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N.S. lags other provinces on mercury reduction

Even before pushing back a key mercury emissions target, Nova Scotiawas lagging behind other provinces on cutting its output of the toxicchemical, a recent report reveals.

Even before pushing back a key mercury emissions target, Nova Scotia was lagging behind other provinces on cutting its output of the toxic chemical, a recent report reveals.

The report from the Nova Scotia Environment Department shows the province, which accounts for eight per cent of Canada’s mercury output, has not made significant reductions since agreeing to Canada-wide standards.

Last year, the province’s four coal-fired power plants emitted 140 kilograms of mercury — more than double the original 2010 target that capped emissions at 65 kilograms — while achieving a marginal reduction from previous years.

In 2006, when the targets were set, Nova Scotia emitted 161 kilograms of the chemical.

Environment Minister Sterling Belliveau said increased energy costs were one of the main reasons why reductions between 2006 and 2009 were so small. Belliveau also said the government would “ultimately get to the same goal,” and has set a 35-kilogram cap for 2020.

But Mark Butler, policy director for the Ecology Action Centre, calls that a questionable approach.

Progress

The other provinces that agreed to the standards are making progress on their goals.

• Ontario surpassed its 2010 goal, which capped emissions at 360 kilograms, two years ago.

• Officials from Alberta, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick all confirmed they are on track to meet their respective targets of 590, 430 and 25 kilograms this year.

• Manitoba, the smallest emitter at just 20 kilograms annually, did not face any reductions under the agreement.

 
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