New Pollution Data Show Need for Urgent Parliamentary Action on Air Pollutants



    TORONTO, March 15 /CNW/ - As federal parliamentary committees study the
proposed Clean Air Act and review the Canadian Environmental Protection Act,
Environmental Defence and the Canadian Environmental Law Association released
a national pollution and greenhouse gas emissions overview that shows
companies across Canada emitted more than 4 billion kilograms of air pollution
in 2005, associated with toxic contamination, smog, acid rain and potential
health effects such as respiratory illnesses and cancer. Companies across
Canada reported emitting 279 million tonnes CO2 equivalent of greenhouse gases
in 2005, which contribute to global warming.
    Pollutants released into the air include Criteria Air Contaminants, such
as nitrogen oxides and particulate matter, as well as greenhouse gases. These
are a focus of the proposed Clean Air Act (Bill C-30) and regulated as toxic
substances under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA). Air
pollutants also include toxic chemicals, such as mercury and lead, which are
also regulated under CEPA. The proposed Clean Air Act is currently being
re-drafted by a parliamentary committee and is scheduled to be re-tabled in
Parliament by the end of the month.
    "The draft Clean Air Act is going through extensive study, to make sure
it will do what it should - reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions
across Canada," said Aaron Freeman, Policy Director, Environmental Defence.
"Given that environment is the number one concern of Canadians, making the
needed changes and passing an effective Clean Air Act should be the number one
priority of our elected officials."
    The groups analyzed trends in air pollution, particularly those
pollutants highlighted in the proposed Clean Air Act and many that are
identified as toxic under CEPA. The analysis is based on core facilities that
reported throughout the same time period:

    
    -   Oxides of Nitrogen, associated with smog, increased by 19%, from
        518,016,347 kilograms in 2002 to 615,652,281 kilograms in 2005.
    -   Particulate Matter 2.5, linked to respiratory illnesses, increased by
        7%, from 48,373,815 kilograms in 2002 to 51,907,476 kilograms in
        2005.
    -   Sulphur Dioxide increased by 4%, from 1,884,652,302 kilograms in 2002
        to 1,964,579,136 kilograms in 2005.
    -   Air releases of mercury decreased by 9% from 2000 to 2005 (from
        5,183 kg to 4,711 kg), although land releases of mercury increased
        by 848% between 2000 and 2005 (from 3,850 kg to 36,536 kg).
    

    The Top 10 facilities across Canada with the largest air releases of
pollutants listed as toxic under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act
(CEPA Toxics) accounted for 37% of total CEPA Toxic air pollution in 2005.

    
    Top 10 CEPA Toxic Air Polluters in 2005 (kilograms)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                            Total CEPA
                                                             Air Toxic
    Rank   Facility Name            Company Name          Releases (kg) Prov
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
       1   HBM&S Co., Ltd. -        Hudson Bay Mining       203,247,210  MB
            Metallurgical Complex    & Smelting
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
       2   Copper Cliff Smelter     Inco                    192,577,851  ON
            Complex
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
       3   Thompson Operations      Inco                    182,503,640  MB
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
       4   Mildred Lake Plant Site  Syncrude Canada          99,361,388  AB
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
       5   Nanticoke Generating     Ontario Power            93,524,923  ON
            Station                  Generation
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
       6   Boundary Dam Power       SaskPower                67,828,871  SK
            Station
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
       7   Sundance Generating      TransAlta Utilities      58,785,217  AB
            Facility/Plant
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
       8   Lingan Generating        Nova Scotia Power        56,862,806  NS
            Station
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
       9   Poplar River Power       SaskPower                50,710,464  SK
            Station
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
      10   Sheerness Generating     Alberta Power            49,938,315  AB
            Station                  (2000) Ltd.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Many of the Top 10 CEPA Toxic air polluters also reported emitting
greenhouse gases in 2005. Five of the Top 10 CEPA Toxic air polluters also
make up the list of top greenhouse gas emitters for 2005.

    Top 10 Greenhouse Gas Emitters in 2005 (tonnes CO2 equivalent)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                  Total
                                                           of All Gases
                                                         (tonnes - CO2
    Rank   Facility Name            Company Name            equivalent) Prov.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
       1   Nanticoke Generating     Ontario Power            17,629,437  ON
            Station                  Generation
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
       2   Sundance Generating      TransAlta Utilities      16,181,007  AB
            Facility/Plant           Corporation
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
       3   Mildred Lake and Aurora  Syncrude Canada Ltd.     10,357,330  AB
            North Plant Sites
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
       4   Genesee Thermal          EPCOR Power Development   8,949,492  AB
            Generating Station       Corporatation
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
       5   Lambton Generating       Ontario Power             8,738,072  ON
            Station                  Generation
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
       6   Suncor Energy Inc.       Suncor Energy Inc. Oil    7,694,458  AB
            Oil Sands                Sands
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
       7   Boundary Dam Power       Saskatchewan Power        6,751,088  SK
            Station                  Corporation
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
       8   Sheerness Generating     Alberta Power             6,522,557  AB
            Station                  (2000) Ltd.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
       9   Keephills Generating     TransAlta Utilities       6,143,809  AB
            Plant                    Corporation
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
      10   Battle River Generating  Alberta Power             5,498,404  AB
            Station                  (2000) Ltd.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    

    The PollutionWatch national overview also found that 62% of all chemical
reports by facilities to the federal government's national pollution reporting
program - the National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI) - in 2005 show no
pollution prevention activity.
    "Canada needs a more robust CEPA to eliminate and reduce threats posed to
human health and the environment from releases of toxic substances to air,
land and water. Effective pollution prevention strategies are critical for
reducing both toxic pollutants that harm human health and those that cause
climate change," said Joe Castrilli, counsel to the Canadian Environmental Law
Association. "Federal and provincial governments must set mandatory reduction
targets for toxic pollutants and greenhouse gases."

    
    Environmental Defence and the Canadian Environmental Law Association
recommend the federal government:

    -   Release each of the two parliamentary committee reports on the
        Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA) before March 31, 2007.
    -   Develop or accelerate reduction and elimination targets for CEPA
        toxic substances and require that targets are met using pollution
        prevention methods.
    -   Establish mandatory national emission standards, through global best
        practices, for all criteria air contaminants.
    -   Set timelines to virtually eliminate releases of carcinogens to the
        air and water by 2015.
    -   Ensure resources are directed to enhance and expand the National
        Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI) program, including the requirement
        for mandatory pollution prevention plans from all facilities and
        closing reporting loopholes, such as the exemption for mining waste.
    -   Ensure Canada recommits to its obligations under the Kyoto Protocol
        and establishes regulated targets and timelines for reducing
        greenhouse gases from large final emitters.
    

    The PollutionWatch national pollution and greenhouse gas overview is
available to download from the PollutionWatch web site:
www.PollutionWatch.org. The overview is based on data submitted by companies
to Environment Canada for its national pollution reporting program - the
National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI) - and its Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Reporting Program. The 2005 pollution and greenhouse gas emissions data are
the most recently available.
    PollutionWatch (www.PollutionWatch.org) is a collaborative project of
Environmental Defence and the Canadian Environmental Law Association.





For further information:

For further information: or to arrange an interview, please contact:
Jennifer Foulds, Environmental Defence, (416) 323-9521 ext. 232, (647)
280-9521 (cell); Fe de Leon, Canadian Environmental Law Association, (416)
960-2284 ext. 223, (416) 624-6758 (cell)

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