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July 29, 2010

American smog kills 2,700 Canadians / year

ENVIRONMENT - The quality of the air coming up from the United States leaves much to be desired. The pollutant-spewing coal power plants from what is commonly referred to as "Smog Alley" ends up in Ontario and is responsible for over 50% of the smog found in Canadian cities.

And that smog kills approx. 2,700 people in Ontario every year.

The good news is that American air quality regulators are finally doing something about it. They're shutting down dozens of coal power stations and ordering the remaining coal stations to adopt new, clean technology.

The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) is ordering hundreds of stations to cut sulphur dioxide and nitrous oxide emissions by 50% by 2015, the primary ingredients for making smog. Specifically the utilities will have to cut SO2 by 52% and NOx by 71% below 2005 levels. If they don't comply they will be shut down.

In addition to killing 2,700 people in Ontario, that smog also causes the hospitalization of 12,000 others each year and hurts Ontario's economy to the tune of $5.2 billion per year in lost economic potential and medical costs.

Meanwhile the Ontario government has achieved a 73% reduction in coal-fired electricity production since Dalton McGuinty became the Ontario premier. McGuinty hopes to eventually scrap all coal plants in Ontario.

And we are seeing the results this summer. We've had very few smog alerts this year, despite record heat.

If Ontario can do it, Smog Alley certainly can too.

While Americans are busy fussing about the stalled climate bill in Congress, the EPA is making some dramatic changes which will create a new era of air quality in both the USA and Canada.

Two decades ago EPA regulations targeting acid rain cost American taxpayers $3 billion USD, but the economic benefits since then have resulted in $122 billion USD. Proof that saving the environment, our agriculture, our food supply and our quality of life can be profitable.

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