BC Energy Minister Bill Bennett
How do you know when a politician’s lying?
When you see his/her lips move.
Bill Bennett, the BC Hydro point man in the government, tells us that there will be a 28% increase in Hydro charges over the next few years, which NDP critic John Horgan says will raise a family’s costs by $300 dollars annually.
The NDP sent out a fundraising plea last week “to fund our work to protect British Columbians from these gigant rate hikes.” Simply campaigning to kill the increases without getting to the root of the matter will do nothing to (Read more…)
The Clore River (Neil Ever Osborne/ILCP)
Read this Nov. 22 story from Larry Pynn in The Vancouver Sun on Enbridge’s plan to resurrect a private run-of-river project on the Clore River in northwest BC. The 120-megawatt project was abandoned by another company after it learned of the river’s significant fish values.
A numbered company owned by Enbridge, proponent of the Northern Gateway pipeline project, wants to build a major run-of-river power project on the same fish-bearing B.C. river where an earlier such project was rejected on environmental grounds.
A report by Canadian Projects Ltd. for 8056587 Canada Inc. — (Read more…)
Opponents of Site C Dam paddle the Peace River (Damien Gillis)
Read this Nov. 21 story from The Vancouver Sun on criticism of the public hearings for the proposed Site C Dam, scheduled over the holiday season in northeast BC. The Wilderness Committee says the lack of any hearings outside of the Peace region and short timetable for registration are designed to discourage public participation.
A Joint Review Panel studying BC Hydro’s planned Site C dam is imposing unreasonable restrictions on the public’s ability to participate in an important project costing about $8 billion, the Wilderness Committee says.
Not only is the panel (Read more…)
Vancouver-based environmental law firm ecojustice announced a lawsuit Wednesday in BC court against the province’s oil and gas regulator over its allegedly unlawful issuance of water permits for fracking.
The suit, which also names energy giant Encana, is being brought on behalf of the Wilderness Committee and Sierra Club BC over increasingly controversial shale gas operations in northeast BC. It contends that the Oil and Gas Commission is violating the province’s Water Act.
Fracking is enormously water-intensive, which is of particular concern given recent drought conditions in the region and plans to dramatically increase fracking to supply proposed (Read more…)
Read this Nov. 8 story from EcoWatch on what is quite possibly Canada’s largest coal slurry spill, which happened in late October near Hinton, Alberta.
A scary thing happened on Halloween near Hinton, Alberta. Canada had what may be the largest coal slurry spill in its history when a dam failed at the Obed Mountain coal mine and 264 million gallons (1 billion litres) of waste water contaminated at least 25 kilometers of the Athabasca river. Ten municipalities located downstream of the spill were warned not to withdraw raw drinking water from the Athabasca river until it was deemed safe. (Read more…)
BECANCOUR, Que. – The Quebec government is helping to bankroll a $130-million project by RER Hydro, Hydro-Quebec and Boeing to generate clean energy on the St. Lawrence River, in what officials say would be the world’s largest river-generated turbine farm. The three-phase project could eventually culminate in nine megawatts of renewable power being generated in Montreal from 46 turbines that would be installed in 2016. The province could contribute up to $85 million on top of the $3 million it already spent for the initial $23 million testing phase.
The post New dam planned for St. Lawrence River appeared first (Read more…)
Public hearings into the controversial, $8 Billion Site C Dam are set to commence next month, as the Joint Review Panel for the project indicated today that proponent BC Hydro has filled in some key gaps identified in its proposal.
The process will kick off on December 9 in Fort St. John and is scheduled to wrap up by the end of January, witha decision expected mid-year.
Do we really need Site C Dam?
BC Hydro maintains the need for the project is strong – a contention that has been challenged repeatedly in these pages.
“The need for the project is (Read more…)
Frack water pit in BC’s Horn River Basin (photo: Damien Gillis)
By Anna Novacek – republished from Energy Law BC
As the only province in Canada that does not regulate groundwater use, BC has been referred to as the “wild west” of groundwater.
Groundwater has and will continue to be relied on heavily by the LNG industry as a key source of the extensive amount of water necessary to conduct hydraulic fracturing. While the amount of water will vary between wells due to the changes in geology and the size of the reservoir, the volumes can be immense. EnCana (Read more…)
This and that for your Thursday reading.
- Frances Russell rightly asks whose freedom is supposed to be protected by free trade agreements such as CETA: Once Canada signs CETA (the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement) with Europe, federal, provincial and municipal governments will suddenly find their hands and feet tied. Suddenly, they will experience real push-back from foreign multinationals should they try to use their historic right to maintain civic, provincial and national autonomy in governmental decision making.
Simultaneously, Canada’s sub-national governments will suddenly discover they have lost the ability to protect the environment, create well-paying, long-term jobs and (Read more…)
One of my favorite photographers, and a Canadian, eh?
“While trying to accommodate the growing needs of an expanding, and very thirsty civilization, we are reshaping the Earth in colossal ways. In this new and powerful role over the planet, we are also capable of engineering our own demise. We have to learn to think more long-term about the consequences of what we are doing, while we are doing it. My hope is that these pictures will stimulate a process of thinking about something essential to our survival; something we often take for granted—until it’s gone.”
“The project takes (Read more…)
photo: Canadian Natural Resources Limited
Read this Sept. 28 story from CBC on the ongoing Alberta bitumen leak crisis near Cold Lake. The Common Sense Canadian has been following the unfolding disaster for several months now and there appears to be no resolution in sight, as CNRL’s operation has spilled over 1.5 million litres of bitumen thus far.
First Nations near Cold Lake, Alta., are angry an oilsands company is draining a lake close to their home without consulting them.
Canadian Natural Resources Ltd is emptying two-thirds of the lake in an effort to stop a bitumen leak from (Read more…)
The results are in from Regina’s wastewater treatment referendum. And unfortunately, the combined forces of the City and the corporate sector (with an assist from far too much of the city’s media) were able to carry the day.
But there’s still plenty of reason to think we’re better off for having had the vote.
For one thing, we can now confirm that Reginans can be motivated to participate even in a single-issue referendum – with nearly as many total voters casting a ballot on a single decision as did in electing our entire slate of city leaders just last year. (Read more…)
Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.
- Today is of course voting day in Regina’s wastewater treatment plant referendum – and you can get voting information here. And Paul Dechene explains his personal Yes vote by pointing to the need for public control over our infrastructure, while Brian Webb highlights the importance of the treatment plan for water quality in Regina and elsewhere.
- Frances Russell traces the decline of democracy and equality in Canada over the past few decades to free trade agreements designed to limit both. And Miles Corak confirms that Canada has seen the same type of (Read more…)
As the old saying goes, if you sit down at a poker table and can’t spot the sucker, you’re it.
And there shouldn’t be much doubt that when the City of Regina sits down with an interconnected group of consultants and privatization advocates to decide who stands to be handed hundreds of millions of public dollars, the patsy won’t be found in the group of corporate participants.
Of course, the original plan for a privatized wastewater treatment plant allowed for a slightly cleaner process. Instead allowing the public a seat at the table, the City originally planned to ante up (Read more…)
Proposed Site C Dam – artist’s rendering
FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – It could be some time before a joint review panel considering the proposed Site C Dam in northeastern B.C., makes a decision about sending the project to a public hearing.
The panel is now seeking even more information from B.C. Hydro about the estimated $7.9-billion dam, which would produce electricity for about 450,000 homes annually, but flood a wide area of farm and First Nations land along the banks of the Peace River.
Panel members began preliminary assessment of the proposal over the (Read more…)
A few links and notes as Regina’s wastewater referendum approaches tomorrow.
- Jason Hammond explains that his Yes vote will be based largely on concerns about the City’s dishonesty and sense of entitlement in trying to push through a P3 model. And Paul Dechene provides the full list of City shenanigans throughout the referendum process.
- That is, until today – when Vanessa Brown revealed that the City is using a U.S. PR firm with a “passion (for) helping Republican candidates, elected officials, and conservative causes” – presumably to help it offer the level of accuracy and principle we’ve (Read more…)
One thing we share is an abundance of unsafe Quebec chrysotile AKA asbestos. Most of the world stopped using the miracle mineral once they realized what a global disaster its widespread use had been. Inhaled asbestos fibres cause lung cancer. There is some ongoing effort four decades after its use in new products was stopped in Canada, to remove it from buildings we live, work, and play in.
The effort to mitigate harm from asbestos has its limits, even in a developed country like Canada. An often overlooked source of asbestos fibres in our homes has taken a backseat, while (Read more…)
Here, on how the real question in Regina’s P3 referendum vote is that of how to operate the City’s vital infrastructure – and why we should vote “yes” to maintain some control.
For further reading…- CBC reports on last night debate between Jim Holmes and Michael Fougere.- Brent Sjoberg’s interview with Paul Dechene referenced in the column is here. – Ryan Deschamps’ commentary on rent-seeking in the context of the wastewater referendum is well worth a read (particularly given that the entire operational phase of the P3 model has been set up as a giant, 30-year pool (Read more…)
BC Energy Minister Bill Bennett (photo: CP)
I told you so!
My colleague Damien Gillis told you so! Independent economist Erik Andersen told you so! The Campbell/Clark government has taken the jewel of our diadem, BC Hydro, and forced it into what would be, for any company in the private sector, bankruptcy.
We learn this from a leaked internal BC Hydro document, headlined in the September 11 Vancouver Sun, where Independent Power Projects (IPPs) share part of the blame for the massive power bill hikes on the way for Hydro customers – over 26% by 2016! By 2024, rates (Read more…)
. . . → Read More: The Common Sense Canadian: Massive power bill increases due to Liberals’ failed IPP scheme
WINNIPEG – Manitoba’s Métis federation is appealing an environmental licence granted for the construction of a controversial $3-billion hydro line.
President David Chartrand said the federation has formally registered an appeal with Conservation Minister Gord Mackintosh. A plan to build a 1,300-kilometre transmission line up the west side of Lake Manitoba would have a significant impact on the Métis, he said.
The hydro line is to run through the heart of Métis territory and would affect traditional cultural activities such as hunting, gathering and trapping. The area is already under “significant environmental stress,” Chartrand added.
“The Manitoba government cannot continue (Read more…)
Read this Sept. 11 story from The Vancouver Sun, confirming what The Common Sense Canadian has been predicting for years: massive rate hikes for BC Hydro customers due to the failed BC Liberal energy policy.
Homeowners, small businesses and industrial users are facing a staggering 26.4-per-cent electricity rate increase from 2014 to 2016, according to a confidential BC Hydro document. B.C. Energy Minister Bill Bennett said Tuesday the coming hike will not be that high. However, in an interview, he said he could not put a number to it.
According to a Rates Working Group document dated Aug. (Read more…)
In her new book, Blue Future, international bestselling author and activist Maude Barlow warns about the grave consequences of the deepening global water crisis.
The post Maude Barlow: Blue Future: Protecting Water for People and the Planet Forever appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.