Government and Task Force Are Ignoring Real Concerns

For Immediate Release

Council of Canadians
Contact: 

Harjap Grewal, BC-Yukon Regional Organizer, Council of Canadians, 604-340-2455, hgrewal@canadians.org.
Dylan Penner, Media Officer, Council of Canadians, 613-795-8685, dpenner@canadians.org.

Government and Task Force Are Ignoring Real Concerns

VANCOUVER - The unveiling of the Clean Energy Act by the BC Government and the
release of the Green Energy Advisory Task Force spells more ‘business as
usual,' not urgent action on the climate crisis.

"These documents confirm that, all along, the driving force behind the
run-of-the-river projects has been an export agenda," says Harjap
Grewal, BC-Yukon Regional Organizer of the Council of Canadians. "The
new legislation will accelerate the existing private power gold rush,
the environmental and social impacts of which have been clearly
denounced by a broad spectrum of community groups, representatives and
environmental organizations in BC."

The Clean Energy Act guts the BC Utilities Commission capacity to force
the government to demonstrate need and demand before going ahead with
energy developments. Alongside the emphasis on exports, this undermines
the legislation's emphasis on conservation and energy efficiency.

"The Premier can't call these plans ‘green' or ‘clean' if the end use of
the energy is going to increase carbon emissions or disrupt sensitive
eco-systems," says Grewal. "Ironically, in BC, a growing demand for
hydro power is coming for the development of the oil and gas sector in
the north east and proposed new mining projects which include coal
mines. While claiming to address climate change, there are no mechanisms
to actually limit the use of oil and coal - huge producers of
environmental pollution."

The legislation also promotes the development of the Site C dam, the
focus of a recently issued open letter to the BC government from the
Council of Canadians. "Site C raises serious concerns over the immediate
and future impacts on the local watershed and communities, and
transparency regarding the need for additional power is lacking," adds
Grewal.

The Task Force was also asked to consider British Columbia's interests
in any future national or international cap and trade system. "The
potential for profits from carbon credits generated by renewable energy
developments is further fueling an already serious energy gold rush in
BC and, when purchased, can provide a loophole allowing ongoing
energy-intensive projects elsewhere," warns Andrea Harden-Donahue,
Climate Justice Campaigner for the Council of Canadians.

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