Automotive Pollution Reduction Act

An Act to protect human health and the environment by oxygenating automotive fuels and eliminating the gasoline additive MMT

This bill was last introduced in the 37th Parliament, 1st Session, which ended in September 2002.

Sponsor

Clifford Lincoln  Liberal

Introduced as a private member’s bill. (These don’t often become law.)

Status

Not active, as of Feb. 8, 2001
(This bill did not become law.)

Elsewhere

All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

Automotive Pollution Reduction ActPrivate Members' Business

February 22nd, 2001 / 6:10 p.m.
See context

Kitchener Centre Ontario

Liberal

Karen Redman LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, first of all I would like to applaud the motivations of the member for Lac-Saint-Louis in bringing forward a bill that aims at improving the environmental performance of vehicles. The government, with the support of members like my hon. colleague, has taken and will continue to take strong action on air pollution.

The particulars of this bill, however, including some of the environmental as well as economic consequences, make it impossible for the government to support it. We are, however, moving forward with programs that have equivalent or even better environmental results than the ones intended in this bill.

On February 19 the minister announced a 10 year regulatory road map for cleaner vehicles and fuels which will give Canadians cleaner air to breathe and will better protect their health from airborne pollutants. These actions follow a significant clean air event of 2000, the negotiation of and the signature to the historic ozone annex to the 1991 Canada-U.S. air quality agreement.

The ozone annex is a major accomplishment in the transboundary field. Studies show that up to 90% of the smog we see during the summer months in central and Atlantic Canada comes from the United States. Clearly pollution does not need a passport.

The ozone annex contains commitments for action by both countries and will deliver clean air to up to 16 million Canadians in Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada and millions more in the 18 American states as they apply the commitment to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds.

Reaching an agreement in 2000 on the ozone annex was an opportunity Canada did not want to miss. The government's implementation plan for the annex is a major step forward in capturing opportunities. The plan represents $120 million of investment from the Government of Canada for cleaner, healthier air.

While the ozone annex commitments and benefits are targeted at Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada, the regulatory and other initiatives unveiled on February 19 will benefit all Canadians. Over 30 million Canadians will benefit. These are national benefits because, clearly, clean air is a national issue.

Science tells us that more than 5,000 Canadians die prematurely each year because of air pollution. Hundreds of thousands suffer from aggravated asthma, bronchitis and other respiratory illnesses. Now we are learning that air pollution affects our health at levels lower than we previously believed. The people most vulnerable are children and the elderly.

In our election platform and in the Speech from the Throne, the Government of Canada promised opportunities for all. Opportunities come in all shapes and sizes. If a smog warning prevents a child with asthma from playing outside, that is a missed opportunity. If an elderly person becomes a virtual shut-in during a heat wave, that too is a lost opportunity.

This investment focuses on action in two key areas, transportation and industrial sectors, backed up by better air quality monitoring of air pollution and an improved and expanded reporting system so that Canadians can follow our progress.

Transportation is the biggest cause of air pollution in Canada. For that reason, our 10 year regulatory plan of action contains stringent new low emission standards for passenger cars, light duty trucks, sport utility vehicles and new standards for the fuels that power them.

With this package, nitrogen oxide emissions, a key ingredient of smog, will be reduced by 90% for vehicles of the year 2004 and beyond. However there is more. The package of regulatory initiatives will also apply to the off road sector which includes diesel engines for construction vehicles and farm vehicles, and gasoline utility engines for snow blowers, lawnmowers and chain saws. These handy household recreational vehicles and tools account for approximately 20% of the transportation sector's smog inventory.

In addition we are also looking at new measures to reduce sulphur in residential and industrial fuel oils, as well as taking action on the gasoline additive MTBE.

It is understood that a major tenet of Bill C-254 is the support for clean, renewable, biomass based fuels such as ethanol. To this point the government has recently increased its support to ethanol production through the action plan 2000 to address climate change. We have committed an additional $150 million in loan guarantees for construction of biomass to ethanol plants to be delivered through the Farm Credit Corporation.

It is expected there will be five additional world scale production facilities commissioned in Canada, producing approximately 750 million litres of ethanol per year as a direct result of the loan guarantee program. Additionally, $3 million has been earmarked to support the promotion of ethanol blended gasoline and increase consumer demand for this environmentally friendlier gasoline. We will continue to support ethanol production through the excise tax relief program.

These actions are in keeping with the government's desire to see clean, renewable fuel ethanol expand and thrive upon solid footing in a response to normal market forces.

What the Minister of the Environment unveiled in the 10 year plan is a major step forward in bringing cleaner air to Canadians, but the federal government's job is far from finished. The government wants to engage more Canadians in direct actions that they can take and to empower them to hold governments to account to meet clean air commitments.

Our search for scientific understanding for the sources of air pollution and the solutions we take must continue. The 10 year plan for cleaner vehicles and fuels is another step along the road to cleaner air and healthier Canadians.

Automotive Pollution Reduction ActPrivate Members' Business

February 22nd, 2001 / 5:55 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Roger Gallaway Liberal Sarnia—Lambton, ON

Mr. Speaker, I too, in following along with our last speaker, would like to congratulate the member for Lac-Saint-Louis for bringing this matter back to the House. I know that the member has a commitment to private members' business and to the environment. As a result of that he has brought this bill back. After having said all that, however, I could not support this bill if it were votable.

We have to remember a number of things in the House. I heard the critic from the fifth party refer to the science of this issue. We have to read the bill and go back to recent history, recent history being 1995, 1996 and 1997, when a debate was held in this place on this very topic, specifically with respect to MMT. At that time a lot of preposterous things were said about it.

First, it was said that MMT was not used in third world countries such as Colombia, Venezuela and all sorts of other places. That is very true because in those countries leaded gasoline is used.

Second, it was said that MMT was prohibited in the United States. That is absolutely false. This is the same as saying Canadian money is prohibited in the United States or vice versa or that we do not use American money in Canada and what is wrong with that. The real point is the Americans had a much different process of licensing additives. That process has worked in the United States. In 1995 or 1996 the American EPA licensed MMT and today it is used in about 30% of gasoline sold in that country.

Many things have been said around this topic, which I would characterize at the level of grade nine science, that are not correct. Look at the bill and remember back in history as to what occurred in this very place under a government bill.

We talk about the environment, yet clause 4 of this bill issues a prohibition to import a product. How can we use an ostensibly environmental bill as a trade bill? The answer is quite simple. There is no evidence whatsoever that MMT is detrimental to the environment or one's health.

The argument was made before the American EPA that MMT brought a lot of positive attributes, one being it reduces NOx emissions. It lowers such things as sulphur dioxide, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide emissions in the refining process. MMT boosts the octane rating of gasoline so less crude oil is used. There are a number of positive attributes. Canada has been using it since 1977 and has reaped the benefits of MMT usage.

I will go back to recent history. In 1995 a great crusade started in this place to ban MMT importation. This is what clause 4 of Bill C-254 would do. However, we really do not have any reason for doing it. If I go back to 1997, that bill became law.

In June of 1997 an interprovincial trade tribunal ruled that the bill which was passed in this place, in the Senate and received royal assent, was in contravention of interprovincial trade. The environment officials, who so vehemently defended the bill before House and Senate committees and who said they were following the political lead of doing the right thing, were forced to do a 180 degree turn.

In June of 1997, just as the dog days of summer were about to begin, the then minister of industry and the minister of the environment issued a press release and attended a press conference at which time they did three things. First, they said mea culpa, they were wrong. They apologized to the manufacturer Ethyl Corporation.

Second, they said that law could be of no force or effect.

Third, they were required to issue a cheque to Ethyl Corporation for about $18 million Canadian.

That is a pretty remarkable series of events done on the eve of summer. They had to do that because, first, what they did was wrong, and second, they would not listen. They would not listen to the science. It was Grade 9 science they were listening to. They would not listen to their provincial counterparts. Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Alberta objected to the bill. They thought it was a good product and did not want to be deprived of it.

The end result of that little exercise was that the Canadian taxpayer forked out $18 million and the Ministers of Industry and of the Environment said to Ethyl Corporation “We are sorry and we made a mistake and we will not do it again”.

Here we are and we are doing it again.

On that basis I would like to apply what is called the prudence principle: that is, it is prudent not to do what we know is against laws, mainly laws of interprovincial trade and under NAFTA.

I have a couple of final points. We have heard a lot about the precautionary principle and we have heard reference to the Rio convention and all other international accords entered into by Canada. If one assumes that the precautionary principle is to be applied in the face of lack of any evidence—in fact the evidence is quite to the contrary, but at that time, of course, the government would not allow a third party scientific panel to get involved and do an assessment—I would make the same suggestion that we could probably outlaw Tim Horton's doughnuts because if we eat enough of them they are bad for us. If we eat bacon every morning, it will probably kill us. The precautionary principle in the absence of any scientific evidence is not what Rio intended.

I would like to make a couple of comments with respect to the addition into the argument of the use of ethanol. I would concur a great deal with what the member for Athabasca had to say about that point, and that is this: yes, in the United States ethanol is used extensively, however, we have to look at why that is the case. The case is that in the United States a number of highly populated cities were having problems with CO2 emissions. The end result is that ethanol usage will decrease CO2. Of course it ups the NOX, but it is a bit of a balance of both. The Americans decided that they would use ethanol to cut smog. There were 11 centres in the U.S. where ethanol was mandatory at 10%.

How do they do it? The senators in some of the midwestern states got about to subsidizing corn production in a big way. If we want to subsidize corn farmers, and I am not making an argument against that, let us just say so. Or as the member for Athabasca has said, let us explain to Canadians why the price of gasoline is going up. Part of it is the price of crude, absolutely, but a bigger factor in all of this is what occurs in places right here and in provincial capitals where, as we saw last year, sulphur requirements were imposed upon the industry without its co-operation: we are seeing that the price of gasoline will rise.

In summary, I say that this is once again bringing in something that ought not to be declared a law, and it is not likely to be under the circumstances. Second, we have to be a little more frank and open with people when we start going on crusades in this place about gasoline prices. There have been 12 federal inquiries and one provincial inquiry in Ontario and what did they prove? Absolutely nothing. They proved that we are a contributing factor to the high price of gasoline.

Automotive Pollution Reduction ActPrivate Members' Business

February 22nd, 2001 / 5:30 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Clifford Lincoln Liberal Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

moved that Bill C-254, an act to protect human health and the environment by oxygenating automotive fuels and eliminating the gasoline additive MMT, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to introduce at second reading Bill C-254, which is an act to protect human health and the environment by oxygenating automobile fuels and eliminating the additive MMT.

I am sad to say that due to the constrictions of our system this so-called debate will end today in one hour and this bill has not been declared votable, which I am very sad about, considering that just yesterday the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the highest authority regarding climate change, stated that in this century there might be a climate change rise, that the seas might rise between one and even eight metres. Here we are in the House not being able to debate important issues such as transportation fuel, which accounts for 25% of greenhouse gases.

In fact, the objective of my bill is two-fold: first of all to oxygenate gasoline or diesel fuel by at least 2.7% in weight, which is roughly equivalent to 8% oxygenation by volume, and second, to phase out the additive MMT, which would then not be required, by July 2005, to give time for this to happen.

The principle behind oxygenation of gasoline or diesel fuel is very simple. The more oxygen you put in fuel, whether it is gasoline or diesel fuel, the less toxicity there is. I have a chart drawn by one of the foremost experts in fuel which shows there are several problems with gasoline or diesel fuel: carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, volatile organic compounds, nitrogen oxides, particulate matter, carbon dioxide and sulphur dioxide. In addition, because we use unleaded gasoline and we are trying to phase out benzene, we have to further refine gasoline to the nth degree to permit these things to happen.

What we are trying to do instead of using piecemeal solutions to nitrous oxide or carbon monoxide or other problems with fuels is to use one holistic approach, because what we can do by oxygenating fuels is to use ethanol, which is a pure, natural substance. The more we refine gasoline or diesel, the more CO2 and toxic carcinogens take place.

Ethanol has the highest octane, the highest oxygen and the highest CO2 fighting properties of any alternative fuel available today. In addition to it being a natural fuel, it can be produced out of coal or biomass such as buffalo grass or trees. It can be produced out of sugar cane and it can even be produced out of solid waste from municipal dumps.

Being a natural substance, it produces a lot of oxygen. If we could use 100% ethanol in our automobiles it would be equal to 35% of oxygen within the fuel.

We are so far behind the United States, it is not funny. The United States started to talk about oxygenation of gasoline way back when in 1990, when it amended the U.S. clean air act to force oxygenation of gasoline in wintertime in certain targeted large cities which had a particular pollution problem.

Last year 28 states of the United States were legislating on oxygenation. This year it might be all the 50 states. My bill used the state of Minnesota as a model which legislated oxygenation four years ago. It now has 10 ethanol producing plants which produced 869 million litres of ethanol, three times what we are producing in the all of Canada.

In the Chicago area oxygenated gas or oxy-fuel is the only gasoline or diesel fuel one can buy. It produces 2.25 billion litres of ethanol. Here we are still in the dark ages because we do not want to debate the issue. We do not want to legislate it. We go by piecemeal solutions without legislation to back it up.

I wish to give an example of what is done in the United States. By the spring of 2001 there will be 1.2 million vehicles fuelled by what is known as E85, which is 85% ethanol. In Canada, we have 25 vehicles that are run by the Ministry of Natural Resources. Our buses run on 10% ethanol but our cars do not.

Why can we not legislate it? Why can we not be like the United States? Why can we not be like Sweden where ethanol is available from north to south and where the Scania buses run on 100% ethanol which is 35% oxygenated fuel?

We do not even want to discuss it here. My bill is non-votable because as private members we are not supposed to have smart ideas. We are not supposed to know. Meanwhile, 28 states of the United States debated legislation last year and perhaps up to 50 states will debate it this year.

Why should we also ban MMT? I know we have had debates on this subject where the Canadian Alliance and the Bloc Quebecois fought hard for the Ethyl Corporation. I ask for one good reason why we in Canada should be the silly guinea pigs, the only industrial nation on earth using MMT.

It is not used in Sweden, Norway, Finland, England or Germany. It is not even used in the United States, the home of the Ethyl Corporation, because it is manganese, a chemical that has toxifying properties.

Scientists not only in the United States but in Europe and elsewhere, and certainly the two leading scientists on manganese in Canada, Dr. Mergler at the University of Quebec in Montreal and Dr. Zayed at the University of Montreal, have shown in their studies a connection between manganese and motor impairment in human beings.

I know the studies are not conclusive. I know our health ministry is conducting another multi-year study. Surely we as a country should sign the real precautionary principle which says that if there is a threat perceived to human health and the environment then let us not use the substance.

My bill was designed to oxygenate gasoline and to phase out MMT by 2005 because it is not needed and it is a toxic agent. Unfortunately my bill will die in one hour at the date when we are supposed to be fighting climate change.

I must say in presenting this bill that I am at the same time saddened. I hope we will use these opportunities to reform our system, to give private members a chance to debate ideas whether they are right or they are wrong in front of all their peers, not in front of a little committee of five or six people that decides in secret whether it is good or it is bad.

Automotive Pollution Reduction ActRoutine Proceedings

February 8th, 2001 / 10:10 a.m.
See context

York North Ontario

Liberal

Karen Kraft Sloan Liberalfor Mr. Clifford Lincoln

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-254, an act to protect human health and the environment by oxygenating automotive fuels and eliminating the gasoline additive MMT.

Mr. Speaker, the purpose of the bill is to protect human health and the environment against certain harmful or potentially harmful automotive fuels by reducing automotive pollution in Canada.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)