The Trudeau government’s new Infrastructure Bank is off to a bad start with a decision to support a project that will increase greenhouse gas emissions.
The bank is ready to hand out $655 million in the form of a low-interest loan (thanks to federal support) to a company that wants to build a transmission line across Lake Erie. This line will further tie Ontario to the fossil-heavy power generation system in the United States, and will also allow Ontario to ramp up exports of gas-fired electricity.
Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities
The bank really could not have picked a worse transmission system project to support. Instead of focusing on how to get more low-carbon electricity into Ontario by improving connections with Quebec, the bank is supporting a project that is all about short-term carbon-heavy imports and exports that will further undermine the emission gains Ontario made by phasing out dirty coal.
We need to tell Infrastructure Minister (and former federal Environment Minister) Catherine McKenna to get the bank back on track by nixing this terrible deal and refocusing it on improving electricity trade within Canada, supporting cost-effective energy efficiency projects, and building our renewable energy capacity.
Already, Ontario is exporting more than a third of the power produced by its polluting gas-fired power plants. This new line will create a strong incentive to use these often-idle plants to export even more power produced by burning fracked gas.
Meanwhile, on the other end of the line is a power system that still has coal-fired generation and a lot of gas-fired generation. So instead of getting zero emission power from Quebec’s vast waterpower system, Ontario will get dirty fossil power from the U.S. via this new line.
Supporting projects that damage our climate is not what the Infrastructure Bank was supposed to be about. It was supposed to be focused on building green infrastructure in Canada. Clearly, the bank, whose performance has been under heavy criticism for its plodding start, is still having trouble understanding its mandate.
What you can do
Minister McKenna needs to clarify the bank’s role ASAP and stop this sweetheart loan from happening. Send a letter to Minister McKenna and your MP here.