LETTERS: Protect Williams Lake’s air quality

I am writing to express my profound objection to your government’s decision to allow 50 per cent burning of railway ties.

  • Nov. 15, 2016 3:00 p.m.

Editor:

An open letter to Premier Christy Clark.

I am writing to express my profound objection to your government’s decision to allow 50 per cent burning of railway ties as biofuel in Atlantic Power Corporation’s Williams Lake Energy Plant.

Permit 8808, which allows an increase in the volume of rail ties Atlantic Power Corporation is allowed to burn from five per cent to 50 per cent, essentially repurposes Williams Lake Energy Plant from a facility designed to improve air quality to a facility that will add significant toxins to the environment.

This is completely unacceptable.

The Williams Lake Energy Plant was built in 1993 to generate electricity by burning waste wood from local sawmills by replacing bee-hive burners that were polluting the air in Williams Lake.

As a result air quality improved immeasurably.

The excuse Atlantic Power Corporation is using to burn railway ties is the anticipated drop in the annual allowable cut that will see a curtailment in sawmill production and a reduction of clean mill waste to fuel the energy plant.

Importing, processing and burning up to 4.3 million railway ties per year in Williams Lake to meet the needs of Williams Lake Energy Plant is not necessary.

There is abundant, clean residual wood fibre available in the Cariboo region to supply the needs of the energy plant without importing and burning excessive amounts of toxic material in our environment.

Madam Premier, please rescind Permit 8808 and do not allow Atlantic Power Corporation to burn 50 per cent of its biofuel as railway ties. Make burning clean residual wood fibre mandatory.

Use your power as premier to make burning clean residual wood fibre affordable for Atlantic Power Corporation by directing BC Hydro to pay a higher Energy Purchase Agreement rate to support the extra costs.

Please protect Williams Lake’s already compromised air quality. Residents of Williams Lake do not want a cocktail of new poisons introduced into our environment that will come from the importing, processing and burning excessive numbers of railway ties soaked in creosote and pentachloraphenal preservatives.

Sage Birchwater

Williams Lake