Provincial Export of Dirty Electricity Responsible for 130 Ontario Deaths

July 16, 2007

For Immediate Release

Toronto: New information released today reveals that provincially-owned Ontario Power Generation's (OPG's) exporting of dirty coal-fired electricity to the United States was responsible for up to 130 unnecessary fatalities in Ontario.

"New analysis of government information by the Ontario Clean Air Alliance (OCAA) reveals that in 2006 selling dirty electricity to the U.S. was responsible for an estimated 130 deaths in Ontario about 200 hospital admissions and approximately 65 000 other illnesses such as asthma attacks" said Dr. Hilary de Veber, a hospital-based Pediatrician working in Toronto's East End and Board Member of the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment.

"I can't figure out why the Premier is allowing this to happen," commented Dr. Hartmann, Executive Director of the Toronto Environmental Alliance. “He knows that the pollution from coal-fired electricity kills Ontarians. He knows that the City of Toronto is actively trying to reduce smog and cut greenhouse gas emissions here in Toronto. Yet, he allows OPG, which is completely owned by the Government of Ontario, to produce dirty, deadly electricity not to keep the lights on, but to export it to the U.S. to make a buck. It’s unbelievable and frankly, completely irresponsible."

Additional information released by the Ontario Clean Air Alliance (OCAA) notes that OPG’s profits from its coal-fired electricity exports in 2006 was about $100 million. “If this ‘profit’ were given to electricity customers, it would reduce our monthly bills by about 77 cents," said Jack Gibbons, Chair of the OCAA. “Everyone I know would rather save 130 lives than save 77 cents a month on their hydro bill."

The good news is that the solution is simple: “Premier McGuinty simply needs to keep his 2003 election promise and ban non-emergency coal-fired electricity exports to the United States. We should only export or import coal-fired electricity if it is absolutely necessary to keep the lights on in the U.S. or Ontario," said Mr. Gibbons.


For more information, contact:

Franz Hartmann, Executive Director, Toronto Environmental Alliance; Cell: 416-606-8881
Jack Gibbons, Chair, Ontario Clean Air Alliance; 416-926-1907 ext. 240