North Island MLA Claire Trevena called on the BC Liberal government to pull the so called Clean Energy Act (Bill 17) so there can be widespread consultations on its implications.
The bill removes the public oversight of the BC Utilities Commission and opens the way for large scale export of electricity by private generating companies. It allows for private power producers to expand rapidly across BC’s public crown lands and rivers. Among the contentious projects are the plans for massive industrialisation of Bute Inlet.
“Basically, friends of the B.C. Liberals are coming in, getting very sweet deals to take over our rivers for 40-plus years, to industrialize them, to allow environmental degradation in the process, and to sell the power produced so that Californians can keep their air conditioners running in the summer and their golf courses green,” said Trevena in the BC Legislature.
“If the Minister of Energy and Mines came into my constituency, sat down at a public meeting and started to talk about this plan, he would hear very clearly the anger and the concern about the loss of our heritage, the loss of our environment and the loss of our rivers.”
She also said that the government had reneged on its legal obligation to consult with First Nations – who have written to the government asking for the bill to be withdrawn until that occurs.
Trevena told the Legislature that the bill is bad public policy, looking at short term gains for a government rather than the long term interests of the people of the province. And she said that once again people had been misled by the BC Liberals. Before and during the election they said private power development was to ensure energy self sufficiency, but this new bill is without question about exporting energy for private profit.
Trevena questioned whether the bill should even be called the Clean Energy Act as BC has a history of producing clean, hydroelectricity including through the dam system just outside Campbell River. She said what was needed was an energy plan, which included using renewable resources to meet the local energy needs of local communities.
The full transcript of Trevena’s speech can be found at: http://www.leg.bc.ca/hansard/39th2nd/H00531y.htm
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