Letters and Editorials

To build or not to build?

Bipole III major hydro corridor and northern dams
September 2012

The public debate has largely centered on the question of where do we erect a Bipole III major hydro transmission line – on the east or west side of the province? Now we are asking the most important questions, the ones we should have discussed first. To build or not to build? Is it good for Manitoba to construct Bipole III and the northern dams that would feed it?

Economically, it may have seemed more lucrative in the early part of this century. According to Winnipeg Free Press columnist Dan Lett, the forecast now for future Manitoba hydro export sales is highly uncertain. Customers in our most profitable export region to the south are losing their craving for our electricity as they are increasingly generating their own.

With all certainty, hundreds of kilometers of BiPole III transmission lines, no matter what route, will have …

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Ross response to Blaikie info on Bipole III is unacceptable

In recent weeks, the Brandon Sun has published a number of pieces calling for Manitoba Hydro and the Manitoba government to build the proposed Bipole III transmission line on the east side of Lake Winnipeg rather than the west side.

A letter to the editor on July 8, 2011, from Garland Laliberte and Karen Friesen (“Weighing The Costs Of Bipole III”) argued that the cost of the east side route would be $1 billion less than the west-side route. A letter of rebuttal to Laliberte and Friesen, which argued that their estimate of the difference in costs was inaccurate and exaggerated, apparently fell through the cracks.

This was followed on July 9 by an article written by Sun columnist Deveryn Ross titled, “Deveryn’s Decision — UNESCO Has Never Heard Of Bipole Projects.” The gist of Ross’ column is that he didn’t understand the long, complicated process required to obtain a UNESCO World …

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Weighing the Costs of Bipole III

Dear Editor;

Garland Laliberte and Karen Friesen’s letter of July 8, 2011 (Weighing the costs of Bipole III) is presumably intended to clarify the difference in the cost of running the Bipole III transmission line down the west side of Lake Winnipeg as opposed to the east side. If that was indeed their intention, their efforts have gone seriously awry.

The numbers of interest to citizens of Manitoba have been explained in detail most recently by John Ryan in a piece published by CCPA – Manitoba titled, “Bipole III: Winnipeg Free Press and the Conservative Campaign of Misinformation.” In brief, the relevant numbers are:

Cost of west side transmission line = $1,260,000 million

Cost of east side transmission line = $805,000 million

Difference in costs of construction = $455,000 million

Additional cost of line losses on west side = $232,000 million

Total difference in cost of west side transmission line = $687,000 million

Laliberte …

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East Side Protection Welcomed

Re: Manitoba protects over 800,000 hectares boreal forest, land for UNESCO bid (June 16)

An ancient and largely undisturbed wilderness, about 20 times the size of Winnipeg, is now legally protected from industrial activities such as logging, mining, and hydro developments.

Congratulations to Poplar River First Nation for their hard work and determination to safeguard part of the world’s largest intact section of Boreal Forest. I also applaud the Manitoba government, environmental groups, and Manitoba citizens for supporting large-scale wilderness protection in the region. This is a great day in Manitoba history.

The Boreal is the world’s largest source of fresh water and the northern lungs of the planet. As only about 1/5th of the world’s original forests remain intact, protecting the region on the east side of Lake Winnipeg has positive environmental implications across the globe.

Ron Thiessen

Executive Director

Canadian Parks & Wilderness Society – Manitoba chapter

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Inflated threats

I am sincerely tired of hearing the same baseless claims made about Bipole III. A west-side Bipole III will not cost each Manitoba family $11,748. In fact, it is Tory Leader Hugh McFadyen who believes we are not paying enough for hydro and thinks we should have rates hiked to market rates.

Manitobans will continue to enjoy low hydro rates, far below market rates, even after the construction of Bipole III. Hydro uses export sales to subsidize the sale of power within Manitoba, allowing us to purchase electricity for less than the market rate.

Put the “priceless” boreal forest aside and let’s get down to the hard economic reality that we would lose export sales to the U.S. if we went down the east side. State legislatures have set standards for the percentage of their energy that is renewable. They have also set standards for what energy qualifies and, surprisingly, not all …

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Manitoba Hydro needs clean-energy image

DEAR EDITOR,

In his May 6 column, Will Yanks pay for NDP mistake?, Garland Laliberte gives the false impression that Manitoba Hydro faces no risks and no challenges when it comes to marketing and selling our power as a clean premium product in international export markets. Nothing could be further from the truth. Loss of exports harms our Manitoba customers, and we have a responsibility to be cautious to protect them.

Despite the fact that 97 per cent of Manitoba Hydro’s power is generated from carbon-free, self-renewing water power, there are currently no U.S. markets that qualify our hydro power as a renewable resource. This places Manitoba Hydro’s electricity at a disadvantage compared to other renewable energy sources, because it results in our electricity not counting toward renewable energy requirements U.S. utilities must meet by law.

The story doesn’t end there. …

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Earth Day with Maude Barlow – Thank you!

Earth Day with Maude Barlow - Thank you!

Click here to download the print-quality poster (5.5 MB, zip file of PDF)Thank-you to everyone who contributed to making EARTH DAY WITH MAUDE BARLOW a huge success. We packed the room with 200+ people in attendance. Maude got a standing ovation for her honest and inspiring presentation. People asked some great questions.

Thank-you, also, to Lynne Fernandez, of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and to Conservation Minister Bill Blaikie for raising the public level of awareness of the HEART OF THE BOREAL. This pristine wilderness on the east side of Lake Winnipeg, one of the highest conservation value forests in the world, deserves our attention on Earth Day and it will on our minds on election day, as well. Opposition leader Hugh McFadyen has made it clear …

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BFN comments on CJOB BiPole interview with Hugh McFadyen

Dear Mr. McFadyen,

The Boreal Forest Network is following the comments you made to CJOB. There are inaccuracies in your statements. I would think you are well aware that the costs of the converter stations are required on either route for BiPole 3 and that it is this cost that “doubled” the cost of construction. You are not telling the whole story here. Is this indicative of the “election desperation”, of which you speak? Or can it be that you truly are unaware of this fact?

“They’ve been telling the public now for about five years that the number was $2.2 billion. What this internal document shows is that as of more than a year a half ago they were told that the price had almost doubled to almost $4 billion, and it’s further evidence that A: this is going to be hugely costly to Manitoba families on your Hydro bills and …

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Boreal Forest Network Letter to Hugh McFadyen

Boreal Forest Network Letter to Hugh McFadyen

February 10, 2011

To: Mr. Hugh McFadyen,
Leader of the Official Opposition
Room 172 Legislative Building
450 Broadway Avenue
Winnipeg, MB. R3C 0V8

From: Susanne McCrea,
2h-91 Albert Street
Winnipeg, MB. R3B1G5
Executive Director
Boreal Forest Network

Dear Mr. McFadyen,

The Boreal Forest Network (BFN), a member organization of the international Taiga Rescue Network, has been actively involved, since the late 1980’s, in building partnerships with First Nations communities on the East side of Lake Winnipeg, with national and international non-governmental organizations and with local, national and international media outlets to highlight the need to promote and preserve one of the last remaining large intact boreal forest in the world, an area of significant outstanding, universal, cultural and natural values.

Our involvement on the East side of Lake Winnipeg, and the diverse partnerships that we have developed on this issue over these many years, has lead to a …

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East side dollars

It is important to note that a World Heritage site on the east side of Lake Winnipeg will be a huge economic boost for Manitoba. If Bipole III is constructed through the east side, we severely reduce our chance of receiving this internationally prestigious designation and consequently the best free marketing available for promoting eco and cultural tourism — two of the fastest-growing industries in the world. I point to recent examples.

UNESCO took the severe step of removing the World Heritage Site designation from Germany’s Dresden Elbe River Valley in 2009, after construction began on a four-lane bridge through the heart of the area.

In 2009, the government of Newfoundland and Labrador reversed its decision to construct a Bipole through Gross Morne National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, because they were informed that doing so could jeopardize the park’s UNESCO World Heritage Site designation.

In the spring of 2010, the B.C. …

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