Volume 95, Issue 4

Thursday, June 14, 2001


NEWS

London's bad air is deadly: Armstrong

Bookstore branches off-campus

Program targets anti-gay violence

Premier Harris labelled murderer

News Briefs

New biotech centre founded

We're 7th best: Area health care ranks high

London's bad air is deadly: Armstrong

By Matt Barron
Gazette Writer


London may be known as the Forest City, but it still has an uphill battle to wage in order to become a healthy one.

On Monday, City Council passed a motion which could see the city moving one step closer to reducing the emissions from one of its major sources of pollution.

London's environment and transportation committee will be urging the provincial government to require Ontario Power Generation to prepare an environmental assessment of proposed smog-killing measures for its coal-fired power plant near Sarnia.

The committee is calling for a review of the plant's proposed methods of meeting pollutant emission caps, which were made mandatory by the government last year, according to ward four city councillor Bill Armstrong.

“Things cannot go on as they have in the past, because, the fact is, people are dying as a result of air pollution,” Armstrong said. “Municipalities have to send messages to other government levels and those levels have to show leadership.”

Ontario Clean Air Alliance, a coalition of a number of provincial environmental organizations, is calling for reductions in emissions, such as mercury, several carcinogens and greenhouse gases, said Ken Odilvie, executive director of Pollution Probe, a member of the OCAA.

“There are targets to cut [smog and acid-rain producing] gases, but none for mercury or greenhouse gases,” he explained. Last year, the province introduced emission caps for major smog and acid-rain producing gases, which are emitted by the Lambton county plant and others in Ontario. The Lambton plant in Sarnia is a major contributor to smog in London, Odilvie added.

Emissions from the Lambton plant are swept along westerly winds to London and other parts of Southwestern Ontario, according to Odilvie, adding 50% of London's pollution also comes from the United States.

“London is in a geographical position to have bad air quality,” he added. The mandatory conversion of OPG's coal-fired plant in Lakeview, Ontario — a major contributor to Toronto's smog problem — to natural gas by 2005 was announced by the province earlier this spring, said Mark Rabbior, spokesperson for the Ministry of the Environment.

Odilvie said the government has made no commitment to convert OPG plants to natural gas beyond the Lakeview location.

Rabbior could not confirm whether there is a mandate to halt coal emissions from the other OPG plants.


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