Make Cleaner Air A Cross-Border Priority: McGuinty
Ontario Spearheading Efforts To Clean Up Northeastern Air Shed
TORONTO -- Premier Dalton McGuinty is urging his colleagues on both sides of the border to join Ontario in cleaning up the air we share.
"Smog is hurting our people's health -- and they're counting on all of us to do better," said Premier McGuinty. "We've worked together on water quality for decades now. We need to apply the same regional approach to cleaning up our air."
Premier McGuinty made the remarks in a major speech to Shared Air Summit 05, a conference of leading experts from the U.S. and Canada brought together by the Premier.
He announced several steps to "provide momentum and focus," including:
- Forming a Shared Air Roundtable to provide strategic advice to the Premier on cleaning up the northeastern air shed
- Asking Attorney General Michael Bryant to investigate ways Ontario can boost its support of those U.S. states that are in legal battles with Washington over clean air
- Working to put air quality on the agenda of the next meeting of the Council of Great Lakes Governors
- Renewing Ontario's current clean air agreements with Quebec, New York, Minnesota and Michigan and striving to reach first-time agreements with other states
- Inviting the Canadian and U.S. co-chairs of the International Joint Commission to meet to discuss air quality in the northeastern air shed.
"Air pollution knows no boundaries, but neither does a good idea," Premier McGuinty said. "That's what this summit is all about -- working together across parties, across jurisdictions and across borders to find ways to clean up the air."
"Ontario is already leading the fight for cleaner air for better health," Premier McGuinty said.
McGuinty government initiatives include:
- Closing the coal-fired Lakeview Generating Station in April 2005 -- the equivalent of removing 500,000 cars from our roads
- Developing cleaner energy sources to replace coal-fired generation in Ontario
- Setting tough, new air standards for harmful pollutants
- Applying tougher smog standards to more industrial sectors
- Establishing emission limits on nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sulphur dioxide (SO2)
- Setting stricter vehicle emission limits for trucks, buses and cars
- Reducing sprawl and gridlock by investing in public transit, changing planning laws so growth occurs within existing communities and establishing the 1.8-million acre Golden Horseshoe Greenbelt.
"Look at what we've done together to improve the water quality in the Great Lakes," Premier McGuinty said. "The cynics didn't think we could do that not so long ago, but we did it because we did it together. And we can clean up the air we share if we adopt the same spirit of cooperation and the same sense of urgency."