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Senator Banks, as Chair of the Environment Committee, has for years been calling for increased data collection to help manage our water resources. "We know that there's a water problem," he says. "But we don't have the essential facts. Without the facts, we can't solve the problem." Stunning is the word he uses to describe the sorry situation. Quite simply, "our government can't give Canadians a report on the state of Canada's water supply."
The situation is getting worse. Not only has the federal government ignored warnings on what many call a looming water crisis, it has also radically reduced funding for the Canadian Wildlife Service. Roughly 80% of the budget for monitoring wildlife has been slashed. In addition, BIOCAP has had to disband because the federal government has withdrawn its support. If this trend continues, we'll soon lose all credibility for environmental management. In effect we'll have veered wildly from a science-based system to one that is run on faith alone ... faith that we know what we're doing, without any grounding in observational data whatsoever. It surely does nothing to improve the trust factor when trying to gauge whether the current administration's conversion to green policies is sincere.
Posted On Sep 26 06:52PM
Here's a link to a blog on Harper's involvement in the GNEP. It may well be more than you want to know. It starts out as follows:
A few weeks before Stephen Harper went to the APEC meeting in Australia, ready to discuss George Bush’s Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP), the Energy Alberta Corporation (EAC) in consort with AECL announced its plan to build two Advanced Candu Reactors (ACRs) near Peace River, Alberta. Harper, EAC’s Wayne Henuset and AECL’s mandarins won’t want the public to connect the dots too quickly. Harper’s minority government might not weather a heated controversy over Canada importing nuclear wastes while having a huge unsolved nuclear waste problem of its own. That controversy erupted in the Australian election campaign after the Howard government indicated it would consider buying into Bush’s plan to have supplier countries take back and reprocess spent fuel.
Posted On Sep 26 05:05PM
Posted On Sep 26 01:33PM
Incidently, here's an article about how Frances nuclear plants had reduced capacity during its 2003 heat wave, because some of them did not have enough water for cooling. So not the best solution for when we get hotter and drier, eh?
Posted On Sep 26 01:18PM
There is more than one concern about water; the idea of diverting it from northern Alberta to the south has been around for decades and it is a concern.
But also, there are the people who want to build nuclear plants in northern Alberta. I think one major reason for this is because nuclear reactors need a lot of water to cool them. So instead of us sending water to the US, maybe they want to build the nuclear plants in Alberta so we can send power to the US. No doubt we would also end up storing the nuclear waste in Alberta or Saskatchewan, since Stephen Harper is involved with GNEP, which I believe says the countries which produce uranium should be required to take back the waste other countries have produced after buying our uranium.
So we should not allow any nuclear development without more knowledge of the environmental effects; as you say, we don't know enough about our water supply, so how could we know if we can handle nuclear plants? And then there is the additional effect of the heated water being dumped back into the environment, and then the storage of other nuclear wastes perhaps poisoning the water and the people nearby.
It's bad enough that the oil sands operations appear to be killing people in Fort Chipewyan now; we don't need to add to that.
Posted On Sep 26 12:25PM
I recently heard that a Senator from Montana was in AB to voice oppostion against oil development in Fernie. The project has the potential to harm fresh water resources that run into Montana. The company and Montana could not come to an agreement.
My concern is twofold, not only of our own shortage issues but the issue of Canadain water feeding into the US. We need do define ourselves on this issue in many ways. Ignoring it it will not make if go away.