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September 23, 2003

Dirty Air from Power Plants Fuels Health Problems in Nova Scotia
PollutionWatch web site ranks the top air polluters in Nova Scotia

Toronto, Ontario - Nova Scotians are breathing in toxic chemicals everyday due to polluting facilities all across the province.

A Top 10 Nova Scotia Air Polluters list was released today by three environmental groups - Environmental Defence Canada, the Canadian Environmental Law Association and the Canadian Institute for Environmental Law and Policy. The groups developed the list from their new web site - www.PollutionWatch.org - that uses the latest federal government data to rank pollution across Canada. Nova Scotia Power Inc., the main energy supplier in the province, holds the top four spots and has a total of five facilities named on the list, releasing 83.98 per cent of the reported air pollution in Nova Scotia.

Rank Facility Company Air Releases % of total air pollution in NS
1 Lingan Generating Station Nova Scotia Power Inc. 1,961,479 kg 42.65%
2 Trenton Generating Station Nova Scotia Power Inc. 894,052 kg 19.44%
3 Point Tupper Generating Station Nova Scotia Power Inc. 491,914 kg 10.70%
4 Point Aconi Generating Station Nova Scotia Power Inc. 493,001 kg 10.07%
5 Kimberly-Clark Nova Scotia Kimberly-Clark Inc. 315,540 kg 6.86%
6 Woven Products Div. Truro Plant Intertape Polymer Group 103,400 kg 2.25%
7 East River Louisiana Pacific Canada Limited 91,864 kg 2.00%
8 Dartmouth Refinery Imperial Oil 76,564 kg 1.66%
9 Stora Enso Port Hawkesbury Limited Stora Enso 59,822 kg 1.30%
10 Tufts Cove Generating Station Nova Scotia Power Inc. 51,400 kg 1.12%

"All of these companies need to take responsibility to reduce air pollution," said Dr. Rick Smith, Executive Director, Environmental Defence Canada. "Nova Scotians are feeling the effects of bad air and they deserve better."

The top four Nova Scotia Power facilities rely on coal to produce energy and release a number of chemicals that are harmful to the environment and human health. Mercury and hexachlorobenzene are known cancer-causing substances, while chemicals such as hydrochloric acid and sulphuric acid may cause breathing problems.

The PollutionWatch web site also shows that air pollution in Nova Scotia was 4.5 times higher in 2001 than 1995, increasing to 4,504,746 kg from 981,400 kg.

High levels of air pollution are known to aggravate respiratory symptoms that cause asthma. In 1998-99, according to the Statistics Canada National Population Health Survey, 10.2 per cent of Nova Scotians were diagnosed with asthma, while the Canadian average was only 8.5 per cent. Since 1999 alone, air pollution has increased by almost 63 per cent rising to 4,504746 kg from 2,831,288 kg in 2001.

The PollutionWatch partners are calling on the government to improve the air quality in Nova Scotia by phasing out the use of coal-fuelled power plants, using safe alternative energy sources, and enacting regulations that will reduce and eliminate pollutants released into the air by industrial facilities.

"The reliance on coal to produce energy is shortsighted. The public should demand the use of cleaner sources of energy," said Paul Muldoon, Executive Director, Canadian Environmental Law Association. "More should be done now. The residents of Nova Scotia should not have to suffer from bad air quality when cleaner options are readily available."

The Nova Scotia government is committed to following an energy strategy that will reduce mercury emissions by 30 per cent below their 1995 levels by 2005, and a further reduction of 60 to 90 per cent by 2010. Currently, however, other harmful chemicals not listed in the Nova Scotia government's energy strategy, such as sulphuric acid, are still being emitted into the air.

"Reducing mercury emissions is a step in the right direction but other types of toxic pollution should be reduced as well," said Anne Mitchell, Executive Director, Canadian Institute for Environmental Law and Policy. "Nova Scotia Power should take a lead in cleaning up air pollution since it is the largest energy supplier and air polluter in Nova Scotia. We have natural gas, wind and solar powered technology available to us now so we should be using it."

About PollutionWatch
PollutionWatch (www.PollutionWatch.org) is a collaborative project of Environmental Defence Canada, the Canadian Environmental Law Association and the Canadian Institute for Environmental Law and Policy. The web site tracks pollution across Canada based on data collected by Environment Canada through the National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI). Visitors to the PollutionWatch web site can identify polluters in their home towns by searching by postal code, access "quick lists" of the largest polluters in the country, get pollution trends 1995-2001, or create their own ranked lists of polluters by province, municipality, industrial sector, or corporation.

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For more information contact:
Jennifer Foulds, Communications Director, Environmental Defence Canada, 416-323-9521, jennifer@edcanada.org

Elizabeth Chiu, Communications Officer, Environmental Defence Canada, 416-323-9521, elizabeth@edcanada.org


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