No one should have to put up with the mess people in Hillside face periodically from their corporate neighbour: blow-outs of fly ash from NSP’s Trenton Generating Station. Yet despite assurances in recent years of improvements, residents in that part of town end up with another heap of black dust on houses, yards and vehicles.
More to the point, understandably, they’re fearful about toxins they’re inhaling.
As the Hillside-Trenton Environment Watch Association has done numerous times, members were out Thursday protesting the continuing nuisance and health hazard.
Yet, as Pictou East MLA Clarrie MacKinnon, told members, “there isn’t a magic wand.”
The continuing goal is to gradually retire the coal-burners in favour of other sources of energy, but that’s a mammoth job for something serving an entire province.
But NSP Trenton as a source of pollutants is nothing new. It’s an old station, and the recent suggestions of conversion to natural gas – should that resource ever make it to the county – have been ruled out. The Trenton plant is destined to be retired.
Had there been an opportunity to convert it, such designs should have been considered 15 or more years ago as distribution of offshore gas was being developed – with a greater push to bring a line to industry in the county. Now, as it looks like gas could be brought here, it’s too late for Trenton NSP.
The eventual shutdown of the plant doesn’t, however, solve the immediate pain.
In the meantime, what about the much-ballyhooed bag house system installed several years ago to capture particulate?
Working only some of the time isn’t acceptable. A lot more pressure has to be put on Nova Scotia Power to ensure all environmental controls work at peak efficiency all the time. There must be consequences for any breach.
Make the penalty high enough to force the utility to ponder hard. Make it so that simply going afterward and paying to clean cars or power-wash house siding isn’t the cheaper option.