Feb. 9, 2006 PollutionWatch.org
Ontario Power, DTE Energy, Bayer: Canadian Companies Dirtier Air Polluters than U.S. in Great Lakes Basin
New federal government faces challenge to restore and clean up Great Lakes , new report shows
Toronto , Ontario - Canadian facilities in the Great Lakes basin emitted 73% more air pollution per facility in 2002 than their U.S. counterparts, says a new report released today by PollutionWatch partner organizations Environmental Defence and the Canadian Environmental Law Association. In total, Canadian and U.S. facilities in the Great Lakes basin spewed more than 101 million kilograms (101,907,241 kg) of pollution into the air. Canadian facilities accounted for 49,471,016 kilograms of the total air releases while U.S. facilities released 52,436,225 kilograms of pollutants into the air.
The report, Partners in Pollution: An Assessment of Continuing Canadian and United States Contributions to Great Lakes Pollution, is based on data submitted by Canadian companies to Environment Canada for its national reporting program, the National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI), and to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for its Toxics Release Inventory (TRI). The 2002 matched NPRI and TRI data are the most recently available. Partners in Pollution is the first report in a decade to focus on pollution levels in the Great Lakes ecosystem using NPRI and TRI data. The report reveals that more than 4,100 Great Lakes facilities in Canada and the U.S. released and transferred over 627 million kilograms (627,243,035 kg) of pollutants in the Great Lakes ecosystem basin.
"The health of the Great Lakes is in real trouble because we forget pollution is still a real issue," said Paul Muldoon, Executive Director, Canadian Environmental Law Association. "We call on the new Canadian government to seize this opportunity to set an agenda to protect the Great Lakes ecosystem from pollution and other human-induced stresses. The presence of fish consumption advisories around the basin is a clear signal that the Lakes are still polluted."
Canadian facilities also fared worse for releasing air pollution associated with potential health effects. On a per facility basis , Canadian matched facilities released on average 79% more respiratory toxins to the air than TRI facilities, and 93% more known or suspected cancer-causing pollutants. Between 1998 and 2002, core Canadian facilities increased their air releases by 3%, while core U.S. facilities decreased air pollution by 24%. The trend in air pollution is analyzed using core facilities that reported consistently in Canada and the U.S. between 1998 and 2002, and core pollutants reported over the same time period.
"There's no getting around it. Canada is doing a worse job on Great Lakes pollution than the U.S. ," said Dr. Rick Smith, Executive Director, Environmental Defence. "The new Conservative government needs to act now to get serious about reducing pollution in the Great Lakes and protecting Canadians' health."
Canadian facilities accounted for half of the Top 10 Air Polluters in the Great Lakes basin, and were responsible for 61% of reported air pollution among the Top 10.
Facility and Parent Company Name, Location, Total Air Releases (2002) (kg)
1 Nanticoke Generating Station
Ontario Power Generation Inc
Nanticoke , ON
2 Detroit Edison Monroe Power Plant
Monroe , MI
3 Copper Cliff Smelter Complex
Copper Cliff , ON
4 Bayer Inc. Sarnia Site
Sarnia , ON
5 J. H. Campbell Generating Plant
Consumers Energy Co.
West Olive , MI
6 Lambton Generating Station
Ontario Power Generation Inc
Courtright , ON
7 Kodak Park
Eastman Kodak Co.
Rochester , NY
8 Eastlake Plant
Eastlake , OH
9 Thunder Bay Operation
Bowater Canadian Forest Products Inc.
Thunder Bay , ON
10 BP Prods. N.A. Whiting Business Unit
BP America Inc.
"High pollution levels in the Great Lakes basin continue to take an apparent toll on the air and water quality of the ecosystem. It's remarkable to think that the U.S. government would try to limit the availability of data when this report clearly indicates that more comprehensive bi-national monitoring is necessary," said Derek Stack, Executive Director, Great Lakes United. "Funding research and ultimately accelerating pollution reduction through available practical strategies should be a priority for U.S. and Canadian governments."
Partners in Pollution makes 15 specific recommendations to governments on both sides of the border to reduce and eliminate pollution in the Great Lakes , including:
- Develop an inclusive, common database to determine the annual loading of all pollutants, including all persistent toxic substances to the Great Lakes .
- Develop and implement a bi-national pollution elimination and reduction strategy that builds upon, and significantly expands, the Bi-national Great Lakes Toxics Strategy.
- Reconfirm their commitment to the virtual elimination of persistent toxic substances and expand that goal to include carcinogens and endocrine disruptors.
- Commit to reaching the prescribed targets through pollution prevention measures which would include the application of green chemistry and materials substitution.
- Enhance and expand the U.S. TRI and the Canadian NPRI programs , including rejection of the proposal to collect TRI data every two years, and other burden reduction proposals.
The Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, which commits the U.S. and Canadian governments to restore and protect the water quality of the Great Lakes , will undergo a formal review soon . The Canadian Environmental Law Association, Environmental Defence and Great Lakes United urge all levels of government to use the pollution findings of the report as a focal point for the review process. Partners in Pollution: An Assessment of Continuing Canadian and United States Contributions to Great Lakes Pollution is available to download for free on the PollutionWatch web site - www.PollutionWatch.org .
PollutionWatch (www.PollutionWatch.org) is a collaborative project of Environmental Defence and the Canadian Environmental Law Association. The web site tracks releases and transfers of pollutants across Canada based on data collected by Environment Canada through the National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI). NPRI does not include data from all pollutants or sources. Partners in Pollution is the second of two reports prepared by PollutionWatch focused on the Great Lakes basin. The first report, Great Lakes , Great Pollution, was released in June 2005.