The decision by the Ministry of Environment to allow Atlantic Power to increase the amount of rail ties to 50 per cent of their fuel supply is fast approaching.
The pressure is on all of us to advocate for limiting the pollutants in not only our air shed but the complete biome (air, water, soil) but as well to advocate for our local economy and community.
This permit affects not only the environment but the economy, both of which have an effect not only on the health and well being of individuals but of the community as a whole.
All of us, no matter if we live in town or out of town, depend on toxin free air, adequate supply of clean water, soil that is not leaching toxins into the groundwater and fugitive dust blowing in the wind.
Allowing Atlantic Power to forgo the huge amounts of forestry road side logging debris for toxic rail ties will adversely affect the economic well being of the community.
It will cast a negative pall on the community and no matter what the company tells us or even if the Ministry of Environment allows this permit the stain will stick.
How many potential retirees, young families locked out of the Lower Mainland, doctors and other skilled workers will not locate here because of rail ties.
How many possible logging/trucking jobs will not be utilized cleaning up the huge amount of road side logging debris and beetle killed wood because Atlantic Power can make huge money in tipping fees disposing of rail ties?
It was very clear at last week’s information meeting that confidence in the government to protect our interests is nonexistent and rightly so for attendance at the meeting by elected officials was less than sparse.
It was even more clear that there was no trust in corporations which is exactly what we keep hearing from Atlantic Power.
“Trust us, our employees live here and are experts, they have families…”
We as a community need to take a hard look and decide if the short term profits to Atlantic Power are worth the legacy we will have to endure long after the Williams Lake Power Plant has ceased to be, when the community no longer collects the taxes, for the consequences to us will be long lived in the ash pile, the loss of jobs and ill health of all of us.