In October, the Toronto Star ran a feature article on the “Top 75” employers in the Greater Toronto Area” (“GTA’s Top 75”, Toronto Star, October 18, 2008). Amongst many other companies, the Star commended Ontario Power Generation (OPG) as one of the companies that “met or exceeded the strict criteria” for being a “top employer”.
I couldn’t help noting however, that mention was made about that OPG’s product, or its environmental effects. The fact is that OPG is one of the worst polluters in the world.
In 2007, OPG generating plants emitted 28.4 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, contributing tangibly to the global warming crisis. Climate change is putting millions at risk due to ecosystem destruction, extreme weather, floods, droughts, forest fires, heat waves, and rising ocean levels.
OPG is also one of the biggest nuclear power plant operators in the world. In 2007, OPG’s stockpile of high level radioactive waste from its nuclear power plants increased to almost 34 thousand tonnes. This waste is temporarily stored at the Pickering, Darlington and Bruce nuclear plants. It will remain deadly for the next million years, and there is still no consensus on what to do with it.
In 2007 OPG also released 105 thousand tonnes of sulphur dioxide and 35 thousand tonnes of nitrogen oxides, causing acid rain, ground level ozone and smog. In June 2008, the Ontario Medical Association attributed almost 9,500 premature deaths per year in Ontario to these and other air pollutants. OPG’s Nanticoke coal plant (aka ‘Nantichoke’) is the biggest polluter in the country. In 2006, Nanticoke was the largest point source of greenhouse gases in the country, releasing a staggering 16.272 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent.
OPG effectively unleashes its own environmental holocaust every day of the year.
One has to ask if a “top employer” award might have been given to IG Farben in Germany during the second world war. IG Farben manufactured Zyklon B, the gas that was used to poison millions in the Nazi death camps.