Mayor Mike Bradley believes plans by the Federal Government to introduce a floor price on carbon pollution will be “devastating” to Sarnia’s Chemical Valley.
MP Marilyn Gladu describes it as “horrific” and George Mallay says the Federal proposal has potential to put Sarnia at a “disadvantage”.
Mallay, general manager of the Sarnia Lambton Economic Partnership says with Donald Trump as president the US is going the other way. “Louisana and Texas don’t have cap – and - trade but we have it in Ontario and with the Federal government heading there the potential is to put us at a disadvantage”.
Mallay adds there are so many questions and so few answers. How do we work to try to make the best of it? How are we going to compete? What is the Province going to do to allow us to compete?
It isn’t clear how all this is going to work says Mallay, who along with his colleagues in the Chemical Valley is trying to get answers from senior governments.
In a submission on cap - and - trade Mallay’s organization suggests the Chemical Valley could be harder hit. “A transition is needed in the move toward a low carbon economy”.
Gladu is more outspoken. As the Conservative Party’s science critic, Gladu views the Federal Government’s stand on climate change as “horrific”, requiring a significant delay.
“This is nothing but a massive new tax” says Gladu adding, “for us in Sarnia it could be very punishing”.
She fears it will have a negative impact on NOVA Chemicals, which is considering Sarnia as a future site for a massive billion dollar plus polyethylene plant. “The problem for us,” says Gladu, “is it creates uncertainty for business and industry at a time when we are competing with the US gulf coast that doesn’t have any level of carbon tax”.
She describes it as an “unnecessary disadvantage”.
The potential for a company considering Ontario and Sarnia in particular is two levels of carbon tax (Federal and Provincial) by next year says Gladu. She is quick to point out Canada’s entire carbon contribution represents two per cent of the global footprint. “We could eliminate carbon and it wouldn’t solve global warming”.
She went on to say “Canada should be leveraging and using its carbon emissions technology to help other countries that are a more significant part of the problem”.
Gladu says China, India, the United States and Europe make up 60 per cent of the global carbon footprint and if we don’t fix that problem, the problem won’t get fixed”.
Bradley, who has had meetings with Chemical Valley officials, wants senior governments, especially Ottawa to “back off on cap - and - trade until we get a handle on what is happening in the United States”.
While he believes feedstock is a primary consideration in NOVA’s polyethylene decision Bradley says “we need to be aware that there is a president in the United States with a jobs agenda and that agenda could cost us”.
The Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce has also weighed in saying local businesses will be “overwhelmed” by the additional cost. And that’s in addition to soaring hydro bills.
The Ontario Chamber of Commerce suggests a third of small businesses could delay or cancel new investment.
Mallay says “collaboration” is need involving the province, municipal and industry leaders to find a more reasoned approach to cap – and – trade.