Cleaner Air and More Green Space for Ontarians to Enjoy
McGuinty Government Closing Coal Plants Earlier, Growing Greenbelt
Ontario families will breathe a little easier with the last coal plants in southern Ontario set for shut down a year ahead of schedule, and with more protected green space to further enhance the quality of Ontario's natural environment.
Premier Dalton McGuinty was in Newmarket today to announce the Lambton and Nanticoke coal plants will stop burning coal by the end of 2013. The early closure is a result of Ontario's strong conservation efforts, a smarter electricity grid and a diverse supply of cleaner energy. Shutting down the last coal plants in Southern Ontario will significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save the province $95 million.
The Premier also announced the province is growing the Greenbelt for the first time since it was created in 2005. By adding the provincially owned Glenorchy lands in Oakville, the Greenbelt will increase to nearly two million acres of protected land across the Greater Golden Horseshoe. Municipalities will now have more flexibility to protect publicly owned land -- such as open space and parkland -- to further grow the Greenbelt with the new Urban River Valley designation.
Eliminating dirty coal and protecting green space is part of the McGuinty government's plan to improve air quality, curb urban sprawl and preserve a healthier environment for future generations.
- Since 2003, Ontario has cut its use of coal by nearly 90 per cent.
- The province will have shut down 17 of 19 coal units by the end of 2013. By the end of 2014, Ontario will be one of the first places in the world to eliminate coal as a source of electricity production.
- According to a 2008 study from the Canadian Medical Association, Ontario's economic cost related to air pollution, including lost productivity, health care costs, quality of life and loss of life, is almost $4 billion.
- Research shows that the Greenbelt cleans the province’s air, regulates its water systems, and provides tourism opportunities — all worth $2.6 billion each year.
“When we came to government in 2003 we decided to stop burning coal and to protect more green space to help clean our air. Thanks to the conservation efforts of Ontarians, we were able to do just that, and today, all Ontarians can breathe a little easier.”
“We’re leading the way by providing our families with cleaner air to breathe so they can lead healthier lives, now and for generations to come.”
“By expanding the Greenbelt with our municipal partners we are protecting more green space and preserving our natural heritage for future generations. We will continue to work with municipalities to protect sensitive lands and grow the Greenbelt.”