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October 19th, 2009:

Canada becoming the dirty old man of the continent

Was I sleeping through this or did someone make note of it while I was in a haze these past few days? I have been sick (no, not the Piggy flu) for the past week, so it is highly likely that I missed the debates on CBC, the rains of condemnation from the blogosphere and a general discontented harumph heard from coast to coast (certain parts of Alberta excepted, of course).

Canada quietly asks EPA to weaken anti-pollution measures

That’s the headline form Saturday’s G&M article in which it is reported that the Canadian embassy in D.C. has asked the EPA to water down their new measures aimed to reduce the health toll from air pollution around the Great Lakes by forcing lake freighters to stop burning dirty bunker fuel.

We, uh, don’t WANT this? Really?

Apparently not. The Harper government, backed by the shipping industry,

wants ships to be allowed to continue using the high-polluting fuel and to instead install smokestack scrubbers that would clean up their emissions. The Canadian recommendation, if accepted, could delay the clean-air measure for years, because the technology for the scrubbers does not yet exist.

“Not yet exist” being the key phrase here. I can understand proposing a new an innovative way to deal with these emissions. And heck, ya, that is exactly what is happening! In fact, the equipment is so damned innovative that one needs a freakin’ TIME MACHINE set to The Future in order to get these tools!

So what’s the big deal, eh? So a few birds fall from the sky. A bit more dirty air way out in Lake Superior somewhere. Big Whoop.

The EPA said in a background paper that ship-diesel exhaust, which can travel hundreds of kilometres from shorelines, is a likely human carcinogen, and contributes to heart and lung disease, particularly for children and the elderly. It says the new controls, including those on ocean vessels, will prevent 8,300 premature deaths annually, although it didn’t give specific figures for the Great Lakes region.

Oh. Well, I’m sure the Reformatories had science of their own to refute these findings. Right?

The embassy didn’t dispute the EPA’s health findings, but expressed concerns about the economic impact of the measures.

Ah. Gotcha.

Seriously, this is a bit disgusting, isn’t it? Add in the tar sands and the Harper government’s abandonment of the Kyoto targets and we’re turning into one big, smoke-belching, climate change denying, ecosystem destroying environmental SOB.

How embarrassing.