Toronto, ON – The Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE) and Environmental Defence applaud today’s closure of the Lambton coal-fired electricity generating plant. The coal plant produced the equivalent carbon pollution of 1.8 million cars and was a major contributor to smog in southern Ontario. It’s been estimated that the health impacts of burning coal in Ontario were $3 billion per year.
“Ontario’s coal phase-out is the largest carbon reduction project in North America. Closing Lambton is a big step in the right direction to prevent global warming.  Ontario is setting a global example by proving that a large economy can move from a heavy reliance on polluting coal to using none,” said Gillian McEachern of Environmental Defence. “By replacing coal with pollution-free renewable energy, Ontario is becoming a leader in the growing global clean energy race.”
 
In 2005, the Lambton coal plant produced nearly 9 million tonnes of carbon pollution, equivalent to 1.8 million cars on the road. It also released nearly 40,000 tonnes of nitrogen and sulfur oxides, major components of smog. It also produced over 100 kilograms of mercury, a potent neuro-toxin. Before starting the coal phase-out, Ontario produced 25 per cent of its electricity by burning coal.
 
“Our doctors know that, behind every coal statistic, there’s a child with an asthma puffer or a senior on an oxygen machine,” said CAPE Executive Director Gideon Forman. “But thanks to today’s closure – and what we hope will be the speedy closure of the remaining plants – we’ll all be healthier. Ontario’s coal phase-out is a public-health victory of global significance and this government deserves a lot of credit.” 
Burning coal produces huge amounts of smog-causing pollution, which causes asthma, lung damage and premature death. Air pollution was recently labelled a carcinogen by the cancer research arm of the World Health Organization.
 
About ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE (www.environmentaldefence.ca): Environmental Defence is Canada’s most effective environmental action organization. We challenge, and inspire change in government, business and people to ensure a greener, healthier and prosperous life for all.

About CANADIAN ASSOCIATION OF PHYSICIANS FOR THE ENVIRONMENT (www.cape.ca): With over 6,000 members across Canada, CAPE works to protect human health by protecting the environment.
 
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For more information, or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Naomi Carniol, Environmental Defence, 416-323-9521 ext. 258; 416-570-2878 (cell) ncarniol@environmentaldefence.ca

Gideon Forman, CAPE, 647-703-5957