June 13, 2006

McGuinty breaks coal phase-out promise

June 13, 2006  – Today Dalton McGuinty broke his promise to phase-out Ontario’s four remaining dirty coal-fired power plants by 2009.  This is a huge betrayal of the people of Ontario and a huge step backwards for public health — our coal plants kill 668 people per year in this province and cost us billions in health costs.  Moreover, McGuinty’s broken promise will prevent Ontario from meeting its Kyoto Protocol greenhouse gas emission reduction target in 2010.
When Ernie Eves was Premier, the Government of Ontario was committed to phasing-out all of Ontario’s dirty coal-fired power plants by 2015.  As of today, Premier McGuinty is not even committed to achieving Ernie Eves’ 2015 coal-phase-out date.
According to a report issued on Friday by the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO), the Government was on track to achieve its goal of phasing-out the Atikokan and Thunder Bay coal-fired power plants by 2007.  However, today the McGuinty Government cancelled its contract with Union Gas to build a gas pipeline that would permit the conversion of the Thunder Bay coal plant to natural gas.  As a result, the McGuinty Government appears to have deliberately sabotaged its ability to phase-out coal-burning at the Atikokan and Thunder Bay Generating Stations in 2007.
The McGuinty Government’s “balanced” plan for Ontario’s energy future released today is all about increasing our dependence on high cost, high risk nuclear power while continuing to rely on coal as a back-up for the unreliable nuclear units.  The commitments to improving efficiency and conservation in the new plan are so weak that Ontario’s already excessive electricity consumption will climb by another 10% over the next 20 years if the plan is successful!  In other words, Premier McGuinty is running — not walking — away from his commitment to create a conservation culture in Ontario. 
Despite the Liberal’s window dressing, this plan is directly about increasing our nuclear capacity by 23% from our existing installed capacity of 11,397 MW to 14,000 MW.  Instead of investing in increased efficiency, clean renewable power and combined heat and power, the Liberals want to throw more money down the drain on nuclear power and ineffective end-of-pipe scrubbers for coal plants they once promised to close — while standing by as the electricity productivity gap with our major competitors opens even wider.
It’s not acceptable.  We urge you to immediately phone the Premier’s office at 416-325-1941, and tell Dalton McGuinty that he has lost your confidence on this issue.  This is an action we are requesting with deep regret, but the fiasco of an energy plan presented today by his government leaves us with no other choice.
Please pass this message on to your friends.
Thank you.
Jack Gibbons
Chair, Ontario Clean Air Alliance

402-625 Church St, Toronto M4Y 2G1
Phone: 416-926-1907 ext. 245
Fax: 416-926-1601
Email: info@cleanair.web.ca
Website: www.cleanairalliance.org