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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.

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Monica Potts responds to the big lie that increasing inequality and perpetual poverty are necessary – or indeed remotely beneficial – as elements of economic growth: Hanauer and Piketty inspire these broadsides because they are challenging, in a far more aggressive way than plutocrats and economists usually do, the conservative economic orthodoxy that has reigned since at least the 1980s. Under Ronald Reagan, we called it trickle-down economics, the idea that the men who can afford their own private jets—they’re usually men—deserve gobs of money because they provide some special entrepreneurial or innovative (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: Recent B.C. Toxic Waste Spill Alarming, But Unfortunately Not Surprising

This week’s massive waste spill in B.C. proves that mining companies are gambling with our drinking water, our health and the environment, says the Council of Canadians.

The post Recent B.C. Toxic Waste Spill Alarming, But Unfortunately Not Surprising appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on the need to take downside risks into account in discussing industrial development – especially when our water, land and lives are at stake.

For further reading…- The CP and Jenni Sheppard report on the many warning signs which should have identified the causes of the Mount Polley spill before it turned a town’s water toxic. Stephen Hume rightly concludes that the spill can be traced to a lax regulatory culture. Alison Bailey’s report points out that similar ponds set up for larger mining projects could cause even more damage. And Nature Canada discusses the deliberate choice (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Detroit turns taps back on after outrage over private water control

Read this July 29 story from the Associated Press, via globalnews.ca, on the latest twist in the battle ove water in Detroit.

DETROIT – Control of Detroit’s massive municipal water department, which has been widely criticized by the United Nations and others for widespread service shutoffs to thousands of customers, has been returned to the mayor’s office.

The move comes a week after the department said it would temporarily suspend shutoffs for customers who were 60 days or more behind on bills for 15 days, and a few months ahead of the expected handoff of financial control of (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Peace Valley farmland, ecosystems worth $8 Billion a year: study

The Peace River Valley is one of Canada’s most fertile regions (Damien Gillis)

Keeping the Peace Valley’s farmland and ecosystems intact would be worth $7.9 billion to $8.6 billion a year, says a new study from the David Suzuki Foundation.

The region, in northeast BC, is under threat from the proposed Site C Dam – which would flood or disturb over 30,000 acres of prime agricultural land – along with natural gas fracking operations, logging, mining and other forms of industrialization. The study is a follow-up to an earlier report which analyzed the area via satellite imagery, determining that some 67% (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Trish Garner highlights the futility of trying to answer poverty, equality and other social issues with the empty promise of low-paying “jobs! jobs! jobs!”: The central “solution” in the government’s action plan is jobs. The little money dedicated to this initiative is all directed to employment inclusion and skills training. It’s not surprising. It’s the same answer we receive when our supporters throughout the province advocate for a poverty reduction plan for B.C.  There are two important points to make in response. First, many people with disabilities are unable to (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Industrial energy expert: BC govt policy, IPPs to blame for high power bills

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

Read this July 24 op-ed in The Vancouver Sun by the former head of the Association of Major Power Users of BC, Dan Potts – who places the blame for skyrocketing power bills squarely on the BC Liberal Government’s shoulders. Potts’ comments mirror the editorial opinion of The Common Sense Canadian, published repeatedly in these pages over the past four years:

BC Hydro has recently released its annual report for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2014. The details of energy costs are set forth on (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: Human Rights: Council of Canadians Delivers Water to Detroit

The Council of Canadians this week continued its support of the international human right to water by delivering convoy of water to Detroit city residents.

The post Human Rights: Council of Canadians Delivers Water to Detroit appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, looking at the sad similarities between Regina and Detroit, and noting that the crucial step we should take to avoid the latter’s humanitarian tragedy is to fund our commitments to workers and residents while we have the means to do so.

For further reading…- Tom McKay and Wallace Turbeville each discuss how the decision to run Detroit under corporate principles made a bad financial situation far worse. – Jon Swaine reports on the recent move to shut off water for up to 100,000 residents. Monica Davey writes about the vote to slash already-meager pensions. And Dominic Rushe (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Under Liberals, big projects often double in cost…Why would Site C Dam be any different?

Seeing red: The roof on BC Place Stadium is just one of many cost overruns on the BC Liberals’ watch

Oh, for the days of the fast ferries…compared to what we have now.

Most British Columbians will recall Premier Glen Clark’s late 1990′s boondoggle, which saw the construction of three new coastal vessels balloon from a projected $210 million to nearly $460 million.

How could we forget? After the relentless salvos from pundits like Vaughan Palmer and Mike Smyth led to the NDP government’s collapse, in every election cycle since, the incumbent BC Liberals have dragged out these ghost ships to bolster their own (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Site C Dam threatens BC’s credit rating: Hudson’s Hope Mayor, Council

The following is a July 15 open letter to Premier Christy Clark from the District of Hudson’s Hope – near the location of the proposed Site C reservoir.

Dear Premier Clark,

Re: British Columbia Utilities Commission Review of Proposed Site C Dam Project

I am writing to urgently request that you refer the proposed Site C Dam Project to the British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC) for further review of project costs, alternatives to Site C, and related issues prior to making a decision on this project.

Prudent fiscal management requires further review of Site C

The District of Hudson’s Hope, (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Site C Dam: Fort St. John businessman isn’t buying economic promises

Longtime Fort St. John businessman Bob Fedderly isn’t buying the economic benefits touted for the proposed Site C Dam.

The owner of Fedderly Transportation sat down with The Common Sense Canadian’s Damien Gillis at his office in Fort St. John last month to discuss the project, which would be located near Fort St. John, with an 80km reservoir stretching west to the town of Hudson’s Hope.

Among Fedderly’s biggest concerns are the boom-and-bust effects of project construction on his community, the impact it would have on already skyrocketing power bills for his business, and the waste of tax dollars on the $8 (Read more…)