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
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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