Letters to the editor – February 20, 2014

WIND POWER NOT GREEN

The Watertown corridor south of Pincher Creek, (Alta.,) is not being recognized as an area worthy of environmental protection.

The destruction of this pristine and valuable landscape will be forever and irreversibly damaged by industrial wind power development.

The Alberta government plans to enact the South Saskatchewan Regional Plan (SSRP) by the end of 2014. It establishes a government appointed board to control land-use planning, overriding the rights of local municipal governments and landowners on crown and private land.

The primary focus of the SSRP is economic development strategies and objectives, two of which are removing barriers to renewable energy development and promoting power infrastructure that supports linkages to markets.

Take a drive along Highway 3 and north between Pincher Station and Brocket and experience industrial scale wind development and the visual impact, noise, flicker and disturbing vibrations and consider the impact of 24/7 exposure. This is not compatible with wildlife and the natural beauty of our area, families, community values, tourism, recreation, quality of life, fair land values and much more.

A few local landowners profit while the majority pay a high price and endure unjust negative impacts.

The Alberta government remains committed to its Green Energy agenda to meet CO2 emission reduction targets. Wind power is not green energy. It is an inefficient and unreliable source of power, which requires fossil fuel back-up and hundreds of kilometres of transmission infrastructure….

Wind developers and power companies are in business to make money and maximize profits for investors while generous government subsidies distort common sense economics by providing strong incentives to build, with no limits. Neither serves the best interests of the people or the environment.

Are we to become victims of government agendas and corporate power, or can we, as a community, become informed and stand united to protect one another as residents and landowners in community, as protectors of the environment and stewards of the land?

Public consultation on the SSRP closes Feb. 28. Contact your MLA, mayor or reeve for information on how this legislation will impact you and the future of this area. Get involved. Ask for a copy or complete the SSRP workbook online at www.landuse.alberta.com.

Eileen McGlynn & Carole Ferguson,
Pincher Creek, Alta.

WE’RE IN TROUBLE

In 40 years of farming, I’ve never witnessed the collapse of the grain industry like I have in the last five months. What is the problem?

I guess for 40 years of cheap labour, I have the right to voice my opinion. Politicians now want to kick it around Parliament when they go back to work, if that is what they call it.

The problem with the grain industry, as I see it, is the oil business. Today there is a lot of oil coming out of the ground and it has to be moved. Mixing oil with something usually smooths out the operation. With the grain industry, things just get gummed up. Everything just slows down. Grain builds up and prices fall.

Our neighbours want our oil and don’t care if we sell our grain unless they can get it cheaper, killing two birds with one stone.

We are facing a long-term problem. Until these pipelines are built, our railroads are going to be moving the oil, if the pipelines are ever built.

Adding the huge increase in oil tanker cars to the rail system has hurt grain movement. They say not, but the backlog, I think, proves it. Crop failure or a reduction in seeded acres may be our only way out.

If grain builds up in the system, prices fall. This is no joke, Mr. (prime minister Stephen) Harper and Mr. (agriculture minister Gerry) Ritz, we are in real trouble.

I never thought a bumper crop would hurt us so much, but I never factored in oil. I was always afraid of what would happen in a buyers’ market without a true wheat board. The stories my uncles told me about the beatings they took before the wheat board still haunt me. I hope and pray this is not a race to the bottom….

Miles Moore,
Outlook, Sask.

NO ESCAPING GM

In 1996, genetically engineered, also known as genetically modified, crops were first commercialized. Through manipulation by man, gene transfer between similar and different life forms was accomplished.

GE crops were engineered to be Roundup Ready. This broad-spectrum glyphosate herbicide would kill weeds but not the crop. At first blush the technology was a miracle.

In less than 20 years, non-corporately funded scientific studies and research have determined this technology is not a miracle. GE food through correlation graphs has been directly linked to gastro-intestinal disorders like auto-immunity, celiac, Crohn’s disease and leaky gut, infertility, kidney and liver damage, obesity, depression, Alzheimer’s, cancer and autism.…

Dr. Thierry Vrain, 30 years a genetic engineer with Agriculture Canada, cautions there is no acute toxicity to GE foods and the use of glyphosate. We won’t die immediately.

He does, however, warn over time ingestion of these modified foods inhibits enzymes and the resultant health effects are slow and insidious.

It is easy to point a finger at the big five GE-driven corporations, yet they are simply doing their jobs. Through innovation, marketing and spin their bottom line is healthy and dynamic….

Fault for allowing GE products into our food system lands squarely on the shoulders of our elected representatives. Willful blindness is prevalent amongst our politicians, and it appears our regulatory bodies as well. It’s time for them to review all the studies on GE. The studies not favourable to the corporate interests of the chemical companies have been quashed. The politicians will have to dig deep to unearth them….

Due diligence and sober second thought must happen now and the government must take seriously their responsibility for the health and well-being of all citizens.

GE ingredients or Roundup residue are found in the majority of processed and fast food from baby food to granola bars, all meat raised in confined animal feeding operations, all non-organic dairy and most bakery products. Without government intervention, being pro-active and getting off the GE diet is not just challenging, it is proving to be next to impossible.

J. L. Chalmers,
Claresholm, Alta.

JUST ANOTHER DAY

Well, well, oil spill at Rowatt, just south of Regina. Close enough yet for local rampant consumerism to pay attention?

“Apparently no immediate danger,” they say. What does that even mean? The danger isn’t until that toxin soaks into the aquifers and surrounding productive farmland?

“Quick reaction time by Enbridge.” Oh boy. More media spin to put the best shoe on disaster?

Why are we even using such toxins to run our economy when the technology is already there to transition into clean energy? That logical transition is being implemented all over the world. The only thing lacking in Canada is the political and industrial will to embrace that logical change.

So, let’s look at those two points. Industry exists No. 1 to make profits for investors. All other considerations are at least secondary. Costs of damage control must be justified in quarterly financial reports. Having an environmental conscience often reduces profits.

If too much money is being spent on environmental protection to negatively affect profits, that offending corporate sub-entity causing the deficit can be abandoned or collapsed into bankruptcy, reducing financial exposure in liabilities to the mother company. For example, the rail company Montreal Maine and Atlantic carrying the toxins that devastated Lac Megantic, Que., in explosions, fire, 47 deaths and huge environmental damage has filed for bankruptcy.

The federal government wants to use the Lac Megantic disaster as an opportunity to spin for pipelines. But what’s the difference?

Pipelines are rupturing all over the world, causing huge damages. Aging infrastructure plus cost-cutting measures in both industry and government makes those disasters inevitable. Unfortunately, our governments, both provincially and federally, are so in bed with industry that they, too, can’t see very far beyond that next quarterly financial report.

An energy spill in solar electrical generation is no more harmful than just another nice sunny day.

Greg Chatterson,
Fort San, Sask.

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