Canada’s toxic refinery emissions ‘wake-up call’ to mps national observer electricity cost by state


“(The investigation) clearly highlights that we have fallen behind the United States and that is impairing human health in Canada so we do need to act,” said Ed Fast, Conservative MP and vice chair of the environment committee. “I will admit I was shocked as well. Especially since Canadians generally feel that we are more progressive than the United States.”

“This is a wake-up call to all of us because I believe Canada can do better,” said Fast. “This is really a collective responsibility for all of us — previous Canadian governments, both Conservative and Liberal, and the current Liberal government probably didn’t pay enough attention to the degree to which we were minimizing these emissions into our atmosphere.”

NDP MP Linda Duncan, who sits on the environment committee, called the emissions disparity between Canada and the U.S. “deeply troubling,” if not surprising. The Alberta MP dubbed the findings “another promise broken” and called on the government to step up and regulate emissions.

“They promised they would immediately move to strengthen environmental laws that protect health and the environment, and they’re sitting on their hands,” she said. “If this government is not willing to take more expedited action to protect the health of Canadians… then we need to have some kind of provisional law that protects vulnerable populations so they can force the government to do their job.”

• Fourteen out of 15 refineries in Canada would have to cut their sulphur dioxide emissions by at least half to meet the average level of emissions in the U.S.. Of those, nine would need a reduction of 90 per cent or more to reach the U.S. average.

Sarah Henderson, a senior scientist with the B.C. Centre for Disease Control, says the numbers indicate U.S. environmental regulators are managing to bring emissions “under better control than we’re managing to bring our emissions and at a faster speed… If the U.S. can do it, you would assume that Canadian facilities could do it as well.” Liberal MP William Amos at a press conference in Ottawa on March 24, 2017. File photo by Alex Tétreault ‘A lot of work to be done’

In her written statement, Minister McKenna’s spokesperson, Caroline Theriault, said draft regulations for one type of refinery emission — volatile organic compounds —were published last year “and we remain on track to publish the final regulations later this year.”

Alberta’s environment minister, Shannon Phillips, said Thursday that the refinery emissions that this investigation focused on do not specifically fall under that province’s climate leadership plan, which is aimed at curbing greenhouse gas emissions and includes phasing out coal.

“One of the things that Alberta is doing is … for each facility we are looking at ensuring that the best available technology is used through those approvals and required by those approvals,” Phillips said. “That goes for refineries, petrochemical facilities, and all facilities in the province. ”

On Wednesday, Ontario’s environment minister, Chris Ballard, responded on social media to the Star/Global News/ National Observer investigation’s findings by noting his provincial government had recently adopted more stringent regulations for SO2 emissions — but those new standards will not take effect until 2023.