Sat. Dec 9th, 2023

Un regulation on decarbonization contested by Énergir

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By-law 831 of the City of Prévost will prohibit certain uses of gas in new residential and institutional buildings.

The Canadian Press

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The municipality of Prévost, in the Laurentians, announced on Wednesday that it is the subject of legal action by the company Énergir which aims, it says, to counter its regulations on decarbonization buildings and “addressing the capacity of cities to act on environmental matters.”

The mayor of Prévost, a municipality located a few kilometers from Saint-Jérôme, is very, very disappointed with the behavior of Énergir, which opposes a regulation that aims to reduce greenhouse gases.< /p>

I would like to use another word, but, to be polite, I found it very, very cavalier, Paul Germain told The Canadian Press, adding that it's David against Goliath.

By-law 831 of the City of Prévost, adopted a few weeks ago, will prohibit from the end of December certain uses of gas in new residential and institutional buildings in Prévost, with the exception of gas stoves and barbecues. .

But Énergir, which distributes 97% of the natural gas consumed in Quebec, filed an originating application which says that our regulation is unreasonable, discriminatory, and that we do not have the right to legislate, explains Mayor Germain.

The mayor is of the opinion that the sole purpose of the legal proceedings is to invalidate by-law 831, which he describes as innovative and reasonable. He points out that since the regulations were presented last April, they have been the subject of collaborative work, including with representatives of Énergir.

Énergir is owned by the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) and the Fonds de solidarité FTQ.

The mayor of Prévost does not understand why Énergir , which is partly owned by Quebecers, attacks the capacity of cities to act on environmental matters.

According to him, Énergir wants to create a legal precedent with the City of Prévost, because many municipalities and cities have consulted it since April and are preparing to adopt similar measures.

Why they didn't send us a formal notice before or why they didn't send us a letter more formal or just call us? It's really very, very disappointing.

A quote from Paul Germain, the mayor of Prévost

On behalf of the members of the municipal council, Paul Germain deplores that the gas giant is attacking a municipality of just over 13,000 inhabitants.

Prévost established, two years ago, a 50% reduction target for greenhouse gases (GHG) compared to those of 2018.

However, our regulation is in perfect line with the government objectives of reducing GHGs by 50% in buildings for 2030, our regulation is solid at the level of our citizens, it is solid at the level of the environment and it is solid at the legal level.

A quote from Paul Germain, the mayor of Prévost

In its motion filed with the Superior Court of Quebec, Énergir alleges that the by-law of the Town of Prévost is irreconcilable with several laws and regulations adopted by the government of Quebec, and that the power of municipalities to adopt environmental by-laws must be circumscribed and subject to a coherent legislative logic of the province.

Énergir also maintains that the City did not have the legal jurisdiction allowing it to , through its municipal regulations, to prohibit a source of energy and requests that by-law 831 be declared null, invalid, inoperative.

The gas distributor argues that the government's Green Economy Plan 2030 foresees that the partial conversion of natural gas to electricity will have to take place. part of a global and balanced approach, based on optimal complementarity of electricity and gas networks. In other words, the energy transition includes the use of natural gas, particularly in commercial and institutional buildings.

In an email sent to the media, Énergir also maintains that regulation 831 restricts citizens' choice.

By favoring only electricity to the detriment of other renewable energy solutions, such as renewable natural gas and dual energy-RGN, both in the new building and the existing one, the City of Prévost restricts not only Énergir's customers, but its citizens, in the choice of opting for energy solutions that are just as environmentally relevant, affirms the company.

Several organizations quickly reacted to the exit of the mayor of Prévost.

Énergir does not behave as an actor of change, but as a simple distributor of fossil gas which does not hesitate to hinder municipal initiatives and harm collective efforts to fight against climate change when we stands in its way, denounced the David Suzuki Foundation in a press release also signed by the Quebec Association of Physicians for the Environment (AQME), the Coalition Sortons la Caisse du carbon and Greenpeace Canada, in particular. p>

According to them, the action filed against Prévost proves that Énergir does not really want municipalities to implement the energy transition.

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">The David Suzuki Foundation and other environmental groups are demanding that the CDPQ and the Fonds de solidarité FTQ commit now to intervening with Energir so that it abandons this pursuit and reorients its business model towards a deep decarbonization of the economy.

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