May 22, 2006

Ontario joins New York in seeking modern pollution controls on U.S. facilities

The Ontario government has joined a legal action in an attempt to force some of the worst emitters of air pollution in the U.S. to install modern pollution control equipment. Environment Minister Laurel Broten and Attorney General Michael Bryant filed a friend of the court (amicus curiae) brief on behalf of the province at the request of New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer.

The brief, filed on May 9 with the 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, asks that a court decision be upheld against Cinergy, a subsidiary of Duke Energy. The province's action is intended to ensure that the court hears the views of Ontario and the other plaintiff that six coal-fired plants must install modern pollution control equipment. The six plants, commissioned between 1949 and 1979, are among the largest emitters of air pollution in the U.S.

"Air pollution knows no boundaries and I am pleased that Ontario has joined us in the fight for clean air in this crucial case," said Spitzer.

Cinergy has asked the Court of Appeals to reverse the trial court decision requiring an annual emissions test. The annual test is critical to determine whether six coal-fired plants must install modern pollution control equipment. The company wants a more lenient hourly emissions test to be applied.

This is the second action Ontario has taken so far this year relating to air emissions in the United States. In February, the province filed comments with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) detailing concerns with the agency's plans to change its New Source Review program, which would allow coal-burning power plants to operate for longer hours and pollute more per year.

Transboundary air pollution will be a focal point of discussion at this year's Shared Air Summit, to be held in Toronto on June 26. Full details will be available in the near future on the event Web site, www.sharedair.ca.

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