Monday, August 10, 2009

When you don't want to know the answers

Even though I pay for a copy of the The Globe and Mail, I may seem to be a marketing rep. Can't help it though when articles show up like this Mark Hume item.

Hume describes a public information meeting held in the small village of Kaslo for a proposed power project :
For more than three hours, people voiced their opposition to the project and the official attendance count was 1,100 – more than the entire population of Kaslo.

It was a clear sign of the enormous interest in and opposition to the proposed Glacier/Howser independent power proposal, or IPP. The project would see five dams built on the two thundering creeks to generate about 90 megawatts of power for Purcell Green Power Inc., a subsidiary of AXOR Group.

The public comment period for this project has closed at the BC Environmental Assessment Office (EAO). Most comments argue against the Glacier/Howser plan.

The agency does not want a repeat of public outcry on another project so they made an executive decision that the proposed Gold River Power Project will not require an environmental assessment certificate and may proceed without an assessment. I am reminded of the old lawyer's quip:
Never ask a question if you don't want to know the answer.

Can someone tell me why we are on a sudden rush to generate power by destroying rivers in the wilderness? Is the need so intense that it cannot pause for thorough and honest public review?
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3 comments:

  1. It is interesting to look back on the Province as it built the large hydro electric power infrastructure it has now. In this day and age we are hamstrung with enivronmental handwringing and native placation. None of those mega projects would have been completed in such an arena. You enjoy the fruits but deny their reality. People whine about their hydro bill and the purchase of power from the US. Why? Because we cannot build anything without the aforementioned actions. You are going to pay a lot more for power because we diddle our way forward trying not to kill a blade of grass or drown a mouse.

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  2. It is certainly correct that our province's hydro electric power facilities were built with substantially unrecognized and unpaid indirect costs.

    A relative of mine was a health challenged WW2 vet with a large family. He struggled to earn a living but finally was able to construct a home near the Arrow Lakes in eastern BC. It was a fine place, perfect for the children that ranged from tots to teens.

    But, WAC Bennett's determination to construct hydro power facilities in the 1960s did not include fair compensation for those whose businesses and homes were flooded. My uncle's property was expropriated and the compensation not anywhere near enough to acquire replacement housing. They became renters again.

    In those days, people were barred by statute from suing government unless the same government gave permission. That allowed WAC to roll over countless people to build whatever he wanted. His vision was the only vision and his expropriation values were the only ones.

    thecossack is correct that we enjoy the fruits of earlier citizen's pain. I say let us not do that to the next generation.

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  3. Won't happen. You cannot please everybody. Somebody somewhere will have a grievance. The measure of our society is how we will deal with or compensate them for the progress we desire. Doing nothing but diddling and hand wringing are not the answer.

    Too bad about your relative, but you have to agree that would not happen today. There are a battery of lawyers ready to ensure that.

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