Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Ottawa Squanders Energy Economy

Winnipeg Free Press - By: Frances Russell - 3/02/2010
Courtesy of Beautiful Destruction.
More and better carbon capture...

Manitoba's Conservation Minister Responds to my Story on Swan Valley Air Emissions

I invited three Manitoba cabinet ministers to give their input.

Just over a month later, I got a response from one of them, Bill Blaikie.
Please read my email and his, below.

From: Larry Powell []
Sent: Thursday, December 31, 2009 12:22 PM
To: Conservation, Minister; Agriculture, Minister; Finance, Minister

Subject: News Story On LP's Pollution Controls

Dear Honourable Ministers,

I'd like to congratulate you all on your recent appointments to new portfolios!

I am a journalist based near Roblin who writes regularly on issues touching on your areas of ministerial responsibility. (I write for my blog - see link below - occasionally for weekly newspapers in my region and magazines such as Briarpatch and Sasquatch.)

As you may know, I've written extensively in past about Louisiana Pacific's logging operations in my general part of the province (and, of course yours, Stan and Rosanne).

This time, I'm compiling another article about LP's closure of its pollution control devices at Minitonas.

If I may, I'd like to direct a couple of questions to each, or all of you, the answers to which I'd like to incorporate into the story.
• Given the protracted time it is taking for the CEC to make its recommendations, are you still comfortable that, rather than requiring the RTOs to remain in service in the interim, you have allowed them to stay offline? This is obviously permitting more industrial pollutants to escape into the air of the Swan Valley than would otherwise have been the case, is it not? (After all, it will soon be one full year that you will have allowed this to happen.)
• Regardless of what the CEC's recommendations will be, or when it makes them, are you prepared to seriously consider placing the RTOs back in service immediately?
• Would you consider looking into the option of LP using a bioreactor as a future means of controlling emissions, as has been suggested by one of the independent experts hired by Concerned Citizens of the Valley?
If you have any questions about me, please feel free to ask!

I hope to hear back from you at your earliest opportunity.

Best regards and complements of the season!
Larry Powell
See our planet through a fresh lens,
Visit: "Paths Less Travelled. Stories rarely told by mainstream media."

February 3, 2010

Larry Powell

Dear Mr. Powell:

Thank you for your email of December 31, 2009 in which you sought information related to the review of Louisiana-Pacific’s proposal to alter air emissions control equipment for the Swan Valley Oriented Strand Board plant.

As you are aware, the Clean Environment Commission (CEC) is currently reviewing this matter. My Department will await the recommendations of the CEC before making any permanent decisions regarding air emissions control equipment.

Again, thank you for providing your comments on this matter.

Yours sincerely,

“signed by”

Bill Blaikie

cc: Honourable Rosann Wowchuk
Honourable Stan Struthers
Editor's note: Normally, I wouldn't consider such a "non-response" response from an elected official even worthy of mention. But I thought it important to place this government on record that it is aware of the action it has taken and is consciously sticking to it, regardless of the consequences down the road.
Will there be consequences in terms of health outcomes later on? Time will tell.
Mr. Balikie's response is not unlike one you might expect from any other government of any other political stripe. His inference clearly is; it would somehow be impossible, illegal or unethical for him to do anything pending the CEC's recommendations. Given that the CEC is strictly an advisory body, that inference is clearly just an excuse for sticking to what many people still believe to be a wrong-headed decision. l.p.

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