Sierra Club Blog Posts
Wind Concerns Ontario has vocally opposed the Ontario government’s Green Energy and Economy Act (GEA) for several reasons. They argue that the GEA is too expensive (both as a taxpayer funded program and as a factor in increasing household energy bills), gives wind energy an unfair advantage in the energy market, and that this “unfair advantage” hides apparent flaws in wind technology. Moreover, the GEA is strongly criticized for eliminating municipal control over wind power projects. Here are a couple of quotes from the Wind Concerns Ontario site that explain this position well.... Read more »
In the last few weeks Ontario’s provincial politics have gained significant media attention. With elections less than a year away, and Liberal support showing signs of weakening, significant attention has been given to the talking points of Premier Dalton McGuinty and the new Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak. Energy issues were consistently part of their discourse. Interestingly, it appears that the Progressive Conservative party has aligned itself with many of the anti-wind assertions made by WCO. Hudak has pledged to scrap the Feed-In Tariff program introduced in 2009 that subsidized green energy development by guaranteeing premium per kilowatt-hour prices for green sources of energy. McGuity was on the defensive, citing the huge increase in green energy produced, and planned for the near future, as a direct result of the green energy act, as well as, economic progress in the green energy sector. ... Read more »
Last week I attended a workshop on hydro fracturing shale formations to release natural gas deposits. This is a relatively new method that has taken off like wildfire in the United States and Canada. It has come on so fast that it has caught most of us off guard.
The process involves drilling deep underground—down, then horizontally—and then pumping millions of gallons of water, sand, and chemicals into a well under tremendous pressure. This pressure fractures the gas bearing shale opening seams, for gas to flow into the well.
Northeast British Columbia (about 13 hours from Vancouver) was a remote area supporting loggers, farmers, and First Nations until a few years ago when fracturing came north.
Lonely rural roads have suddenly become truck-heavy highways as Encana and other companies move thousands of tonnes of equipment, and most concerning, millions of gallons of water.
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Wind Concerns Ontario- NIMBY or Not?
Project planners, developers, politicians, and environmentalists all use the NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) instrument to characterize negative public sentiment towards projects that serve a broader positive social function, yet encounter significant backlash from the people whose ‘backyard’ is being developed. The question then is, is Wind Concerns Ontario a NIMBY organization? Before getting into this I will give a quick example to help illustrate the NIMBY device for those of you who are not familiar with it.... Read more »
Wind Concerns Ontario (WCO) has emerged as the foremost anti-wind power development organization in Ontario. Their platform against wind power rests on five fundamental arguments which are: concerns regarding health risks associated with living near wind farm development, environmental degradation through bird and bat kills, development on sensitive habitats etc., lowered property values, lack of meaningful community consultation in the development process, and criticisms of wind technology as a viable energy option.... Read more »
Once again Europeans are rising up in support of shutting down the Canadian tar sands.
UXBRIDGE. ONTARIO - I am proud to announce tomorrow (September 18th) International "Stop the Tar Sands!" Day will hit Paris and Vienna! France is heavily invested in the tar sands through their banks (Societe Generale and BNP Paribas) and the French oil company Total Oil. Austria on the other hand has no direct connection to the tar sands. Nonetheless, people of both countries are slowly recognizing even though tar sands development is isolated to northern Alberta it is something that effects us all no matter where we live. I wish both Paris and Vienna the greatest of success for tomorrow. Have fun too!... Read more »
Busy week writing letters to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission. It's a futile thing really, but it's our job to shout for justice. I have always imagined myself as Henry Fonda staring down the 11 other jurors and, in only 90 minutes, turning an 11-to-1 guilty vote to 12-to-0 not guilty.
Maybe that's why I mount my trusty steed and, with a shout to Sancho to fix my grammar, knock out another submission, statement, press release or letter.
If you speak the truth eventually you will be heard. Everyone needs a philosophy. This is mine.
I think my next project will be a funding application to the Alberta government. Apparently, while the premier has been spending thousands on tar sands propaganda the culture minister has been funding the documentary Dirty Oil.
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Look out - the oil companies are going to be demanding another reward for bad behaviour.
The burst pipeline that leaked a million gallons of Alberta crude into the Kalamazoo River remains closed after US authorities turned down a restart. Turns out they couldn't verify it was safe.
Now Endbridge, fearing its line through Superior, Wisconsin might not be up to snuff, has reduced the pressure in the pipe. This cuts back the amount of crude flowing to Sarnia refineries even more.
So look out. Here comes a supply/demand argument for a bump in the price at the pumps.
Why is it only the oil industry can get away with this?
Here’s where environmental messaging hits a brick wall. You’re trying to get people excited, and all you have to offer is bad news.
“Climate change!” you say to a roomful of your fellow citizens. Eyes glaze over and people feel helpless.
“Biodiversity loss!” People ask themselves if they should feel guilty for eating breakfast that morning.
“Gutting of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act!” The policy wonks in the front row start salivating while everyone else looks at their watches.
I’ve spent the summer working in media and communications for Sierra Club Canada’s head office. It’s been inspiring but also quite frustrating, as I’m tasked again and again with Mission Impossible: get people onboard with a message that’s mostly very dire.
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