Réseau action climat Canada - Signez la lettre au Ministre de l'environnement au sujet de l'usine de charbon Maxim

mer 3 aoû 2011

Climate Action Network Canada (CAN Canada) is seeking high-level sign-on from organizations across the country for this letter to Environment Minister Peter Kent (below).

Please take a look and send your endorsement (name, title and organization) to Kim Finch at kfinch@climateactionnetwork.ca (tel: 613-241-4413).

CAN Canada is also asking for your urgent assistance in reaching out to First Nations, environmental, faith, labour, health, youth and international development organizations across the country to get broad sign-on.

Summary:

  • In the coming weeks, the federal government is expected to release new regulations related to greenhouse gas pollution from coal plants. These regulations will only take effect beginning in July 2015.
  • Last week the Government of Alberta and Maxim Power announced that they intend to rush the construction of a new coal plant in order to avoid the new regulations.
  • In June 2010, former Environment Minister Jim Prentice said that the federal government "will guard against any rush to build non-compliant coal plants in the interim (ie., until the regulations come into effect)." It now appears that Environment Minister Peter Kent actually told Maxim that if they built the coal plant in time they could avoid the regulations.
  • In our view, all coal-fired power plants need to face regulations to, at a minimum, reduce their considerable emissions of greenhouse gas pollution. In fact, given the need to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions in both the short and long term, it is simply no longer acceptable to build new conventional coal plants in Canada, period.
  • The attached letter calls on Minister Kent to ensure that Maxim does not get a free ride when it comes to greenhouse gas pollution.

Please endorse and help us circulate this letter for sign-on.

Thanks very much,

Graham Saul
Executive Director
Climate Action Network Canada - Réseau action climat Canada

THE LETTER READS:

Environment Minister Peter Kent

Dear Minister Kent,

As representatives of Canadian First Nations, environmental, faith, labour, health, youth and international development organizations, we are writing to urge you to launch an immediate review of the appropriateness of Maxim Power's proposed coal-fired Milner expansion project, in light of the federal government's future regulations on coal-fired electricity generation.

As you know, Maxim Power Corp. recently received an interim approval from Alberta's Utilities Commission for a 500-megawatt supercritical coal plant, which would be located north of Grande Cache, Alberta. The company plans to commission the plant just before the federal regulations on coal-fired electricity take effect.

In June 2010, former Environment Minister Jim Prentice announced that the federal government would adopt regulations specifying a performance standard for greenhouse gas emissions from certain coal-fired power plants. Though the regulations would only apply beginning in July 2015, Minister Prentice assured Canadians that the government would not allow companies to avoid the regulations by rushing new plants into service. He said: "We will guard against any rush to build non-compliant coal plants in the interim."

Unfortunately, it appears that that is exactly what Maxim Power is intending to do. Documents filed by Maxim Power with Alberta's utilities regulator show that the company is indeed attempting to rush a non-compliant coal-fired power plant into service, beginning operations before the government's July 2015 deadline.

A letter from Maxim Power's lawyers to the Alberta Utilities Commission (dated June 7, 2011), indicates that it is Maxim's intent to avoid being subject to the future federal regulations, and that Maxim officials met with you to understand how their proposal could avoid the impact of said regulations.

In our view, all coal-fired power plants need to face regulations to, at a minimum, reduce their considerable emissions of greenhouse gas pollution. Given the need to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions in both the short and long term, it is simply no longer acceptable to build new conventional coal plants in Canada, period.

We are writing to you to seek your assurance that you will uphold the promise made by this government and ensure that Maxim Power's coal proposal - if it proceeds at all - is fully subject to the performance standard to be outlined in the future federal regulations for coal-fired electricity generation.

We understand that a draft of the proposed federal regulations on coal-fired electricity will likely be published soon. This announcement gives you an important opportunity to clarify to Canadians that you will indeed "guard against" proposals like Maxim's, by taking the measures needed to ensure that Maxim Power's new coal plant faces the same regulations as new plants commissioned after July 1, 2015.

Thank you for your attention to this urgent matter.

Sincerely,

[NAME]
[TITLE]
[ORGANIZATION]

Please send your name, title and organization to Kim Finch at kfinch@climateactionnetwork.ca. Please also distribute widely.

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