Saturday, 7 March 2009



205-180 Market Avenue

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

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 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

Dan Soprovich.
Swan River.

Susanne McCrea
The Boreal Action Project
204-297-0321 cell

Links for background

Wednesday, 4 March 2009


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"

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.

Larry Powell
Roblin MB

Sunday, 22 February 2009


Friends - Just wanted to let you know, my article "Lament for the Honeybee," has now been published in the online magazine, "OnEarth." "OnEarth" is produced by the Natural Resources Defense Council, a major international environmental organization with more than a million members!
ABOUT: "OnEarth, the award-winning environmental magazine, explores politics, nature, wildlife, culture, science, health, the challenges that confront our planet, and the solutions that promise to heal and protect it.

Our contributors include (North) America's finest writers and poets whose original works appear on pages filled with prize-winning photography and splendid art.

Are you curious about who's cutting down (North) America's great forests... the newest plan to save Congo's last primates...why Detroit is stuck in reverse… the sex life of the poisonous moonflower… how Aboriginal Australians set the land on fire…a journey through Canada's wild northern Rockies? In every issue, we deliver stories to enlighten, surprise, and delight you.

Founded in 1979 as The Amicus Journal, OnEarth continues NRDC's 25-year commitment to independent, groundbreaking environmental journalism."

Read Larry's article here.


JBL wrote on February 23, 2009, 04:20PM:
Modern Man conquers nature.
Do we really want to be part of the demise of bees and bats in our life time?
Bees and bats have been around before we came onto the scene but it has taken only a few years of "modern technology" from the hands of scientists to start the process of vanquishing these much needed species.

"Congratulations Larry,
That is fantastic….way to go and make a positive difference in this wonderful world we live in. Mother Nature and the Animal Kingdom are also grateful. May you continue to speak your noble harmonious mind. Thank You."
(Cheryl is an activist for an ethical and sustainable livestock industry in Manitoba.)
"Hi Larry,
Great article! Thanks for all the work you put into researching and writing. The world needs to know this information."
(Kate Storey - organic farmer & candidate - Green Party of Canada - Grandview, MB)
"Congrats Larry! I am glad that you are getting this distributed. It needs to be disseminated."
(James Beddome - Leader, the Green Party of Manitoba)
"Hi Larry;
Congratulations and continued success!"
(Joe Leschyshn - anti factory-farm activist in Manitoba, CA)
"Way to go Larry!"
(Glen Koroluk - water activist, Winnipeg.)
(Please click on the "Honeybees" label down and to the right to read more on the subject.)



WINNIPEG FREE PRESS; Caribou herds across Canada’s North have dropped drastically. Some place the blame on increasing development; others blame climate change or say it’s just "*the cycle of life.

by Bruce Owen Winnipeg Free Press February 22, 2009

Caribou, the 'heart and soul' of the Far North and its most important food source, have begun disappearing in staggering numbers that have left stunned observers desperately searching for answers.

Friday, 20 February 2009


COMMENT: "The Tennessee coal ash disaster -podcast" entry in Paths Less Travelled made me discover your excellent blog that I look up regularly now.




The worst environmental disaster in US history - ever!
That's how some are describing the huge spill of coal fly ash at a holding pond before Christmas.

Matt Landon, a volunteer with United Mountain Defense, talks with Emily Voigt about the magnitude of the coal ash disaster at the Tennessee Valley Authority power plant in Kingston, Tennessee.

Listen here.

Running time: 6 minutes, 32 seconds.

Friday, 13 February 2009

Media Commentators. Responsible Citizens, or Junk Scientists?

Dear Editor,

Are our "opinion-leaders" doing their jobs? Or, are they letting us down?
I will defend to the death the right of media commentators to speak their minds on any issue.
But what if those opinions are based on fairy tales rather than facts?
When addressing global warming, for example, are they seeking out the best evidence on which to craft their editorials?
Or are they simply being contrary, making their pronouncements based on nothing more than junk science or personal bias?
One doesn't have to look very far for media diatribes that label environmentalists as troublemakers or even "wackos."
According to these "opinion-leaders," those who drive hybrid cars or buy carbon offsets when they travel are wasting their time.
And lawmakers who clamp down on idling vehicles, are Communists!
They would have us believe that either global warming isn't happening at all, or is being caused by just about anything other than human activity.
So what is responsible then? Well, according to them, it's solar flares, or the tilt of the earth, or natural trends similar to what's happened throughout history! (All of which flies in the face of mounds of scientific evidence.)
Even my last barber absolutely knew that global warming is just a natural phenomenon and that Al Gore is a fraud!
He didn't point out any specific, factual errors Mr. Gore had made in his movie, or whether, in fact, he had even seen it!
Perhaps he's been listening to too many "opinion-leaders?"
Yet the degree of consensus that global warming is real, serious and "man-made" is remarkable.
Scientists who don't agree are rare, indeed: Like the one who speaks to farm groups, telling them what they want to hear;
that agriculture is not a major contributor to global warming when, in fact, it is.
I just can't bring myself to agree with this point of view. Because, to do so, I would also have to label as "wackos," the following;
• The world-renowned meteorologists and Nobel prize winners of the United Nations' International Panel on Climate Change,
• The scores of highly-qualified researchers and scientists of the World Watch Institute,
• The Earth Policy Institute (These last two being internationally-renowned, science-based "think-tanks." (Both were founded by Lester R. Brown, who has been described as one of the world's most influential thinkers),
• The thousands of respected universities around the world which employ academics with impressive credentials who publish countless science-based, peer-reviewed studies on a regular basis,
• "NASA," the North American Space Administration. (Dr. James Hanson of NASA pointed out the reality of global warming 20 years ago. He is now recognized as a virtual prophet in the field.)
• Institute of Science in Society (ISIS). Its director, *Mae-Won Ho is a widely-known science adviser, a much sought-after speaker and author of best-selling books.
I could list many more. But, you get the idea.
I would ask these "opinion-leaders," do you even read the studies these groups publish? Well I do.
After spending years studying to gain their degrees and their jobs, these experts spend much of their waking lives examining the world's climate.
They measure, observe, chart, document, photograph and prepare sophisticated computerized climate models (after weeks, months, or even years, often "on the ground" in remote, hostile conditions).
Do you?
My point is this. I am decidedly not one of the experts I list above. I don't have a masters degree is science, or meteorology. I have high school! Period!
That is precisely why I defer to them. After all, who the Hell am I not to? To do otherwise is to display arrogance of the highest order.
(Photo courtesy of the CBC)
Explain away, if you will, the unprecedented ice storm that hit Manitoba just last week, causing traffic chaos, highway and school closures and power outages. (Have you ever seen people "skating" down a major highway? I haven't.)
How about the huge snowfalls that have disrupted Victoria, Vancouver and London, England (which rarely if ever seen such freakish conditions).
Or the incinerator that was southeastern Australia.
I would suggest that none of these "severe weather events" were the work of solar flares, or natural trends.
Climate scientists have been predicting for years that such events would increase in both intensity and numbers. And they have.
The Worldwatch Institute reports that recorded floods, hurricanes and other "natural" disasters, nearly doubled between 1987 and 2006.
So, are these "climate change deniers" really being responsible?
Or are they short-changing present and future generations by giving them faulty information on which to base the ways they respond to the climate crisis already upon us?
"Climate change scepticism is politically motivated, the evidence is all around us. Good science is about dispelling common prejudice, not taking leave of common sense." *Dr. Mae-Wan Ho

Larry Powell
Roblin MB

Measuring ecosystem disruption caused by marine heatwaves

 Nature Above, healthy bull kelp. Below, bull kelp degraded by a marine heatwave. DeWikiMan Marine heatwaves can displace therma...