Manitoba Government Indicates Support of Energy East Pipeline

 

April 11, 2015 David Nickarz at Our Risk Their Reward talk at Fort Garry Hotel.
April 11, 2015 David Nickarz at Our Risk Their Reward talk at Fort Garry Hotel.

News Release – Monday, January 11, 2016 – Winnipeg

On Friday the Selinger government signalled their support of the proposed Energy East pipeline after staying silent for so long,” said David Nickarz, Green Party Candidate for Wolseley and Advocate for Conservation and Water Stewardship.

“The proposed Energy East pipeline will allow a 40% expansion of the Alberta Tar sands at a time when the world has agreed to reduce greenhouse gasses. Energy East would see more than one million barrels per day flowing through a decades old pipeline–this represents more greenhouse gas emissions than Manitoba’s entire economy puts out every year,” said Nickarz.

On Friday, January 8 a memorandum of understanding was announced between the Notley and Selinger governments, involving the sale of hydroelectricity from Manitoba to Alberta, and includes a reference to Energy East:

“. . . Working together we have an opportunity to build on our shared goals. Alberta’s climate leadership plan places the conversation on Energy East in an improved context as the country moves toward a low-carbon future.”

The government news release is vaguely worded but is widely seen in the climate activist community as a clear signal that the proposed Energy East pipeline has the full support of the Selinger government.

“I would like to hear from MLA Rob Altemeyer on this issue. Mr. Altemeyer has been quite vocal about his government’s green initiatives but silent when it comes to the very real threat to our climate posed by the expansion of the Alberta tar sands,” said Nickarz.

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CONTACT:
David Nickarz, Green Party Candidate for Wolseley
Party Advocate for Conservation and Water Stewardship
204-430-0568

Lake Winnipeg – Phosphorus and Hydro

By David Nickarz

For Earth Day I attended the talk Beyond us and them: A collaborative conversation about Lake Winnipeg.  It took place at St. Mary’s Road United Church and was put on by the Lake Winnipeg Foundation (LWF).

The bottom line is that Lake Winnipeg is in serious trouble.  It’s getting too much Phosphorus from a number of sources.  Too much phosphorus leads to algae blooms, which then die and use up the oxygen in the water, which other animals rely on to live.  If enough oxygen is used up then the lake will no longer support aquatic life.   This is a real possibility in the near future if we don’t reduce the phosphorus going into the lake from all sources.

The watershed for Lake Winnipeg includes not only Manitoba but Alberta, Saskatchewan and Southwestern Ontario; and four states.  The major sources of phosphorus are “solid waste” (poop) from livestock and humans, agricultural and lawn fertiliser, and from cleaning products.

Increased rainfall in Manitoba from global warming causes more flooding events, which helps wash nutrients into the lake.  The Lake is also used as a massive hydroelectric reservoir.  Lake and wetland levels are kept too high throughout the year, and this causes even more problems.

The bottom line is that Lake Winnipeg is close to being ruined.  We have to start solving the problem now and there are a few places to start.

Solutions

We need to regulate hog barns and other factory farms.  A town of 5000 people has to have a sewage treatment plant, but somehow a livestock operation of 5000 hogs doesn’t.  Agricultural and lawn fertilisers need to be restricted somehow.  Winnipeg’s sewage treatment is a source as well.

I helped to install a composting toilet in a home a couple of years ago.  That means much less nutrients coming from that household which ultimately ends up contributing to the problem in Lake Winnipeg.  One house makes a small difference, but what if we did it for ten thousand households?

The Boreal Forest also helps to take up the nutrients and so do wetlands.  Cattails can be grown to take up the excess nutrients.  Cattails can also be used to make fuel pellets.  The Fort Whyte Centre uses cattail fuel pellets to heat their facility during the winter.

There are many things you can do yourself.  Learn more at www.lakewinnipegfoundation.org

The Lake Winnipeg Foundation also does classroom presentations.

No Energy East Pipeline Mr. Selinger

April 11, 2015 David Nickarz at Our Risk Their Reward talk at Fort Garry Hotel.
April 11, 2015 David Nickarz at Our Risk Their Reward talk at Fort Garry Hotel.

In a recent Climate Action Network Canada poll 61% of Canadians agree or strongly agree that protecting the climate is more important than building the Energy East pipeline.  In Manitoba it’s 78%.  On the other hand, Manitoba’s Premier Greg Selinger says Manitoba is “very supportive of moving western Canadian crude into Central Canada and the Atlantic provinces…”

Does Mr. Selinger mean his NDP government or the people of Manitoba?
The Selinger government plans to issue building permits and sell discount rate hydro power for the pumping stations that will transport dirty tar sands bitumen across Manitoba.

Wolseley MLA Rob Altemeyer showed up at the Maude Barlow Energy East: Our Risk, Their Reward event at the Fort Garry Hotel on Saturday, April 11.  I asked him what he would do to oppose the pipeline.  He told me that he would certainly be raising some concerns, and that he was at the talk to learn more about the issue.

However, when the speakers started, Altemeyer left.

Wolseley MLA Rob Altemeyer is joining our Premier in Quebec for a Premiers’ meeting to discuss the pipeline and other environmental issues.  I predict Greg Selinger will come back from the Premier’s conference with talking points supporting the pipeline.  He will say the pipeline project is safe and that there is a review process in place to address public concerns.

David Nickarz and Leader James Beddome at the Energy East - Our Risk, Their Reward talk at the Fort Garry Hotel, April 11, 2015.
David Nickarz and Leader James Beddome at the Energy East – Our Risk, Their Reward talk at the Fort Garry Hotel, April 11, 2015.

He will be wrong on both counts.  A 40 year old natural gas line will be reused to pump tar sands bitumen.  There will be a spill, we just have to wait and see where and how much.  Also the National Energy Board (NEB) is tasked to review projects that cross provincial boundaries, is little more than a rubber stamp to the project, directed by Stephen Harper.  There is so much more wrong with this pipeline, I could go on for quite some time.

As the Green Party candidate for Wolseley, I join with 78% of Manitobans who want the Energy East pipeline shut down.  Our climate and water is worth much more than the dirty oil from the tar sands flowing across our province.  Our NDP government shouldn’t be issuing building permits and supplying subsidised hydro power to the Energy East Pipeline, with no environmental review and with no thought to what tar sands oil is doing to our climate.