McGuinty Government Closes Lakeview Generating Station For Cleaner Air And Better Health
Closing Lakeview Eliminates GTA's Biggest Polluter
MISSISSAUGA -- Closing Ontario's first coal-fired generating station is a historic step that will clean up the air Ontarians breathe, said Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty.
"We've shut down the single-biggest source of air pollution in the Greater Toronto Area," said Premier McGuinty. "We're closing Lakeview for good -- for good air, for good health and for the good of Ontario families."
Lakeview is the first of Ontario's five coal-fired generating stations to close under the government's coal-replacement plan. Closing Lakeview means eliminating 26 per cent of the sulphur dioxide and eight per cent of the nitrogen oxide emissions in the Greater Toronto Area -- or the equivalent of removing 500,000 cars from the road. It will also eliminate over two million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions and represents an important part of Canada's response to Kyoto.
A study released this week revealed the hidden health and environmental costs of coal-fired generation. The study found a relationship between air pollution and coal-fired emissions and up to 668 premature deaths, 928 hospital admissions and 1,100 emergency room visits in Ontario per year.
"The true cost of using coal to create electricity is unacceptably high. Burning coal increases air pollution that contributes to incidence of premature deaths, increased asthma symptoms, smog, and it adds huge amounts of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere," Energy Minister Dwight Duncan said. "Our plan to phase out coal will reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Canada by 30 megatonnes a year -- more than all the greenhouse gases produced by either Manitoba or New Brunswick."
"This is a good day for the health of our patients," said Dr. John Rapin, President of the Ontario Medical Association. "Ontario's doctors treat those who suffer the effects of air pollution and we're pleased that such a significant source of this pollution is being shut down."
The McGuinty government is pursuing a range of power generation alternatives, including refurbishing nuclear plants and increasing natural gas and renewable generation capacity to ensure Ontario has a reliable energy supply.
The government has contracted for 2,000 megawatts of new supply from renewable energy, cleaner natural gas generation and demand management projects. It is also developing conservation programs and agreements with neighbouring provinces to import hydroelectric power.
"By seeking alternatives to coal, we're clearing the air and building a healthier Ontario, now and for the future," said Premier McGuinty. "We're creating a quality of life for Ontarians that's second to none."