- The province and N.B. Power has only eight years to find a new fuel source or close the plant on New Brunswick’s north shore, according to the judgment.
- New Brunswick Environment and Climate Change Minister Gary Crossman said the decision was not unexpected.
According to a representative for federal Environment and Climate Change Minister Steven Guilbeault, N.B. Power’s Belledune generating unit would not be authorized to burn coal after 2030.
According to the spokesperson, Ottawa would not sign the so-called “equivalency agreement” that the Higgs government was hoping to reach to extend the plant’s use of coal for another decade.
“I can confirm that the Government of Canada is committed to phasing out coal-fired power across the country, including in New Brunswick, by 2030,” Joanna Sivasankaran said CBC News in an email.
“The Minister will not sign an equivalence agreement that goes beyond 2030.”
The ruling gives the province and N.B. Power only eight years to find a new fuel source or close the plant on New Brunswick’s north shore. There are almost 100 persons employed there.
In 2019, Belledune emitted more than 2.5 million tonnes of greenhouse emissions into the environment, making it the province’s second-largest emitter after the Irving Oil refinery. In 2018, Belledune’s emissions exceeded those of the refinery.
The New Brunswick Conservation Council applauded the decision.
“Climate change extreme weather affects us all,” said Louise Comeau, the organization’s climate change and energy solutions director.
“To keep people and communities safe, we must phase out the usage of fossil fuels, which emit heat-trapping gases when burned.”
She urged the province and N.B. Power to assist plant workers in retiring or retraining for new opportunities in renewable energy.
In a statement, N.B. Power said it would “continue to investigate possibilities and discuss the future of Belledune” with the government.
In a statement, New Brunswick Environment and Climate Change Minister Gary Crossman said the decision was not unexpected.
“Recent comments from the federal government at COP 26 suggest that achieving equivalence and continuing to operate Belledune beyond 2030 will be difficult. The federal government said today that it intends to phase out coal by 2030.”
On Thursday morning, Gary Crossman, New Brunswick’s Environment and Climate Change Minister, did not speak to media at the legislature.
Crossman said on Tuesday that Belledune came up briefly during his first virtual meeting with Guilbeault on November 19.
“We did inquire about flexibility, and we look forward to the next meeting, which we hope will be soon,” Crossman said. “New Brunswick is a small province, and we’re doing our best to move forward.”
Source: CBC News
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