Group continues push to clean air

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You have to hand it to the local Hillside-Trenton Environmental Watch Action Group for its determination. Member Peter Boyles says the organization is pushing for cleaner energy with the Liberals – and feels they have the ear at least of key ministers in the new provincial government.

Their misery over recurring fly ash from the stacks of the coal-fired Nova Scotia Power generating plant in Trenton is well known. How attention from the government will tie in with the overall provincial aim toward cleaner sources of energy will be interesting.

A turnaround locally anytime soon doesn’t look promising.

The group maintains a switch to natural gas at the plant would be a great solution.

Undoubtedly natural gas, with far cleaner emissions, will be part of the province’s overall improvements. NSP, however, as it aims toward goals of cleaner energy – ultimately away from coal – has said the Trenton plant won’t be a candidate for conversion to natural gas. Could the utility change its plans? It’s a burning question.

The Environmental Watch locked horns a number of times with local MLAs from the former NDP government. No doubt the politicians were sympathetic. But the group members felt they had received promises and, in the end, delivery failed. To anyone suffering the fallout they claim emits periodically from the stacks, anything short of direct action by a government would come across as stall tactics.

It raises the question of how much pressure politicians can apply in the short term, before the old plants are mothballed. Perhaps stricter monitoring and accounting for emissions would at least help.

Boyles said this week he has worked with the ministers of health, energy and the environment, and they supported the Environmental Watch and its aims while in opposition. The group intends to follow up to see that concerns don’t go to the backburner.

Come what may, this group won’t give up. They deserve wider support: eventually something has to give.

Organizations: Nova Scotia Power

Geographic location: Trenton

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