NANTICOKE, Ont.–Travelling south along Route 55, there are few warning signs
you are approaching the country’s most-wanted polluter. The rolling hills are
decorated with languorous cows. Poultry barns and corn silos flash by. A farmer
in a baseball cap fishes out his mail from a rusty box.
It’s a picture of Ontario pastoral, except for the menacing procession of
transmission towers that look like giant metal scarecrows flashing through the
trees. They lead down to Lake Erie, gleaming silver in the winter sun, and to a
black mountain and two tall, puffing smokestacks. As you get closer, you can
pick out what appear to be miniature yellow trucks climbing the mountain’s
switchbacks. And finally, the sign: Ontario Power Generation. No
This is the Nanticoke electricity plant. It has the dubious honour of being
both Ontario’s leading spewer of toxic emissions that cause acid rain and smog,
and the country’s biggest source of greenhouse gases – those villainous brews
causing the atmosphere to warm.
For years, it’s been on death row, first sentenced by the Ontario government
to dismantlement in 2007, then 2009, and now 2014.