Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Gordon Campbell and the Dark Side of Green

He may have the most impressive looking carbon tax in North America, He may be encouraging renewable energy projects all over British Columbia, but dig beneath the surface and you'll find that Gordon Campbell's government is on the dark side of green.

To begin with, all those renewable energy projects are for private companies only. BC Hydro, which could have been developing wind farms and smaller hydroelectric power projects for British Columbians has been legally prevented from doing so. In it's place, the Liberal government has given away the rights to hundreds of "run of the river" hydroelectric projects as well as a bunch of wind farm licences to his business buddies for bargain prices. It's Liberal government policy to fast track and subsidize these renewable power projects, which is arguably a good thing, except that there is no benefit for BC's citizens.

You see, certified green power, that is power that comes from renewable sources like wind and water, command higher prices in the power-hungry U.S. Once these wind farms and hydro projects are up and running with the help of tax-payer subsidies there is nothing stopping them from selling their power to the U.S. That means that U.S. companies can cover our land with wind farms, can dam and divert our rivers, and we don't even benefit from the power that they generate. If we want to buy that power, we would have to pay higher prices than what we pay to BC hydro because it's "green power". Can you see the irony of this? Foreigners are going to profit from using our land and selling the power to other foreigners and our government is subsidizing them.

We've been lulled by Campbell's green public relations into thinking that the Liberal government cares about the environment. Nothing could be further from the truth. It's all about privatization, about selling off BC's resources to feed the hungry appetite of the biggest economy in the world and taking away our public rights to affordable recreation and hunting and fishing in the process.

Ask yourself why has Campbell's government consistantly avoided public consultation on privatizing BC Hydro, and on it's renewable power policies like "run of the river"? If local municipalities had a say in renewable power projects, and if BC Hydro could develop them, all citizens would benefit by generating green power in our backyards. But not Campbell's way. We lose our wilderness, and our rivers so that multinational corporations can make a profit selling energy to the United States.

Without public involvement, so-called green projects are nothing more than resource grabs for the rich and powerful. Going green is meaningless if it doesn't lead to a sustainable future. In order to be sustainable, we need local control over the use and conservation of our resources. If we allow Gordon Campbell's Liberal government to sell them off now their won't be anything left for our children and grandchildren. If you want to know more about these issues please check out www.saveourrivers.ca and www.thetyee.ca

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