Letters to the editor – June 13, 2019

We still don’t have responsible drainage

Re: “Sask. farmers defend well planned agricultural drainage,” (WP, May 23).

The rural municipalities and the Smith Creek Watershed Association proclaim that they take issue with “perplexed by environmental claims that we’re damaging the land.” Although agricultural drainage removes wetlands, it’s more than that. It is the redirecting of water off landowners’ land for economic benefit while causing downstream water problems for others to have to deal with.

They already recognize that the loss of wetlands has contributed to downstream flooding, but they fail to mention the damage being done to water quality downstream. It is a proven fact that agricultural drainage is contributing to the nitrogen and phosphorus loading, eventually ending up in Lake Winnipeg, causing an environmental catastrophe, and they are not required to mitigate whatsoever for these impacts.

The article insinuates that shallow wetlands are not important as they only stay on the land for a short time and that the Class 4 and 5 wetlands there are still intact. These are both not true, as temporary and seasonal wetlands are still important for flood control, absorbing fertilizers and chemicals and recharging groundwater.

Also, contrary to what is stated, I know personally that many Class 4 and 5 wetlands have already been drained.

The latest of many drainage projects underway in east-central Saskatchewan will see the area drained increased from 5,000 acres to more than 20,000 acres, the total length of ditches will exceed 600 kilometres and the volume of water drained into Manitoba by this project increased by almost 500 percent — all without an assessment and mitigation of the impacts.

As well, many Manitoba producers don’t want Saskatchewan’s water, and that is why they’ve signed a petition against it. On a final point, they neglect to mention that the reason they needed to “save” the town of Langenburg was a result of illegal drainage and alteration of upstream natural watercourses.

We need responsible drainage but what we have still isn’t that.

Jeff Olson
Managing Director
Citizens Environmental Alliance 
Theodore, Sask.

Save money, go green; make your own power

Did you catch that bit of comic theatre? Conservative leader Andrew Scheer pumping his own gas and crying about a 4.4 cents per litre increase due to the carbon tax that, if properly used, is a timid step in bringing Canada to the reality that climate change is overwhelmingly the world’s biggest problem that has to be addressed.

Meanwhile, the price at the pumps jumped a whopping 30 percent in 2019 because Scheer’s major financial supporters, the petroleum aristocracy, want to gouge the consumer again — right in time for seeding in his constituency and not a peep out of Scheer in complaint of that. He knows what side his bread is buttered on.

Even rabid capitalist entrepreneurs have to be able to recognize the huge capacity for growth in the economy and the wealth they could enjoy with endless amounts of cheap electricity, even free energy and heat produced right at home from the sun, wind, geothermal, burning of their flax straw in a controlled efficient manner, harvesting the methane off their livestock operations and any moving water.

Cheap electricity, home produced, can dramatically reduce the costs of heating your operation, lighting, grain drying and handling products, transportation, manufacturing — whatever your ambition — with a little co-operation from the local utility. And it can be an income source from overproduction of electricity that could go back into the grid.

Scheer, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the carbon tax should be offering rewards in carbon credits for every ton of coal or gallon of oil not dug up and burned because we invest in renewable resources. The carbon tax should be used to encourage entrepreneurs for offering solutions to make this crucial transition from non-renewable to renewable energy.

The price per barrel of oil in Canada is well below production costs and has been for some time now, so there is no reason for this massive jump at the pumps except greed. Governments, once in power, don’t mind jumps in fuel prices because they rake off more tax revenues every time the price goes up.

If you want to improve your profit ratio, sock it to the greedy petroleum monarchs and the government and do your part for the environment, all at the same time. Go green. Produce your own electricity. Every gallon of petroleum you don’t have to consume is money saved in your pocket and it reduces the march for extinction of species that our governments are presently on.

Greg Chatterson
Fort San, Sask.

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