Ontario's Environment Minister says a Bush administration proposal to weaken pollution laws on hundreds of the oldest and dirtiest coal-fired power plants in the United States is a "backward step" that will undermine the province's clean-air programs.
The U.S. proposal is "bad news for the health of people living anywhere in our shared air shed, no matter if you've got a postal code or a ZIP code," Laurel Broten said yesterday.
Her comments came after Ontario joined 11 U.S. states, mainly from the northeast, in filing objections to a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposal that would allow aging coal-fired power plants to continue operating without up-to-date pollution controls. Most of these plants are in the Midwest or the Ohio Valley area...
Good relations at the expense of Canada's wellbeing:
Environmentalists welcomed Ontario's intervention, but expressed concern that the federal government hasn't indicated whether it will take a similar high-profile stand.
There are worries that the new Conservative government may not be anxious to raise a cross-border pollution issue with the Bush administration, even though more than half the Canadian population lives downwind of harmful U.S emission sources.
"I really hope this is not a case where the Prime Minister and the new Environment Minister think that by being silent they gain favoravour with the U.S. government," said Paul Muldoon, a spokesman for the Canadian Environmental Law Association.
"I think most Canadians, particularly those in Ontario and Quebec, should be appalled by the lack of federal action."
The fact that the Bush administration has undercut emissions regulations in the name of profit is appalling. I would also use the word shocking, but given the consistent assault on all things environment, nothing the Bush administration does anymore should be a surprise. How can you work effectively with such a backward, frankly asinine, administration?
Quite a statement, that American state governments have seen fit to formulate their own environmental policy, the federal government so inept and destructive. The question, as posed in the article above, will the Conservatives stand tall for Canada, or appease for fear of strained relations? Harper's government may well sell out our interests to give the impression of friendly relations. The bottomline with the American administration, they don't play well with others. Arbitrary decisions, unilateral actions with narrow focus are the norm. Bush is not a partner, unless of course Canada is comfortable in a subservient role that merely reacts to American policy.
Our relations with the Americans have deteriorated, not because of a Canadian government with a preference for conflict, but because you can't deal with these guys. I've said this before, but a quick poll of foreign diplomats would overwhelming support the "bully on the block" thesis. Are we more interested in kissing ass, or looking out for our interests, first and foremost, with NO apologies. The Bush administration is a dangerous scourge which must be met with forceful rebuttal, not hollow rhetoric in the name of misguided diplomacy.