Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Is the Harper Deregulation Agenda Running Amok?

New Bill threatens Canada’s grain safety and quality: study March 31, 2009

OTTAWA—A controversial bill to change Canada’s grain regulatory system threatens Canada’s grain safety and quality, says a study released today by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA).
"Threatened Harvest: Protecting Canada’s World-Class Grain System" is available from the CCPA website.

Monday, 30 March 2009

A Question for Premier Doer and Manitoba Hydro

Dam Building Is Booming, But Is it the Right Path to Clean Energy?
By David Biello, Yale Environment 360. Posted February 24, 2009.
Dam proponents are touting hydropower as renewable energy in an era of global warming. But the human and
environmental costs are high.
(China's 3-Gorges, the largest hydro dam in the world.Wikipedia photo)
(Story Courtesy of Alternet.)
(Read more by clicking headline.)

Sunday, 29 March 2009

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Big Cattle Operation Worries Local Resident - by Larry Powell

(See update in newer post.)

A long-time resident of the Roblin area of western Manitoba, Ray Spencer, has asked the Manitoba Department of Water Stewardship to look into an intensive livestock operation north of the town, near Boggy Creek.
The cattle in question with Langen Lk. in b.g.
He says too many cattle (perhaps hundreds) are being fed in a field which slopes directly into Langen Lake, used for years by anglers in the area.

Many are members of the local San Clara/Boggy Creek Metis community. The Lake itself was
named for Pat Langen, who used to live nearby.










Spencer, an angler, hunting guide, retired farmer and former livestock specialist with Manitoba Agriculture, has talked to some of the people who fish there. And they are worried the waste from the cattle is polluting the lake. (r.) He says some even fear the lake, noted for its walleye, may even die in a few years as a result. Another Beasley herd in the area, but away from the lake.

Hundreds of Black Angus cattle are wintering on several fields in the immediate area, including the herd near the lake.

Almost every square meter of the frozen fields (l.) is covered with raw, solid cattle waste.

Spencer believes there are about 12 hundred cattle there, altogether.


In his words, "What concerns me is the wintering of all these livestock next to a conservation lake. The raw manure could drain right in."

He says overflow from the lake drains into the Shell River, a main waterway in the area.

But the owner of the livestock, John Beasley, does not believe this is happening.

He says he'd like to see test results from the lake water before he will accept it is being polluted.

Beasley claims he's "not exactly sure," even roughly, how many cattle he has.


In any case, he believes it's not the actual numbers, but the way they are managed, that's relevant.


Beasley believes he does what he can to keep pollution to a minimum.

He says he's planted trees, put up a fence which keeps the cattle back from the lake and an "off-site" watering system,(r.) 200 meters back from the water. He says he also grows perennial forage crops to keep nutrient buildup to a minimum.

He wonders whether those who are concerned would rather see cerial crops in the area, where lots of chemicals would be sprayed.

He says he has talked to those who fish in the lake and no one has complained to him, directly.

He says he fishes in the lake himself and "takes the fishery seriously."

Meanwhile,
Spencer says he has asked Water Stewardship to investigate and believes an inspector will be out any day now.
====

UPDATE - The Department of Conservation (not Water Stewardship) dispatched a rookie "Environmental Officer," Dave Yunker, to the scene yesterday. (Mar.24th) All he would say is, "It may look bad" with all that manure on the hill, but he'll have to check with his boss to find out if any regulations have been broken.
(He did say that Beasley has registered a manure management plan for his operation.) Stay tuned! l.p.
(Photos by l.p.)
==========
PLEASE ALSO READ; Lake of the Prairies - the New Lake Winnipeg? - by Larry Powell
=======
COMMENT:
This is great reporting, Larry - good photos, too!
Who needs the CBC???? (losing hundreds of jobs! Disgusting!)
Elaine Hughes

Sunday, 22 March 2009

"Calving" Ice Sheet Worries Top Climate Scientist

by Larry Powell - BRANDON, MB. MAR. 19-'09
A prominent climate scientist says an unforeseen phenomenon is quickly eroding the Greenland Ice Sheet.
David Barber (PinP photo - l.) is the Canada Research Chair in Arctic System Science at the University of Manitoba and leader of the largest polar project in the world, studying climate change in the Arctic.

Prof. Barber says many scientists have believed the sheet is simply
melting as global warming takes its toll.

What is actually happening is, torrents of melt-water on the surface are finding their way down, through fissures, to the bottom.

Photo courtesy of UNEP

There, they act as "lubricants," breaking the ice apart and causing it, as he puts it to "calve" many small icebergs into the ocean at a rapid rate.

Barber believes the icebergs sliding into the sea in this way, could raise sea levels by as much as 6 meters. That's enough, he warns, to damage several large coastal cities!

He further predicts summer sea ice could be completely gone from the Canadian Arctic by as early as 2013, just four years from now!

While other projections say the ice may not disappear until 2030, actual observations his team has made, show it is melting at a rate astonishingly faster than earlier models had predicted.

In his words, "We are losing one Lake Superior (70 thousand K2) of sea ice each year. The last time we had no summer ice in the Arctic was more than a million years ago."

Prof. Barber is critical of global warming skeptics, who do not believe humans are behind the problem.

He says the connection is obvious. There was even a big jump in greenhouse gas emissions way back at the time of the industrial revolution, a clear indication of human involvement.

He believes these skeptics are simply "Trying to find an excuse for not doing something."

As for solutions, Barber believes, if there were only two choices, nuclear power (at least new and improved forms of the technology), would be better than coal as an energy source. He refers to coal as the "dirtiest" source of all.

Barber is not overly concerned that vast areas in the Arctic have been claimed by oil companies for resource development. He says development could still go ahead there, as long as it takes place at a sensible pace.

He noted that, while serving on his research vessel in the Arctic, it was consistently warmer there for a year than it was in Winnipeg!

Barber was speaking at a recent environmental conference in Brandon, Manitoba, devoted to examining ways of reducing the human footprint on our planet.

The 2-day conference, sponsored by the Assiniboine Community College, discussed ways of lessening our carbon footprint on the planet.
Topics included alternative energy and fuel-efficient cars.


Tuesday, 17 March 2009

CLEAN ENVIRONMENT COMMISSION ASKED TO REVIEW LOUISIANA PACIFIC'S LICENCE CHANGE REQUEST

Sounds like protests and expressions of concern do work, once in a while!
But please note the release, below, fails to mention that the government, without consultation, gave the company permission in early January to take its pollution controls offline until June.
l.p.
=======

Manitoba News Release
............................................................
March 16, 2009

The province is requesting the Clean Environment Commission (CEC) to review Louisiana Pacific's request for permanent alterations to its Swan Valley oriented strand board plant's Environment Act licence.
"I have directed the Clean Environment Commission to review Louisiana Pacific's request," Conservation Minister Stan Struthers said. "The CEC will thoroughly examine the plant's proposal and will return with a recommendation on the request."

Louisiana Pacific Swan River filed a request on Jan. 19 that its licence be altered to allow for the decommissioning of its regenerative thermal oxidizers (RTOs) and for the increase of certain emissions from the plant. Their proposal has been under review by Manitoba's director of environmental assessment and licensing, and the period for public comments ended on Friday, March 13.

The CEC reviewed the Louisiana Pacific (LP) plant when it was first proposed in 1994. Included in the report was a recommendation that the company operate pollution control equipment including RTOs. LP's application states that upgrades have reduced emission levels since the plant was first constructed.

- 30 -
========
The following is Larry's article, published in the online magazine, "OnEarth."
========
U.S. Logging Giant Scraps Pollution Controls in Manitoba
by Larry Powell March 10, 2009

In early January, the Government of Manitoba quietly agreed to let the Louisiana Pacific Corporation (LP), with extensive forestry operations in North America, shut down pollution control equipment at one of its wood products plants in the west-central part of the province.

As a result, increased emissions such as benzene, formaldehyde and hydrogen cyanide, have apparently been escaping into the air since January at its “oriented strand board” (OSB) plant near Minitonas in the SwanValley. (OSB is a building product similar to plywood made mostly from poplar tree fiber.)

Now, LP wants to keep that equipment shut down, permanently. Much to the chagrin of environmental groups, the Government is considering that request.

Ironically, it was the New Democratic Opposition Party, now the government, that insisted that the equipment, called “regenerative thermal oxidizers,”(RTOs) be installed when LP was first issued its Manitoba license back in the late 90’s. So did a government advisory body, the Clean Environment Commission. Environmentalists added their voices to the calls for controls.

Under the pressure, the government and company capitulated.

A Winnipeg-based environmental group, Boreal Forest Network says the RTOs cost the company about $10 million dollars and now need to be replaced. It suggests this, plus the cost of operating them are the real reasons behind the company’s move.

The Netowork admits, the housing slump in the “States has hit sales of OSB. But the company decision shouldn’t come at the expense of the health of those living near the plant. Susanne McRae of the Network notes that the housing crisis is worse in the US than Canada, yet all OSB plants in the ‘States have pollution controls. So, she reasons, Canada deserves the same treatment.

LP has had a bit of a chequered past in terms of its environmental record in the United States. In the 1990’s the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), imposed what, at the time, was its largest fine ever on the company. It ordered LP to pay more than $11 million for falsely reporting how much pollution its OSB plants there were emitting.

It was also ordered to outfit those plants with the best pollution abatement technology available.

But that isn’t the end of the story.

Less than three years ago, the EPA cited Louisiana Pacific again for allegedly exceeding emission limits for smoke, ash and dust from one of its OSB plants in Michigan. As Bharat Mathur of the EPA put it at the time, “Inhaling high concentrations of particulates can affect children, the elderly and people with heart and lung conditions.”

A long-time critic of LP operations, Dan Soprovich of Swan River, is quoted as saying, “This is a cost-driven decision that will compromise human health and the environment as a means to support an American company that has taken millions of dollars out of this province.”

Soprovich was a government biologist when LP was originally granted its license. He was fired after opposing the project, saying LP had given impossibly optimistic forecasts about how sustainable the forest would be in the harvest area.

Manitoba’s Assistant Deputy Minister of Conservation, Ryan Coulter, has so far been the only government official to comment.

He told CBC Radio recently that monitoring at the site has shown that pollutants do not seem to have exceeded allowable limits, so far. Coulter left open the possibility of a public consultation process on the issue and even a formal hearing by the Clean Environment Commission before a final decision is made.

In any case, the temporary permit already issued seems to guarantee the company it can keep its RTOs offine until June.

For its part, Louisiana Pacific says keeping the pollution controls in place is expensive. And it adds, shutting them down would mean the natural gas which runs them would no longer be required. This, in turn, would avoid the production of a lot of grenhouse gasses.

The company denies that decommissioning will result in any dangerous increase in toxic emissions.
======
Comments

Request to remain anonymus wrote on March 22, 2009, 12:08PM :

As far as I understand, the rate payers of the communities around the LP plant in Minnitonas, MB (Swan River, etc.) had to pay the brunt of getting the plant supplied with natural gas in the first place. It was not supplied by Manitoba Hydro at the time. The estimate of how many residents would actually choose to use natural gas once the lines were installed were highly inflated. The company got a huge break and the cost was passed on to the local communities....

Also, the suggestion that the process leading to the temporary decommissioning of the RTOs was not as open as the company suggests it was. Many folks that were involved in the original struggle to ensure the installation of adequate pollution abatement equipment did not know that LP was even applying for a decommissioning. LP was definitely flying under the wire as local environmental champions still living and working in the community were caught completely unaware.

Finally, LP has not been the best(!) corporate citizen in the US, so it is right that people are skeptical about their assurances. It is also terrible that Canada and its provinces do not hold US-based companies to at least the standards of their "home" nations--in this case the US. If we in Canada do not demand more, just think of the precedent this sets for LP's operations in developing nations!!!

Also, I am not a fan of corporate bail outs. However, when reducing costs by eliminating pollution abatement equipment becomes a bone of contention, I think the provincial and federal governments should look aggressively at what can be done so that local jobs aren't lost and the health of the workers and communities is not put at risk. It should not be health or jobs--especially when the company and its shareholders have been making lots of money over the years by cutting and/or processing local timber--much of it being a publicly-owned resource!

Sunday, 15 March 2009

CANNED POP GETS ANOTHER BAD REVIEW!

(Photo courtesy Environmental
Defense)
Extensive testing by Health Canada scientists has revealed that bisphenol A(BPA), the infamous hormone-mimicking chemical banned from baby bottles in Canada and placed on the Federal List of Toxic Substances late last year, has been detected at significant levels in soft drinks.The study, published in the January issue of the Journal of Agriculture & Food Chemistry' analyzed BPA levels in 72 samples of canned drinks.
(Click on headline to read full story.)

It's Global Warming, Stupid!

- by Larry Powell
(Please note update at the bottom.)
1997 Red River flood turned St. Adolphe into an island

So I hear another flood "of biblical proportions" could be headed Manitoba way!

A swollen Red River already has officials in North Dakota and even our province on high alert.

Word is this one could be as bad or even worse, (if that's possible) than the one in '97 that brought tragedy and grief to both farms and small towns in the flood plain.

They called the one back then "the worst of the century," following what had been "the worst blizzard of all-time." (Or was it the other way around?)

Whichever the case, it makes me feel like screaming, "It's climate change, stupid!"

What is it going to take for you politicians and you, "average Joes" to wake up from your stupor and see the light? (That industry and big polluting corporations do nothing, is no surprise. I expect better of you.)

As you watch growing evidence of the climate crisis unfold all around you, you remain in a state of denial, preferring instead to "party on" as if there is no tomorrow (& if you don't change, there won't be), driving your gas-guzzlers, developing your filthy tar sands, raping our forests and, sucking up and wasting our precious water sources.

I often tell people that, if such extreme events as the impending Manitoba flood, were not in keeping or consistent with what the experts have been telling us for years, I'd be skeptical, too. But they are not!

The experts are right! You climate deniers are wrong. Get used to it!

As we watch bozos leave their monster trucks idling needlessly, brain-dead motorists lining up at the fast-food "drive-thrus," with their motors running, gridlocks developing in every city at rush hour, choking exhausts triggering smog alerts, why is it so hard for you to believe that you are responsible. You are!

Do you ever put your brain in gear and wonder, "Gee, how bad might this get? What kind of world will your kids be living in when they grow up? "

If you haven't, please do!

The consequences of continuing on "the stupid path" are just not acceptable.

Before you scream, "hypocrite", I should tell you, we drive a hybrid car, travel below the speed limit, recycle, compost, buy carbon offsets, "buy local," grow organic vegetables, take short, "economical" showers, and follow the "When it's yellow, let it mellow" approach to toilet-flushing, even using our bathwater to flush.

(If you think that's stupid, please explain to me why flushing perfectly good, potable, drinkable water, down the drain, only to pollute it for years to come, is not?)

Why do we do what we do? B
ecause *the world is running out of fresh water!(Please also read, "Are we Flushing Away our Greatest Resources?" directly below this post.)

Haven't you heard? Where have you been? Head stuck in the tar sands? Pick up a book! Read a newspaper! (No, I don't mean the sports pages.)
Listen to Radio (no, I don't mean the all-music ones with news as an afterthough)! Watch TV (preferably the news or documentaries once in a while, not "2 1/2 Men" or "Bachelor")!

The way I see it, the time for "making nice" has passed. And I'm sick and tired, frankly of "going it alone," waiting month after month, year after year, for you to smarten up and do the right thing!

JUST DO IT!

======
P.S. I know those of you who "get" the climate crisis won't take offense.
l.p.
======
Please also read another - "It's Global Warming, Stupid" here.
=======
(Resource News International) -- Flooding in the Red River Valley this spring could cause at least one million acres of North Dakota farm land to go unplanted, according to a U.S. Farm Service Agency official.

Friday, 13 March 2009

WHY ARE WE FLUSHING AWAY OUR GREATEST RESOURCES?

This issue has been a pet pee, er, I mean peeve of mine for years! - PLT

=======
Courtesy ALTERNET.
Each flush of a urinal wastes more than a gallon of water, millions of times each day. It's time to go waterless.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Are We Breeding Ourselves to Extinction?

By Chris Hedges, Truthdig. Posted March 11, 2009.

Cutting back on fossil fuels, shutting down our coal plants, and building seas of wind turbines, will be useless unless we nip population growth.

All measures to thwart the degradation and destruction of our ecosystem will be useless if we do not cut population growth. By 2050, if we continue to reproduce at the current rate, the planet will have between 8 billion and 10 billion people, according to a recent U.N. forecast. This is a 50 percent increase. And yet government-commissioned reviews, such as the Stern report in Britain, do not mention the word population. Books and documentaries that deal with the climate crisis, including Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth," fail to discuss the danger of population growth. This omission is odd, given that a doubling in population, even if we cut back on the use of fossil fuels, shut down all our coal-burning power plants and build seas of wind turbines, will plunge us into an age of extinction and desolation unseen since the end of the Mesozoic era, 65 million years ago, when the dinosaurs disappeared.

We are experiencing an accelerated obliteration of the planet's life-forms -- an estimated 8,760 species die off per year -- because, simply put, there are too many people. Most of these extinctions are the direct result of the expanding need for energy, housing, food and other resources. The Yangtze River dolphin, Atlantic gray whale, West African black rhino, Merriam's elk, California grizzly bear, silver trout, blue pike and dusky seaside sparrow are all victims of human overpopulation. Population growth, as E.O. Wilson says, is "the monster on the land." Species are vanishing at a rate of a hundred to a thousand times faster than they did before the arrival of humans. If the current rate of extinction continues, Homo sapiens will be one of the few life-forms left on the planet, its members scrambling violently among themselves for water, food, fossil fuels and perhaps air until they too disappear. Humanity, Wilson says, is leaving the Cenozoic, the age of mammals, and entering the Eremozoic -- the era of solitude. As long as the Earth is viewed as the personal property of the human race, a belief embraced by everyone from born-again Christians to Marxists to free-market economists, we are destined to soon inhabit a biological wasteland.

The populations in industrialized nations maintain their lifestyles because they have the military and economic power to consume a disproportionate share of the world's resources. The United States alone gobbles up about 25 percent of the oil produced in the world each year. These nations view their stable or even zero growth birthrates as sufficient. It has been left to developing countries to cope with the emergent population crisis. India, Egypt, South Africa, Iran, Indonesia, Cuba and China, whose one-child policy has prevented the addition of 400 million people, have all tried to institute population control measures. But on most of the planet, population growth is exploding. The U.N. estimates that 200 million women worldwide do not have access to contraception. The population of the Persian Gulf states, along with the Israeli-occupied territories, will double in two decades, a rise that will ominously coincide with precipitous peak oil declines.

The overpopulated regions of the globe will ravage their local environments, cutting down rainforests and the few remaining wilderness areas, in a desperate bid to grow food. And the depletion and destruction of resources will eventually create an overpopulation problem in industrialized nations as well. The resources that industrialized nations consider their birthright will become harder and more expensive to obtain. Rising water levels on coastlines, which may submerge coastal nations such as Bangladesh, will disrupt agriculture and displace millions, who will attempt to flee to areas on the planet where life is still possible. The rising temperatures and droughts have already begun to destroy crop lands in Africa, Australia, Texas and California. The effects of this devastation will first be felt in places like Bangladesh, but will soon spread within our borders. Footprint data suggests that, based on current lifestyles, the sustainable population of the United Kingdom -- the number of people the country could feed, fuel and support from its own biological capacity -- is about 18 million. This means that in an age of extreme scarcity, some 43 million people in Great Britain would not be able to survive. Overpopulation will become a serious threat to the viability of many industrialized states the instant the cheap consumption of the world's resources can no longer be maintained. This moment may be closer than we think.

A world where 8 billion to 10 billion people are competing for diminishing resources will not be peaceful. The industrialized nations will, as we have done in Iraq, turn to their militaries to ensure a steady supply of fossil fuels, minerals and other nonrenewable resources in the vain effort to sustain a lifestyle that will, in the end, be unsustainable. The collapse of industrial farming, which is made possible only with cheap oil, will lead to an increase in famine, disease and starvation. And the reaction of those on the bottom will be the low-tech tactic of terrorism and war. Perhaps the chaos and bloodshed will be so massive that overpopulation will be solved through violence, but this is hardly a comfort.

James Lovelock, an independent British scientist who has spent most of his career locked out of the mainstream, warned several decades ago that disrupting the delicate balance of the Earth, which he refers to as a living body, would be a form of collective suicide. The atmosphere on Earth -- 21 percent oxygen and 79 percent nitrogen -- is not common among planets, he notes. These gases are generated, and maintained at an equable level for life's processes, by living organisms themselves. Oxygen and nitrogen would disappear if the biosphere was destroyed. The result would be a greenhouse atmosphere similar to that of Venus, a planet that is consequently hundreds of degrees hotter than Earth. Lovelock argues that the atmosphere, oceans, rocks and soil are living entities. They constitute, he says, a self-regulating system. Lovelock, in support of this thesis, looked at the cycle in which algae in the oceans produce volatile sulfur compounds. These compounds act as seeds to form oceanic clouds. Without these dimethyl sulfide "seeds" the cooling oceanic clouds would be lost. This self-regulating system is remarkable because it maintains favorable conditions for human life. Its destruction would not mean the death of the planet. It would not mean the death of life-forms. But it would mean the death of Homo sapiens.

Lovelock advocates nuclear power and thermal solar power; the latter, he says, can be produced by huge mirrors mounted in deserts such as those in Arizona and the Sahara. He proposes reducing atmospheric carbon dioxide with large plastic cylinders thrust vertically into the ocean. These, he says, could bring nutrient-rich lower waters to the surface, producing an algal bloom that would increase the cloud cover. But he warns that these steps will be ineffective if we do not first control population growth. He believes the Earth is overpopulated by a factor of about seven. As the planet overheats -- and he believes we can do nothing to halt this process -- overpopulation will make all efforts to save the ecosystem futile.

Lovelock, in "The Revenge of Gaia," said that if we do not radically and immediately cut greenhouse gas emissions, the human race might not die out but it would be reduced to "a few breeding pairs." "The Vanishing Face of Gaia," his latest book, which has for its subtitle "The Final Warning," paints an even grimmer picture. Lovelock says a continued population boom will make the reduction of fossil fuel use impossible. If we do not reduce our emissions by 60 percent, something that can be achieved only by walking away from fossil fuels, the human race is doomed, he argues. Time is running out. This reduction will never take place, he says, unless we can dramatically reduce our birthrate.

All efforts to stanch the effects of climate change are not going to work if we do not practice vigorous population control. Overpopulation, in times of hardship, will create as much havoc in industrialized nations as in the impoverished slums around the globe where people struggle on less than two dollars a day. Population growth is often overlooked, or at best considered a secondary issue, by many environmentalists, but it is as fundamental to our survival as reducing the emissions that are melting the polar ice caps.

Chris Hedges, a Pulitzer prize-winning reporter, is a Senior Fellow at the Nation Institute.

Saturday, 7 March 2009

LOUISIANA PACIFIC TAKES POLLUTION CONTROLS OFFLINE IN MANITOBA - UNACCEPTABLE IN U.S!

THE BOREAL ACTION PROJECT.

205-180 Market Avenue

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, R3B 0P7
Susanne McCrea (204) 297-0321
Coordinator

For immediate release MARCH 6, 2009
Manitoba’s Louisiana Pacific Plant Takes Pollution Controls Offline
Unacceptable in the U.S.

Even the neighbours of Louisiana Pacific’s Swan River OSB plant didn’t know the pollution controls had been taken offline, until local resident, Margaret Romak went and knocked on some doors.

Louisiana Pacific’s Swan Valley OSB mill, near Minitonas, has been releasing more toxic chemicals into the air since, last January.

“I stopped at a house about one mile in each of the four directions from the plant. Not one person knew that this had already been done”, said Romak. “There is something very badly wrong with that.

The Province granted “temporary” discontinuation of the RTO pollution control system to LP, in spite of the Clean Environment Commission’s insistence on it as a condition of the company’s operation in the province.

“There are RTOs and or EPA approved equivalent pollution abatement equipment installed in all of LPs OSB plants and all OSB plants, for that matter in the USA.” said Susanne McCrea, spokesperson for the Boreal Action Project.

They must have them to meet EPAs National Ambient Air Quality Standards, she said.

Louisiana Pacific has now applied to have the requirement permanently waived by the Minister of Conservation.

"This is a cost-driven decision that will compromise human health and the environment as a means to support an American company that has taken millions of dollars out of this province.” Soprovich said.

Many people, including Susanne McCrea of the Boreal Action Project (then with Greenpeace), Swan River resident Ken Sigurdson, Don Sullivan and others were instrumental in the installation of the RTOs, when they campaigned to hold Louisiana Pacific accountable to the Manitoba public, before the mill construction was approved, in the mid 90s. Dan Soprovich was then Regional Wildlife Biologist, with Manitoba Natural Resources.

“We deserve the same level of health protection that Americans do” said Romak. “We deserve to have enough time to debate this fully. We deserve the chance for this to be done publicly. THEN a decision can be made”.

People concerned with this latest attempt by LP to circumvent public health should write letters to the Manitoba Minister of Conservation, requesting that the Minister deny LP's approval to decommission its RTOs permanently.

Write to Stan Struthers, Minister of Conservation; c/o
ryan.coulter@gov.mb.ca or at the Main Street address Environmental Assessment & Licensing Branch, Manitoba Conservation, 123 Main Street, Suite 160, Winnipeg, MB R3C 1A5.It will be up to the discretion of the Minister, under the Environment Act, to approve or deny LPs alteration request. Conservation has imposed a deadline, of March 13th, to hear from concerned parties.

Concerned citizens should also contact Swan River MLA, Rosann Wolchuk and Premier Gary Doer. Both of whom claimed victory, in 1994, when Louisiana Pacific was required to install the RTO technology.

“The Manitoba government must do the right thing here,” said McCrea. “If they allow LP to get away with this we will have to call for federal intervention.”

“This may be a good time to see if there is newer technology that is better than the RTOs of over a decade ago”, she said.

Maggie Romak
Swan River
204-281-1219 cell
mromak@hotmail.com

Dan Soprovich.
Swan River.
204-734-3054
dsop@mts.net

Susanne McCrea
The Boreal Action Project
204-297-0321 cell
borealaction@gmail.com

Links for background

http://thegreenpages.ca/portal/mb/2009/03/louisiana_pacific_seeks_to_dec.html
http://gov.mb.ca/conservation/eal/registries/3741lp/2008_10_28_reqletter.pdf
http://manitobawildlands.org/forests_mb_ind.html
http://www.gov.mb.ca/conservation/eal/contact.html

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

FOOTNOTE BY DAN SOPROVICH, AN ECOLOGIST, FORESTRY EXPERT AND LONG-TIME WATCHDOG OF "LP" OPERATIONS

Some 8 years or so ago, natural gas came to Swan River, primarily as an aid to LP because this would be cheaper than the propane that the Company was using to power its RTOs.

My recollection is that LP were to use about 88% of the gas initially, per figures provided to the Public Utilities Board. LP put in a bit of money, I think $300,000 or something.

The feds were in for about $1.7 million, the province for $1.7 million, and local ratepayers for about $1.7 million.

At the time, my calculation was that the three local ratepayers who were not on gas would subsidize the one ratepayer who signed up to the tune of about $1000 each, or $3000. Some absurd estimate of ultimate signup by local ratepayers was presented to the Board, perhaps 8 of 10; it never happened.

Bottom line on this issue, if the province allows LP to shut down its RTOs (justifiably or otherwise), this will represent an approximate $5 million subsidy to LP that will be mostly lost.

This subsidy occurred under the present NDP government. If the RTOs are shut down, perhaps LP should be made to pay back the subsidy, or the great majority of it.


As indicated above, there are a number of reasons why this application by LP should receive significant scrutiny. Of particular concern are (1) this is almost certainly cost-driven as opposed to environmentally-driven or human health-driven (2) there are significant questions respecting process, including how it can be that an Environmental License can be significantly altered by a Minister without public consultation

(and especially when these conditions came to be due to the involvement of the public) and (3) the Company lacks credibility respecting long-term forest management and therefore should receive very close public scrutiny.

The only way to ensure that this issue receives appropriate public scrutiny is to let Premier Doer and his government know that the public is concerned.

Dan Soprovich

Swan River, MB
==========
To:"Gary Doer" , "Stan Struthers" , "Rosanne Wowchuk"
Cc:ryan.coulter@gov.mb.ca

Dear Mr. Premier and Honourable Ministers,

I learned with some surprise and concern about the attempt by Louisiana Pacific to do away with pollution control equipment at its OSB plant in Manitoba.
In this era of mounting global concern about the state of our health and environment, is this really the time to be considering such a move?
I was doubly concerned to learn that your government had, in January, already given the corporation quiet permission to shut such equipment down on a temporary basis.
While I'm not a resident of the immediate area, I am a citizen of this province and have already contributed to the success of the plant in question with my tax dollars through such publicly-funded projects as the natural gas line which services it.
So I feel I have the right to urgently request that you at least hold some sort of public consultation before permanently allowing such a questionable move.

Regards,
Larry Powell
Roblin MB