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E-M:/ Hamilton(Ontario) Spectator article regarding Ontario's coal-fired power plants-fyi



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Nanticoke to close by 2015 
Environment Minister Chris Stockwell says all five coal-fired plants in
Ontario to go 
By Richard Brennan
Torstar News Service 
The Conservative government will close the Nanticoke power plant and the
province's four other coal-fired plants in its battle against growing air
pollution, Environment Minister Chris Stockwell promised yesterday.

"In 2015 I will guarantee that those five will be closed," said Stockwell,
who is attending a two-day Tory caucus retreat.

But the target still falls far short of the 2007 date announced by Liberal
Leader Dalton McGuinty who said Ontario can wait no longer given the
worsening state of the air in southern Ontario, which had a record number of
smog days this summer.

"We can't put up with the number of smog days that we've seen," Liberal MPP
Caroline Di Cocco (Sarnia-Lambton) said yesterday.

"We have the technology. We understand what coal-fired plants do to our air.
Now we have to have the political will and the courage to do it as quickly
as we can ... because it is the cost of human lives."

Premier Ernie Eves said a 2007 date was a fantasy target that could not be
attained without putting a lot of people out of work, while Stockwell
"guaranteed" that if that were to happen, then there would be brownouts and
blackouts across the province because there wouldn't be enough power
generated.

"This pie in the sky stuff ... is just that. It's Tinkerbell on a bed
post,'' Eves said, referring to the fairy in the storybook tale Peter Pan.

Stockwell said these five plants produce up to 40 per cent of the power and
could not possibly be taken off-line in less than five years. He described
the Liberal plan as "bogus."

"I will guarantee if they close the coal-fired plants in 2007, areas of this
province will be without power, including hospitals, seniors homes and
individuals," he said.

Stockwell said 2015 would give the province a longer time line to get
proposed natural gas power plants up and running and even more green power
onto the grid, and possibly build another natural gas pipeline to meet the
demand.

He claims that currently there isn't enough natural gas to shut the
coal-fired plants and convert them to natural gas.

Air pollution in southern Ontario is becoming an increasing problem for the
Ontario government with environmentalists and the Ontario Medical
Association clamouring for something to be done since it directly
contributes to about 1,500 deaths a year.

The giant Nanticoke plant on Lake Erie is the largest polluter in the
country.

"I am not going to deny that the air is not good," Stockwell said.

Stockwell said there needs to be some initiative on the U.S. side to reduce
pollution from its many coal-fired plants that drifts into Ontario air
space. About 50 per cent of the pollution in the province comes from the
States.

"With 73 plants in Ohio and 200 in the northeast (United States), it's just
not these (Ontario) coal-fired plants that are creating the smog, so we have
to do some negotiations with the federal government and with the United
States to see if they can close them down."

Stockwell insists the Tory government is the only one to put a plan in place
to start closing these plants, noting that the Lakeview power plant must be
closed down by 2005.

Education Minister Elizabeth Witmer, who is a former environment minister,
said air pollution in southern Ontario is "a big problem.

"It's an environmental issue but it is also an economic issue and it is one
that is going to take a considerable amount of planning, but certainly I
think we need to do everything we can in the province of Ontario ... to
reduce the impact of the air quality," said the former environment minster.

"Despite the fact that 50 per cent of the bad air comes from the United
States, I believe we need to aggressively as possible do everything we can
to improve the air quality in this province," she said.


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