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January 19, 2001
Toronto joins legal action against U.S. coal-fired plants
Toronto Public Health -- The City of Toronto filed a motion today with the U.S.
District Court in Ohio to submit a "Friend of the Court" brief in the legal
action against American Electric Power (AEP). AEP is being taken to court by
the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the State of New York and a number of
community groups for failing to comply with the U.S. Clean Air Act.

Dr. Sheela Basrur, Toronto's Medical Officer of Health, said the city's
residents have a clear stake in this issue.

"We want the U.S. courts to know that residents on this side of the border are
being harmed by dirty coal-fired power plants operating in the United States,"
said Dr. Basrur.

Coal-fired power plants in the mid-western United States are the most
significant contributors of transboundary air pollution affecting southern

"AEP operates some of the dirtiest coal-fired power plants in the United
States," said Toronto City Councillor Jack Layton. In 1996, AEP emitted more
smog-producing air pollutants than any of the other 837 electrical utilities
operating in the United States. "With Ontario's electrical market opening to
competition, we want to send a clear signal to the electrical industry that we
don't want cheap electricity if it comes at the expense of our air quality."

Toronto Public Health has also released a report, "Toronto's Air - Let's Make
It Healthy," an update of the "Burden of Illness" study released last May. This
report shows that levels of air pollutants linked to adverse health effects
have not been reduced in Toronto in the past 20 years.

Both the "Friend of the Court" brief and "Toronto's Air - Let's Make It
Healthy" will be presented at this year's first meeting of the Board of Health
on Monday, January 22, 1 p.m., Committee Room 1, 2nd Floor, Toronto City Hall.

The court brief and the report are available on the City's Web site at

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