Pollution export

Published: Friday 31 March 2006

The Ontario government recently filed a complaint with the us Environmental Protection Agency. It has criticised proposals it believes will lead to more pollution on the Canadian side of the border from thermal power plants in midwestern us states.

The Ontario environment ministry said that the us government intended to weaken emission control on coal-burning power plants. It claimed that proposals to its new source review under the Clean Air Act would allow some older power plants to skirt mandatory pollution controls when they make upgrades or modifications. This would lead to more smog in the Canadian province.

There are 1,300 coal-burning power plants in the us. Environmentalists and critics say their emmissions contribute to acid rain and global warming. More than half of the air pollution in Ontario originates in the us, in particular from the electricity industry.

A 2005 provincial study showed that air pollution causes nearly us $8.6 billion in total damages to Ontario, including us $5.7 billion in health costs.

Air pollution from us coal-fired generators is hurting Ontario's health, and the people of this province are counting on our neighbours to do better, said Ontario Environment Minister Laurel Broten.

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