All Buffer Zone News
Thursday, April 23, 2010 – Oakville, ON – Citizens for Clean Air applauds all Ontario political parties for voting in favour of Bill 8, which would prohibit the construction of a natural gas power plant within 1,500 metres of land zoned residential or for a school, day nursery or health care facility.
The Separation Distances for Natural Gas Power Plants Act, 2010, a Private Members Bill introduced by Oakville MPP Kevin Flynn, passed second reading 28 votes to 1 yesterday afternoon with support from MPPs from all parties, including 15 Liberal MPPs.
“People living near major gas-fired generating stations need the protection only a buffer zone can bring,” says C4CA Board Chair Frank Clegg. “Only two months ago, a natural gas power plant exploded in Middletown, CT killing six people and blowing out windows five kilometres away. If that were to happen at the proposed Oakville site, such an accident could be catastrophic. MPPs from all parties showed yesterday that they understand only a buffer zone can protect people.”
The Middletown gas plant site was 137 acres and located across the river from a densely populated area. The proposed Oakville gas-fired generating station is 50 per cent larger and the site is only 13.5 acres, with 1,000 homes within one kilometre. Based on current Ontario legislation, a 1.5 megawatt wind turbine would not be permitted at this location.
Examples of comments made in the legislature in support of Bill 8 include:
Kevin Flynn, MPP Oakville (Liberal): “The sad fact of the matter is that currently, surprisingly, Ontario does not have any legislation that mandates the separation distances for natural gas power plants from those sensitive uses I've just outlined.”
David Caplan, MPP Don Valley East (Liberal): “This is about safety. It's about appropriate setbacks and minimizing the safety risks that residents not simply in Oakville but residents in any part of the province of Ontario would ordinarily expect. That's why I am quite in support of the measures contained here.”
Mike Colle, MPP Egllinton-Lawrence (Liberal): “It [Bill 8] sends a strong message to our government and to the Ontario Power Authority and to corporate Canada that we need to have a very strong second look at this. The 1,500-metre zone, the separation that has been proposed in this bill, is a very solid proposal that deserves our support.”
Donna Cansfield, MPP Etobicoke Centre (Liberal): “We need to be able to recognize that we have a problem. It has been identified. We need to work with the community, we need to find a resolution and this is the beginning of how we can manage to do that.”
Ted Chudleigh, MPP Halton Hills (Conservative): “...it [Bill 8] would go a long way to protect the people of Oakville, particularly the people who live in that precise area so close to this plant. That's why I will be supporting this bill, as will the members of the PC caucus. It's for the safety, the lifestyles and the health of the people of Oakville and the people of Ontario.”
Frank Klees, MPP Newmarket-Auroroa (Conservative): “I'm going to support this bill because it is the right thing to do.”
Michael Prue, MPP Beaches-East York (NDP): “...I will be voting yes to this bill.”
The site for the proposed 975 megawatt gas-fired power plant in Oakville is only 320 metres from the nearest school and 400 metres to homes in a mature neighbourhood. The narrow piece of land on which the gas plant, with 60 metre stacks, would sit, is adjacent to some of the busiest commuter rail and roadways in the Province. There is widespread opposition to the plant at this location, including representatives at every level of government and the Chief Medical Officers of Health for Halton and Peel regions.
Citizens for Clean Air is a coalition thousands-strong of volunteer citizens concerned with the Ontario Government’s plan to construct a 975-megawatt gas-fired power plant on the border of Oakville and Mississauga.
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C4CA Comment: Citizens for Clean Air applauds all Ontario political parties for voting in favour of Bill 8, which would prohibit the construction of a natural gas power plant within 1,500 metres of land zoned residential or for a school, day nursery or health care facility.
The Separation Distances for Natural Gas Power Plants Act, 2010, a Private Members Bill introduced by Oakville MPP Kevin Flynn, passed “second reading” on April 22, 28 votes to 1 with support from MPPs from all parties, including 15 Liberal MPPs.
While this was an important step in the legislative process, it does not mean the Bill will now become law. The next step is for the Bill to be studied by one of the legislature’s committees. Only after study by a committee, which will not take place until fall 2010 at the earliest, would the Bill return to the full legislature for a final vote and potentially become law.
While it is extremely rare for Private Member’s Bills to become law, this legislation has given C4CA an ideal platform to draw the attention of MPPs and the news media to the potential danger of siting a power plant so close to homes and schools. C4CA will continue to take advantage of every opportunity to highlight why the proposed Oakville Generating Station should not be built.