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The Common Sense Canadian: IPPs an even worse rip-off than Site C Dam, SFU economist warns

Construction of a private power project on the Ashlu River (Photo: Range Life)

The following article by renknowned energy expert and SFU economist Dr. Marvin Shaffer is republished from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives’ Policy Note

You would think that the fiasco of the government forcing BC Hydro in recent years to buy run-of-river and other IPP supply that it didn’t need, resulting in losses of hundreds of millions of dollars per year, would have put that unfortunate policy on the back burner for a long time.

Not so. Clean Energy BC, the lobby group very ably representing (Read more…)

Things Are Good: Surfing Oceanic Data

The ocean is massive and it’s experiencing massive change thanks to climate change and humans depleting its resources. We know this, but we don’t know the extent of the harm done to the oceans nor many other aspects of life in the seas.

A surfer and engineer, Benjamin Thompson, decided to do tackle these problems. He invented a special fin for surfboards that can collect data about the planet’s waters while one enjoys some fun recreation

In a world that grows more “Big Data”-obsessed by the day, the amount of information we have on the world’s oceans remains curiously small. (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: Three myths about the Energy East pipeline

Maude Barlow, the national chairperson of the Council of Canadians, and Matt Abbott, explain the three myths being used to promote TransCanada’s Energy East pipeline.

The post Three myths about the Energy East pipeline appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Chris Matthews takes note of the gross growth of inequality in the U.S. Dean Baker notes that much of the wealth built on what’s branded as “innovation” reflects little more than successful attempts to evade health, safety and consumer protection laws. And Mike De Souza explores how the notorious ALEC pushes climate denial and other anti-social policies with an alarming amount of support from businesses who (once challenged) claim not to know who they’re funding.

- Meanwhile, Digby points out that the corporatist right is downright eager to work people to the (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Evidence shows no need for Site C Dam: Economist to Energy Minister

Energy Minister Bill Bennett

Dear Minister;

I know you have heard it all so I guess it is now all about the legacy you and your cabinet colleagues are willing to create. Thinking in terms of demand for electricity in BC, the reported record of sales by BC Hydro has flat-lined at about 50,000 GWhrs between 2008 and now. BC Hydro reports sales for four categories of customers.

Even with a 1.2% annual population growth, as estimated by BC Statistics, sales on a per capital basis are have been trending lower. It is a fact, long denied by the (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Harper govt joins BC in backing Site C, despite “significant adverse environmental effects”

Bear Flat in northeast BC’s Peace Valley – which would be flooded by Site C Dam (Damien Gillis)

Read this October 14 story from Larry Pynn in the Vancouver Sun on the Harper Cabinet’s conditional approval of the controversial, proposed Site C Dam in BC.

B.C. Hydro’s planned $7.9-billion Site C dam on the Peace River should proceed with conditions despite the likelihood of “significant adverse environmental effects,” the Canadian government announced Tuesday.

The fate of the long-touted and controversial megaproject now rests with the B.C. cabinet, with a decision expected by November.

In announcing Ottawa’s decision, (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Site C gets BC certificate; Feds, First Nations leave project in doubt

Location of proposed Site C Dam (photo: Damien Gillis)

Read this Oct. 14 story by William Stodalka in the Alaska Highway News on the BC Liberal government’s decision to issue its environmental certificate for the highly controversial proposed Site C Dam.

The B.C. Ministry of Environment has approved an environmental assessment certificate for the Site C project.

The Federal government has yet to issue a decision about the proposed hydroelectric dam near Fort St. John, and the provincial government may still turn down the project, even though the environmental assessment certificate has been issued.

This recent decision will likely (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: As California drought drives up BC food prices…a dam to flood our best farmland?

California’s Central Valley is facing record drought conditions

As British Columbians share a meal this weekend, giving thanks for the food with which we are so blessed, year-round, let us pause for a moment to consider where so much of it comes from: California.

Let us also say a prayer for the last truly productive tracts of local farmland we have left, now threatened by industrial development – first and foremost being the Peace River Valley, in northeast BC, where the proposed Site C Dam could wash away enough good agricultural terrain to feed a million people.

BC depends on (Read more…)

Things Are Good: Look at This Landscaping Called Xeriscaping

California is suffering a huge drought due to horrible water use policies and climate change. For some reason people love to have lawns where they naturally shouldn’t exist, this itself leads to massive water wastage and arguably microclimate issues. Thankfully, perhaps people are beginning to understand that their landscaping is a sad attempt to modify their built environment. A better solution than an artificial environment is a natural one. Xeriscaping may be a good solution to reduce water waste. Check out how it can replace lawns with aesthetic and naturally pleasing solutions.

The Canadian Progressive: 70 of Canadians support a national moratorium on fracking: POLL

A new poll commissioned by the Council of Canadians reveals that an overwhelming majority of Canadians oppose fracking, support “a national moratorium on fracking until it is scientifically proven to be safe.”

The post 70 of Canadians support a national moratorium on fracking: POLL appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

The Common Sense Canadian: Ex-TD Bank Comptroller: Site C Dam too costly, unnecessary, rushed

Site C Dam will unnecessarily cost taxpayers billions, says one financial expert

The following is a transcript of Rob Botterell’s recent speech to the BC Select Committee on Finance and Government Services. Mr. Botterell is a lawyer, former senior government official and former comptroller of TD Bank’s BC division.

I’m here today to talk about the pending Site C decision and the budget and fiscal implications. This project will be the biggest public infrastructure project in the next 20 years if it proceeds. It’s estimated, currently, to cost $8 billion, which would increase the provincial debt by over 10 percent. (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Video showcases Peace Valley as Cabinet decides on Site C Dam

First Nations, local business people and farmers speak out against the $8 Billion-plus proposed Site C Dam, which would flood or disrupt over 30,000 acres of prime farmland and wilderness in northeast BC’s Peace Valley.

Directed by conservation filmmaker Jenny Nichols and featuring the photography of Garth Lenz, this short video shows off the spectacular landscape threatened by the project, which federal cabinet is due to decide on this month.

The post Video showcases Peace Valley as Cabinet decides on Site C Dam appeared first on The Common Sense Canadian.

The Common Sense Canadian: Suzuki: Site C Dam would swamp First Nations’ treaty rights

First Nations and farmers join forces at “Paddle for the Peace” to oppose Site C (Damien Gillis)

B.C. First Nations chiefs recently travelled to Ottawa to urge the federal government to pull the plug on the costliest infrastructure project in the country. At an estimated $7.9 billion and growing, the proposed Site C Dam on the beautiful Peace River in northeastern B.C. has been criticized for spiralling costs, questions about whether the electricity it would produce is even needed, and concerns about the environmental and social impacts of flooding thousands of hectares of prime farmland, irreplaceable (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: First Nations to Ottawa: Scrap Site C Dam or LNG is a no-go

BC Chiefs Roland Wilson, Liz Logan and Stewart Phillip taking their anti-Site C message to Ottawa (Twitter)

Read this Sept. 24 Globe and Mail story by Dene Moore on the trip taken by several BC First Nations chiefs to Ottawa, calling on the federal Cabinet to reject the proposed Site C Dam.

With a decision imminent on the Site C hydroelectric project in northeastern British Columbia, area First Nations have delivered a message to the provincial government: You can have the dam or you can have liquefied natural gas, but you will not get both.

The $8-billion dam (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Large hydro dams aren’t “green” – they actually drive climate change

BC’s WAC Bennett Dam (Photo: Damien Gillis)

Read this August 14 EcoWatch column by Gary Wockner, which explodes the myth of “green” hydro dams – food for thought as Canada considers building Site C Dam atop some of the country’s best farmland.

People believe hydroelectric dams provide clean energy. It’s not true.

I don’t blame the public or the media for making this false claim—I’ve heard it come out of the mouth of the biggest dam operator in the Southwest U.S. (see CRWUA presentation, Dec. 2013, slide 13), and the media often repeats it (see E&E (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: BC Hydro vastly underestimates loss of farmland to Site C Dam

At a recent press conference in Vancouver, renowned agrologist Wendy Holm and lifelong Peace Valley farmer Renee Ardill spoke to the vast, quality farmland that the proposed Site C Dam would flood or disrupt.

“These soils are completely unique,” explained Holm, a past president of the BC Institute of Agrologists.

They are in an east-west running valley with a Class 1 climate. They are alluvial soils. These were undervalued by the BC Hydro process.

In fact, Hydro counted just 13% of the land that would be lost to future agriculture in its environmental report on the dam, Holm charged. She testified (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Audio: From Site C’s economic folly to update on Mount Polley

The Common Sense Canadian’s Damien Gillis and CFAX 1070′s Ian Jessop discuss the economic disaster that the proposed Site C Dam represents from British Columbians.

At a projected cost of over $100 per megawatt hour – and likely more than $8 billion for construction – the project stands to lose BC taxpayers and Hydro ratepayers $350 million a year, says industrial energy expert Dan Potts.

All this for power we don’t need for BC’s homes and businesses, which are already self-sufficient in electricity well into the foreseeable future. BC Liberal government’s reasons for building Site C are either power liquefied natural gas projects or (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Site C Dam: Food for thought

Check out this short video from The Peace Valley Environment association and The Common Sense Canadian’s Damien Gillis on the extraordinary agricultural land that would be flooded by the proposed Site C Dam.

The Peace River Valley, in northeast BC, provides much of the province’s energy needs from two large dams and tens of thousands of gas wells. It is also home to some of the country’s best agricultural land, now it is threatened by the proposed Site C Dam, which would flood or disrupt 30,000 acres of rich farmland – enough, say expert agrologists, to feed a million people.

With (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Hudson’s Hope issues water quality advisory as heavy metals detected

Hudson’s Hope, BC (OurBC.com)

A water quality advisory has been issued by the District of Hudson’s Hope, in northeast BC.

Residents are being warned not to drink or use water from Lynx and Brenot Creeks.

The district advises against using it for “drinking water, livestock watering, and irrigation due to the presence of heavy metals at concentrations above the Canadian Water Quality Guidelines.”

“Boiling water will not make the water potable,” the district warns.

Abstain from using the water until further notice.

The contaminants discovered include:

aluminum arsenic barium cadmium chromium iron lead manganese uranium

The source of the contamination – (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: “Fundamentally uneconomic” Site C Dam would lose $350 million a year for taxpayers: Industrial energy expert

The retired head of the Association of Major Power Users of BC, Dan Potts, estimates the proposed Site C Dam would lose $350 million for taxpayers and BC Hydro ratepayers. The 30-year pulp mill manager told media in Vancouver yesterday that the project, estimated to cost $8 Billion or more, is “fundamentally uneconomic” – based on its outmoded technology and power trading prices that are likely to remain far lower than the cost of electricity produced by Site C.

Potts made the comments at a press conference organized by the District of Hudson’s Hope – where the 80 km-long reservoir would be located (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: Big Oil Madness: Gastem’s $1.5 million lawsuit against tiny Quebec village of Ristigouche

Gastem, a Quebec oil and gas exploration company is suing the tiny Quebec village of Ristigouche-Sud-Est to the tune of $1.5-million.

The post Big Oil Madness: Gastem’s $1.5 million lawsuit against tiny Quebec village of Ristigouche appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

The Common Sense Canadian: Site C: Damning the Peace…while US decommissions hydro projects

Damien Gillis and Kootenay Co-op Radio’s Suzy Hamilton discuss Canada’s plan to build a massive new hydroelectric project on the Peace River, while America is busy decommissioning dams.

The Peace is home to some of Canada’s best farmland, 30,000 acres of which would be impacted by the dam – enough to feed a million people. Meanwhile, Site C will likely cost taxpayers well over $10 Billion and continue driving up power bills.

Based on BC’s electrical self-sufficiency and the different stories the public has been told about the need for the project – from powering proposed liquefied natural gas projects and exporting excess (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Dams can cause heart attacks in sprinting salmon: UBC-BC Hydro study

Read this Aug. 21 Vancouver Sun story by Tiffany Crawford on the effect of swimming through fast-moving waters, downstream from dams, on sockeye salmon – according to a new study by UBC and funded by BC Hydro.

University of B.C. researchers say sockeye salmon that sprint to spawning grounds through fast-moving waters may be at a higher risk of dying from heart attacks.

As part of their study, UBC scientists tagged 63 fish with accelerometer transmitters, a new tracking technology that records how fast fish swim and how much oxygen they consume. The fish were released in the high flows (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: SFU, regional district expand Peace Valley water study re: oil and gas

Read this Aug. 20 story by Elaine Anselmi in the Alaska Highway News on SFU’s baseline studies

Rural residents in the Peace River area are being asked to put their water to the test and allow researchers from Simon Fraser University (SFU) to dip into their wells and springs.

“It gives you that baseline that’s really necessary, especially when you have industry wanting to work on your land, or maybe even just seismic [vibrations] can sometimes disturb the water – sometimes for a short time, sometimes for an extended period,” said Peace River Regional District (PRRD) chair Karen Goodings. “It’s (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: Where Oil Meets Water: Energy East an unacceptable risk to waterways

The Council of Canadians says TransCanada’s proposed Energy East tar sands pipeline is “a ticking bomb that threatens Canada’s precious waterways.”

The post Where Oil Meets Water: Energy East an unacceptable risk to waterways appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.