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Environment Minister Kent signals shift on Maxim Coal

As we first alerted you to almost exactly a month ago, dozens of organizations from across Canada, including the Council of Canadians, have been calling on federal Environment Minister Peter Kent to live up to the pledge made by his predecessor, Jim Prentice, and ensure that Calgary-based Maxim Power would not be allowed to rush into operation a new 500 megawatt coal plant at its Milner site near Grande Cache, Alberta in order to do an end-run around new federal coal regulations which will come into effect on July 1, 2015.

In the interim, thousands and thousands of people have called, emailed and written to Minister Kent, who seemed unwilling to live up to Prentice’s pledge to “guard against any rush to build non-compliant coal plants in the interim.” Due to the public pressure on Kent generated by our Action Alert and the efforts of our allies like the Pembina Institute and leadnow.ca, it seems as though Kent is changing his position. In an interview today with the Canadian Press, Kent said “he won’t tolerate companies trying to sneak around pending regulations” and indicated that “regulations for coal-fired plants are not yet final, and he could still change the rules — especially if corporate interests are trying to skirt them.”

“It was never the intention to create a loophole for short-cutters to get in and get a half-century licence to emit greenhouse gases or to put other toxins into the air which have serious impacts on Canadians living downwind,” Kent said in the interview.

Such language is a major shift away from Kent’s previous position, and shows that he’s feeling the heat on the issue and moving towards doing the right thing for the climate and the health of Canadians. Please take a moment to keep the pressure up: email or call the Minister and thank him for finally stating that Maxim Power won’t be allowed to get around the new regulations and letting him know that you’ll be watching and expect that the regulations ensure that any new coal plants built in Canada meet the new regulations.

You can email the minister at Minister@ec.gc.ca or call:

Environment Canada direct line: 819-997-1441
Environment Canada toll-free line: 1-800-668-6767  (ask to be transferred to Minister Kent’s office)
Peter Kent’s Ottawa Office: 613-992-0253
Minister Kent’s Constituency Office: 905-886-9911