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How does Miller measure up on the green city?

THE CLAIM: "We're the leading environmental city in the world."

September 26, 2009
Catherine Porter
Toronto Star

The reality: Miller is seen universally by environmentalists as an ally. His two terms have brought huge strides toward environmental protection and stewardship, notably creating an environment office to push forward his agenda.

"The mayor has been definitely the greenest mayor this city has ever seen," says Franz Hartmann, executive director of Toronto Environmental Alliance. "Whoever replaces him has very big green shoes to fill."

Although Miller often proudly cites the unanimous approval of council of his climate change strategy two summers ago, that success has been dampened by foot-dragging in council. Several ambitious plans – such as building more than 700 kilometres of bike lanes by 2012 and having city facilities procure more food locally – were watered down.

His enviro-successes include:

  • The Mayor's Tower Renewal Project, which aims to "green" more than 1,000 old apartment towers to cut energy use.
  • A new "right-to-know" bylaw that will require small and medium businesses to publicly disclose emissions of 25 toxic substances.
  • The green bin program, now rolling out to apartment buildings, which boosted the city's landfill diversion rate to 44 per cent.
  • A new green-roof bylaw that requires planting roof areas on new residential, office, retail and school buildings starting next year.
  • Moves to cut the city's own greenhouse gas emissions by 20 per cent, mostly by capturing methane from landfills and converting vehicles to biodiesel or hybrid. It's a goal to see the entire city cut its emissions by that much, but carbon dioxide emissions are increasing.
  • A 5-cent levy on plastic bags across the city.
  • A ban on the sale of bottled water in civic centres.

As originally posted here: http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/article/701409--how-does-miller-measure-up-on-the-green-city

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