadian Press
Posted: September 09, 2002
TORONTO (CP) - A scheduled review of the environmental
risks posed by an underwater cable that would transmit
power from Canada's worst air polluter to the U.S. ignores
serious potential health hazards, an environmental group
The 140-km cable under Lake Erie would link the Nanticoke
coal-fired generating station with U.S. markets, allowing
for an increase in power exports and hence an increase
in air pollution, critics say. "The Americans will get
the electricity, people in southern Ontario and Quebec
will breathe the fumes," said Jack Gibbons of the Ontario
Clean Air Alliance.
A just-released draft of what the National Energy
Board's environmental assessment of the submarine cable
will cover shows the board has no intention of looking
at air quality.
Instead, the review will focus only on the direct
impact of laying the cable under the lake.
Hydro One, the province's publicly owned electricity
transmission utility, has acknowledged concerns over
increased air pollution.
However, it has refused to request that the energy
board broaden its impact assessment of the cable.
In a letter to the alliance this week, Hydro One president
Tom Parkinson said a wider review would be unnecessary.
"Hydro One recognizes that emissions are a concern
of the Ontario Clean Air Alliance," Parkinson wrote.
"However, I do not believe that the environmental
assessment of the Lake Erie link itself warrants a wholesale
review of generation effects and emissions across the
In light of the company's refusal, the alliance planned
to call on Ontario Premier Ernie Eves on Friday to order
Hydro One to ask the board to take air pollution into
account in its review.
The board has the authority to do so under the Canadian
Environmental Assessment Act and would surely agree
if asked, said Gibbons.
A spokesman for Eves said the premier was unable to
comment because he had not yet heard from the alliance
on the issue.
The Ontario Medical Association has called smog a
"public health crisis" in the province, and reported
that 1,900 Ontarians a year die prematurely from breathing
"Hydro One knows its actions are going to further
degrade air quality in Ontario," said Gibbons.
"Yet it wants to go ahead without an examination of
how many more people would be hurt if the Nanticoke
submarine cable is constructed."