09/24/2012 06:16 EDT | Updated 11/24/2012 05:12 EST

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.: Saskatchewan Clean Energy Needs To Move Forward

SASKATOON - The nephew of former U.S president John F. Kennedy says Saskatchewan should be moving towards cleaner energy.

Speaking in Saskatoon, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. said the province has tremendous potential for wind and solar power.

Kennedy suggested Saskatchewan relies too much on coal-burning power plants.

He said such energy is too expensive for taxpayers and harms the environment.

Saskatchewan is one of the most coal dependent regions per capita in North America.

Kennedy gave the keynote addressed at an economic conference sponsored by the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations.

"The issue is the illusion that you have cheap coal here," he said "Coal is heavily subsidized and it's imposing far greater costs on the people of Saskatchewan. If you took the whole community costs, it would be much cheaper to power this province on wind and solar."

The "catastrophic" environmental impact isn't part of any economic equation, he added.

"This is one of the costs of coal that they don't tell you about when they say that it's 11 cents a kilowatt hour. I would bet you ... that every fish in Saskatchewan has dangerous levels of mercury in its flesh because of coal-burning power plants."

Kennedy is currently serving as a senior attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council in America.


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