Two things this morning and although both deserving of a post of their own, time constraints force me to condense into one-hopefully I can them both justice.
After hearing Clark and BC LNG advocate Gordon Wilson both go on at copious length about how BC’s clean LNG is going to a) stop forest fires b)keep people from dying in China and c) save the world, it was refreshing to hear BC’s energy minister tell the truth for once in an email to a reader. I’ve redacted his name for privacy, at no cost to readers 😉 I have also highlighted the portion in which Bennett clarifies that natural gas is not clean under the Clean Energy Act:
From: “Minister, MEM MEM:EX” <MEM.Minister@gov.bc.ca>
Date: June 14, 2016 at 9:17:46 AM MST
To: “redacted” < redacted>
Cc: “OfficeofthePremier, Office PREM:EX” <Premier@gov.bc.ca>
Subject: Re: Natural Gas. Fort St. John
Xref: 92099, 91912, 87932
Premier Christy Clark has sent me a copy of your April 20, 2016 email regarding the Province’s Clean Energy Act (CEA) and natural gas fired electricity generation.
In previous correspondence with you, I have communicated the Government’s approach to BC Hydro’s Site C Clean Energy Project (Site C) and the Burrard Thermal Generating Station (Burrard).
It is the Government’s strategic policy to ensure that the Province generates at least 93 percent of its electricity from clean or renewable resources. Clean or renewable resources, as defined under the CEA, include biomass, biogas, geothermal heat, hydro, solar, ocean and wind. The CEA also allows the Minister of Energy and Mines to prescribe resources for the purposes of the definition of clean or renewable. The 2010 Clean or Renewable Resource Regulation was brought into force prescribing biogenic waste, waste heat and waste hydrogen as clean or renewable resources. The clean or renewable requirements have the effect of ensuring that the electricity generated in British Columbia emits very low greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
Natural gas is not a clean or renewable resource under the CEA because it would displace the use of lower carbon clean or renewable resources. Switching to natural gas fired electricity generation can, however, have benefits in other jurisdictions that are reliant on high‑emitting resources, such as coal. A benefit to developing British Columbia’s natural gas resources for liquefied natural gas (LNG) export is that British Columbia’s natural gas can help to reduce GHG in other parts of the world. Similarly, using natural gas rather than diesel or gasoline has air emission benefits, and the Province has issued regulations allowing natural gas utilities to pursue developing LNG and compressed natural gas in the transportation sector. You can find information about the Greenhouse Gas Reductions (Clean Energy) Regulation at http://www.bclaws.ca/EPLibraries/bclaws_new/document/ID/freeside/102_2012 and FortisBC’s Natural gas for transportation program at https://www.fortisbc.com/NaturalGas/Business/NaturalGasVehicles/Pages/default.aspx.
The Government is currently in the process of considering additional measures that can reduce emissions in British Columbia, and we expect to release a new Climate Leadership Plan in spring 2016. Consultation with stakeholders on potential actions and next steps was recently completed in April, but I encourage you to go to http://engage.gov.bc.ca/climateleadership/ for further information.
One of the recommendations that the Government is considering is to amend the CEA to increase the target for clean or renewable electricity from 93 percent to 100 percent by 2025 (except where fossil fuel capacity is required for back-up or reliability). If the Government decides to move forward with this recommendation, natural gas fired generation is likely to be considered for back-up reliability.
Thank you for writing.
Minister of Energy and Mines
There you have it. Straight from the horses mouth. BC LNG is not clean,but we should still do it to save the world somewhere else. And as he points out at the end,it’s still going to be considered for back up reliability.
Peace Valley farmers and outspoken critics of the Site C dam Ken and Arlene Boon say BC Hydro intends to force them from their third-generation family farm by the end of this year even though the dam would not flood their land until 2024.
The Boons received the unexpected news from their lawyer, following a conversation the lawyer had with officials from BC Hydro’s Properties division.
“It was a shocker,” Ken Boon, says. “We didn’t know they wanted us out by Christmas.”
Boon says if they refuse to sell their farm to BC Hydro it will be expropriated for the “re-alignment” of Highway 29 away from the Site C flood zone, a two-year construction project that BC Hydro says must begin in 2017.
For reasons that have never been explained to the Boons’ satisfaction, BC Hydro intends to route the new highway right through the couples’ farm buildings and home. The highway would also destroy a renovated log house where Arlene’s 81-year-old mother lives.
“Why are we discussing the highway relocation in year one of a nine year project?” asks Arlene Boon. “As a property owner you don’t have any rights. If BC Hydro or Highways want to expropriate you, they will.”
Arlene Boon stands on her property near a BC Hydro highway marker. The highway’s centre line is expected to run directly between the Boon’s house and the wood shed to its left. Photo: Sarah Cox
Arthur Hadland, a former Peace River Regional District director, says he believes BC Hydro wants the Boons off their land by the end of the year because Ken is the outspoken president of the Peace Valley Landowners Association. The association, which represents 70 landowners in the Peace River Valley, has a court case against Site C, one of four on-going legal challenges against the $8.8 billion dam.
“It’s divide and conquer. The landowners have been a pretty solid group. But just like any organization if you cut the head off you will lose the power. They just want to diminish the power of the landowners,” Hadland says.
BC Hydro spokesperson Dave Conway says the Crown corporation cannot discuss its negotiations with individual landowners in the Peace River Valley. Conway confirms, however, that BC Hydro is having “conversations” with landowners along a stretch of the valley called Bear Flat/Cache Creek, where the Boons live.
BC Hydro is “moving up the valley” and Cache Creek is “one of the first areas affected by the highway re-alignment,” Conway says.
Asked if BC Hydro will expropriate the Boon’s farm and other nearby farms if owners refuse to sell, Conway says BC Hydro has the legal authority to expropriate land.
“But that’s not the way we like to work. We like to come to a negotiated settlement with people,” Conway said.
Arlene Boon says there can never be agreement when landowners consider their property to be priceless for reasons other than monetary value.
“We are being forced off. When you are not a willing seller you’re being forced to put a price on something [that] is not for sale and in your mind would never be for sale.”
The Boons say it is curious that BC Hydro said nothing about an end-of-the-year deadline for acquiring land during a March 10 meeting the Crown corporation held with them and about a dozen other Bear Flat/Cache Creek landowners. The couple heard the news from their lawyer less than two weeks after that meeting.
In recent weeks, the Boons have had to deal with drilling rigs, water trucks, a spill in one of their planted fields, contractors whom Ken Boon says “should be required to take a course in Sensitivity 101,” and two security investigators parked in a truck at their end of their driveway without the Boon’s permission or knowledge.
The Boons say the investigators parked on their driveway were the same two men who compiled evidence against them and four other Peace Valley residents for BC Hydro’s on-going civil law suit against some of the people involved in a two-month winter camp at the historic Rocky Mountain Fort site.
As a result of the civil law suit initiated by BC Hydro, the Boons and others named in the suit live with the constant threat of having their assets seized — including their farmland and houses — should they interfere with Hydro’s efforts for highway relocation and other developments associated with the Site C project. The suit, which has some of the hallmarks of a Strategic Law Suit Against Public Participation, or SLAPP suit, is the first time B.C. legal experts are aware of a publicly-owned corporation taking such action.
It’s hard to find words for how I felt when I read this – my stomach churned and my heart felt sick.
Is this how we get to the point of no return now? Just kick people off their homes, in the middle of winter ( which is most likely a strategic decision to try and ward off any civil disobedience or protestors), years before a highway is going to be built or the valley flooded?
If there was ever a time for voters in this province to wake up and smell the coffee, it is right now.Former premiers – including the departed Bennett- did not force this dam through when it was denied, because they knew the BC Utilities Commission was right. It wasn’t a good idea to build it then, and it still isn’t.
Yet here we are. Building a damn dam without the only review designed to protect taxpayers, kind of like she’s forcing through the Massey Bridge project that has a startling lack of records.
My heart is sick for all these incredible people who have had such an incredible injustice done to them. You must read the entire story here: http://www.desmog.ca/2016/06/15/bc-hydro-tells-farmers-fighting-site-c-dam-vacate-property-christmas
And this move effectively puts the opposition on the hot seat on Site C. Clearly if people are going to be evicted off their land, Horgan can’t sit idly by and say nothing. Or can he?
Find your voice. Contact your MLA. It is not too late to stop this dam and send it to the BC Utilities Commission,particularly if you are concerned over rising Hydro rates. I have written extensively over these concerns also expressed by former TD economist David Bond http://www.kelownadailycourier.ca/opinion/article_eabb10f6-31b1-11e6-831d-a70b350eddbd.html?platform=hootsuite
I leave you with this: Over the years I have met and had the pleasure of seeing people find their voices and get over their fears of speaking out, of disagreeing, of asking questions or challenging authority.Some have been ridiculed.Some have been threatened.Some have been trolled. And with respect not only to those who have spoken out on Site C but also to the terrible and tragic events of the past week, I was reminded this week of a passage written by Audre Lorde, a poet, author,mother who was actively involved in gay/lesbian and civil rights.
Timely to read and reflect on.
“My silences had not protected me. Your silences will not protect you…. What are the words you do not yet have? What are the tyrannies you swallow day by day and attempt to make your own, until you will sicken and die of them, still in silence? We have been socialized to respect fear more than our own need for language.”
I began to ask each time: “What’s the worst that could happen to me if I tell this truth?” Unlike women in other countries, our breaking silence is unlikely to have us jailed, “disappeared” or run off the road at night. Our speaking out will irritate some people, get us called bitchy or hypersensitive and disrupt some dinner parties. And then our speaking out will permit other women to speak, until laws are changed and lives are saved and the world is altered forever.
Next time, ask: What’s the worst that will happen? Then push yourself a little further than you dare. Once you start to speak, people will yell at you. They will interrupt you, put you down and suggest it’s personal. And the world won’t end.
And the speaking will get easier and easier. And you will find you have fallen in love with your own vision, which you may never have realized you had. And you will lose some friends and lovers, and realize you don’t miss them. And new ones will find you and cherish you. And you will still flirt and paint your nails, dress up and party, because, as I think Emma Goldman said, “If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be part of your revolution.” And at last you’ll know with surpassing certainty that only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth. And that is not speaking.”