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April 5, 2013

Opposing BC's 'Site C' dam: my letter

[via LeadNow.ca]

RE:  Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for 'Site C' Dam

Dear Mr. Bennett/ Ms. Jones,

I am writing to let you know that the EIS for the Site C dam fails to adequately assess the significance of potential and cumulative impacts of Site C in the following ways:

* Constructing Site C would necessitate a third reservoir on the river, which would destroy virtually all of the historic Peace River that remains within B.C.

* Site C would flood a wildlife-rich landscape that also contains important aboriginal burial & other archeological sites.

* The EIS does not consider the impacts of the existing dams & reservoirs on the Peace River.

* Fracking & tar sands extraction are NOT environmentally-sound energy production methods, at a crucial crossroads vis-a-vis global directives to reduce our C02 emissions by 2020.  Site C & other assists to fossil-fuel/tar-sands extraction would raise Canada's carbon 'footprint', already at unsustainable levels.  See http://climate.nasa.gov/causes for further info.

[Image from www.bcpeace.com]
* Peace River is the largest agricultural region in British Columbia, & its grain production is a crucial source of food/income for this province.  Flooding the area would negatively impact this important BC industry.

* While other countries are spending money & working hard to develop clean-energy sources/ technologies, Canada has been negligent vis-a-vis its global responsibilities by continuing to hone emissions-heavy, non-renewable fuel extraction – of which Site C would be another part.  Canada needs to stop polluting & start operating sustainably. 

* Wide-ranging animals – such as wolverine, lynx & woodland caribou – are virtually excluded from the assessment.  This is not an example of forward-thinking assessment in any sense, not only in terms of healthy biodiversity but in the basic planning for a clean-energy future.  Canada is situated at the outset of becoming the wildlife-watching hotspot in the world, with billions of dollars in potential tourist income – but only if we preserve what wilderness remains.  The proposed area for Site C dam is one of the premier wildlife habitats in the world, which would be – stupidly – destroyed for short-term financial gain to help China further pollute the global atmosphere using unsustainable methods of fossiel-fuel extraction - i.e. fracking - right here in BC: UNACCEPTABLE!

* Peace River region wildlife populations already are unacceptably impacted by intense human activity & development. The only appropriate response is to deny approval of the Site C dam and implement a comprehensive management approach that will ensure the recovery of at-risk species like grizzly bears & caribou.  Site C would require development of an enormous area of Canadian wilderness, placing undue stress on our fresh water supplies which our native wildlife species also depend on for survival.  Such a compromise is, of course, unthinkable.

* Canada needs to better utilize its extensive research/science resources to update & upgrade the stale old status quo plugged ad infinitum by Resource Minister (& national embarrassment) Joe Oliver.  We need to step away from over-emphasis on superficial politics & stop spending money on expanding polluting industries.  INSTEAD, we must get down to serious business forming/ funding/ negotiating/ planning/ regulating clean-energy technologies in order to lessen our impact on wilderness habitats AND become sustainable (i.e. win-win).

* We the public have not been given adequate information on this project, nor full accountability from our public servants as to exactly WHAT purpose – if not province-wide energy supply – its construction would serve.  Meanwhile encroachment into wildlife habitat areas continues with as little public consultation/ process as govt. & industry can get away with – AS IF BOTH OPPOSE THE PUBLIC'S INPUT/ INVOLVEMENT! Such reckless disregard for the very sources of their own livelihoods AND for existing/ necessary legislation indicates a FAILING at the basic fundamental level of their sworn parliamentary pledges.  We do not pay our  govt. officials hefty salaries so they can get away with pandering to industry's demands, at our expense. Govt.'s JOB is to protect & serve its people – not sell out our autonomy/ environmental health to the lowest bidders. In light of dangers/ dilemmas before BC'ers vis-a-vis polluting industries (IT'S WHAT THEY DO:  FRACKING IS ONE OF THE MOST DESTRUCTIVE, HARMFUL & THREATENING ACTIVITIES ON EARTH!!), we simply can't AFFORD to have our own elected public servants operate behind our backs, ignore us & allow destruction of our most valuable resources - i.e. our FRESH WATER & our WILDERNESS.  A Govt. that tries to pull the wool over its own people's eyes about danger growing in its businesses/ industries is a threat to our own best interests & well-being.  And since Site C specifically allows for increased fracking operations, largely for an overseas market, its construction would be environmentally irresponsible & unsustainable, & therefore untenable.

* Pretending Site C dam is not one of the most devastating projects ever proposed in Canada, of a scale that would affect an enormous landmass comprimising healthy ecosystems (i.e. a renewable resource & key source of sustenance), suggests that Govt. is gung-ho on allowing the future degradation of this province's biodiversity, freshwater resources, landmass/soil quality etc.  It is no exaggeration to surmise that any Govt. who can stand before its people touting Site C as a project that would benefit BC's economy/ environment in any way is either corrupt, duplicitous, ignorant, irresponsible, weak or all of the above (& a federal resource minister who questions the validity of scientific findings & TOUTS INCREASED FOSSIL FUEL EXTRACTION AS A NON-POLLUTING, SUSTAINABLE ACTIVITY IS NOT SOMEBODY ACTING IN CANADIANS' BEST INTERESTS!)
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*Why is Canada so slow to act on global calls for clean-energy production/ pollution reduction?  Unlike other parts of the world (eg. Amazon Rainforest, Bolivia, Malaysia, Tibet), most Canadians have not yet had to deal with the devastating results of widespread wilderness destruction in their daily midst – eg. deforestation in Malaysia – since much of BC's ravaged countryside (mostly from logging & mineral extraction/mining) is located in sparsely-populated parts of the province.  The effects are no less devastating.  Yet unsustainable operations - largely approved if not promoted by a fatuously self-serving & short-sighted government - continue to wreak havoc on the environment & put our futures at risk.  Site C Dam, however - if approved - would crank up the devastation several notches by its intended primary purpose of supporting Canada's fracking/tar-sands extraction industry to supply overseas (Asian) markets.  Whereas the 20th century saw corrupt leaders of what quickly became 'third-world' countries handing rich nations approval to freely degrade, harm, poison & rape those regions by deforestation, drilling, excavating & mining (i.e. the most destructive human activities on the planet) - thereby disabling their own populations' self-sustaining agriculture & in turn initiating today's global climate/food crisis - the now-'developing' world looks to exploit their former exploiters in the same way.  Approving fossil-fuel projects like Site C dam is another step along that road - & recent history has shown where that road leads.  Except now, with dangerous emissions & diminished wilderness (eg. essential forests) at critical levels, such approval would put not only Canada's climate/self-sustaining agriculture in jeopardy but that of the entire world.
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* If allowed to continue unabated, activities like deforestation & fracking will literally kill all life on Earth in due course.  Why?  BECAUSE THESE ACTIVITIES DON'T JUST COMPROMISE THE AIR WE BREATHE, THE QUALITY OF OUR ENVIRONMENT & THE BALANCE OF OUR CLIMATE – THEY GRADUALLY DEPLETE THE VERY SOURCE OF OUR OWN SUSTENANCE, ON WHICH WE ARE, ULTIMATELY, 100% DEPENDENT – i.e.  NATURE – AT A RATE THAT IS UNSUSTAINABLE, meaning Nature cannot regrow/renew quickly enough to keep up with their rate of destruction...

* & since Nature provides all the elements needed to support life on Earth - i.e. is, literally, our ONLY PROVIDER - we need to quit stupidly, unsustainably, depleting those supplies & operate at sustainable levels that guarantee continual, indefinite regrowth/renewal.

* WE HAVE MUCH CATCH-UP TO DO VIS-A-VIS DAMAGE ALREADY DONE BY POLLUTING INDUSTRIES.  The fact that Canada's own contributors to climate change still operate unsustainably is a horrifying testament not to industry's greedy lack of scruples (that's old news) but to our GOVERNMENT'S weakness in allowing the ruin of this land.  Scientists, our last bastion of impartiality, have proven why we can't AFFORD a Govt. that permits remaining wilderness to be recklessly - unnecessarily - destroyed/killed - let alone to make way for further pollution/risks of fossil-fuel extraction.  The CEAA should reject Site C Dam on the basis alone that such damage CANNOT BE MITIGATED.  Our government needs to follow their directives, which align with our best interests, with responsible initiatives/laws/legislation that will keep BC clean, healthy, flourishing & productive for future generations.  Without these basic prerequisites as government's guiding principal force, the 'legacies' to which Christy Clark referred throughout her provincial election campaign will be as barren & valueless as those promised to Albertans to justify the wilderness destruction that made way for their ill-fated foray into fossil-fuel extraction...

Thank you for considering my points above in your assessment of this cripplingly costly, destructive & ultimately untenable Site C dam proposal.  Please deny Site C, now & in future.