More than nine million people rely on Lake Ontario for their drinking water. It’s the smallest of the Great Lakes, but provides a home for many species, a place to swim when it’s warm enough and is an important part of life in Ontario. It’s worth protecting.

That’s why Ecojustice, working with Greenpeace Canada, Lake Ontario Waterkeeper, Northwatch and the Canadian Environmental Association, today announced legal proceedings to stop government agencies from approving construction of new nuclear reactors on the shore of Lake Ontario.

We believe a federal assessment of the Ontario Power Generation’s plan for new nuclear reactors was flawed. Why? Because it failed to gather the evidence needed to understand whether these reactors would have major impacts on human health or the environment – contrary to the requirements of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act – or whether better alternatives exist.

“No shovel should enter the ground until every step is taken to ensure the health and safety of Ontarians,” said John Swaigen, staff lawyer for Ecojustice. “This is the first time a new nuclear reactor in Canada has been subject to modern environmental assessment laws and we want to ensure they do it right.”

What are some of our major concerns?

  • The assessment failed to consider the long-term environmental effects of radioactive waste;
  • The assessment failed to look at alternatives for producing power, such as green energy.

On Sept. 12, we pointed out the assessment’s flaws in a letter to Canada’s Minister of the Environment Peter Kent and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission. We asked them to put the health of Ontarians and the environment first. That means reconvening the federal joint review panel that conducted the environmental assessment to re-examine whether people, fish and other aquatic species in Lake Ontario would be protected.

We received no reply to our letter. So now we’re asking a federal court to review the assessment and ensure that the communities and species that rely on Lake Ontario stay safe and healthy.