Greenpeace Occupies Ontario Energy Minister’s Office

Press release - June 12, 2006
Greenpeace Canada, 13 Jun 06 - Greenpeace activists today began an occupation of the office of recently re-appointed Ontario Energy Minister Dwight Duncan in the Hearst Block in response to the government’s announcement that it is committing to a 20-year $40 billion nuclear energy plan.

Greenpeace activists today began an occupation of the office ofrecently re-appointed Ontario Energy Minister Dwight Duncan in theHearst Block in response to the government's announcement that it iscommitting to a 20-year $40 billion nuclear energy plan.

"Nuclear power is unsafe, unclean, uneconomic and unreliable" said DaveMartin, Greenpeace Energy Coordinator. "The McGuinty government has thepower to change our electricity system for the better. Instead it hasblocked any meaningful public debate on nuclear power, and nuclearpower will block any meaningful development of conservation andrenewable energy."

In one short year, Duncan has gone from promising an "open and publicdebate" on nuclear power, to ramming through a 20-year, $40 billioncommitment to a radioactive future. In response to demands formeaningful consultation, the government held three rushed andinadequate days of public meetings in mid-February. Despite only 11days of notice, the public response was overwhelmingly anti-nuclear andsupportive of green energy.

"The McGuinty government has given in to nuclear industry lobbyists anddinosaur bureaucrats," said Shawn-Patrick Stensil, Greenpeace EnergyCampaigner "We should not be rushing a nuclear decision when greenenergy options can be installed more quickly, at less cost and withless environmental risk."

New nuclear plants take at least ten years to build, and historicallyboth the construction and reconstruction of reactors have suffered fromlengthy construction delays and huge cost over-runs. Greenpeacesupports conservation and smaller, decentralized supply options thatcan be built faster and with less environmental risk than nuclearmega-projects.

The government directive to the OPA sets the parameters forfinalization of a December 2005 draft plan, which was widely condemnedfor fundamental flaws: dependence on nuclear power; over-estimatingdemand; under-estimating renewable energy; and largely ignoringconservation.

Greenpeace and other environmental organizations, including WWF, theDavid Suzuki Foundation, the Sierra Club of Canada and PembinaInstitute, released a report showing that energy efficiency andlow-impact renewable energy sources have the realistic potential toprovide more than double the amount of electricity needed in worst caseprojections of Ontario's future electricity in 2020.

Greenpeace commits to fighting the government's nuclear agenda, and islaunching a campaign called 'Power to Change' to push the government tophase out dirty nuclear and coal power and phase in clean renewableenergy and conservation.