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Elimination of Ground Current Pollution Act Closer to Becoming Law

February 18, 2016

QUEEN’S PARK – Chatham-Kent-Essex MPP Rick Nicholls is pleased that his Private Members’ Bill targeting ground current pollution has passed a crucial stage on its way to becoming a provincial law.

“I have heard from dairy and other livestock farmers and concerned citizens across the province looking for action on this ongoing issue. Today is a victory for them,” Nicholls said. “Their voices have been heard loud and clear.”

Members from numerous farming associations across Ontario were in the Legislature today to watch the debate on Bill 161, Elimination of Ground Current Pollution Act, 2016.

Ground current pollution has led to a decrease in production for livestock, reproductive problems, and in some cases even the death of animals. Questions have also been raised about the potential impact of ground current pollution on human health.

“As the PC Critic for Community Safety, I view this issue as a general safety concern, but it especially impacts the agriculture sector. A farmer in my riding lost his prize dairy herd due to uncontrolled ground current and sadly there are many examples of this happening in Ontario. We need to act before more harm is done,” Nicholls continued.

Bill 161 would require electricity providers to respond to a complaint within 10 days of receiving it, investigate the claim within 30 days, and take all necessary steps to eliminate the objectionable current flow within 6 months.

The Ontario government would be required to develop a comprehensive plan for the elimination of objectionable ground current in Ontario and implement it within ten years.

Nicholls’ bill was influenced by the work of former Liberal MPP Maria Van Bommel, who first attempted to pass a similar law in 2006.

“To me, a good idea is a good idea no matter who presents it,” Nicholls added.

Now that the bill has passed Second Reading it is one step closer to becoming the first law dealing with ground current on the books in Ontario.

“Other jurisdictions around the world have recognized the problem and have taken steps to address it. I look forward to a ‘made in Ontario’ solution securing family farming businesses, while saving the lives of livestock and ensuring a sustainable future,”  Nicholls concluded.