Elmer's English 304 Magazine
Sumas Power Plant
November 2, 2000
Editor, The Ubyssey
Room 241K, Student Union Building
6138 Student Union Boulevard
Vancouver, B.C., V6T 1Z1
During an election, politicians often inundate us with rhetoric and vague generalities about issues. So let's look at something concrete, like the plan to build a new power plant just south of the B.C.-Washington border.
I am opposed to Sumas Energy's plans to build a new gas-fired power plant in Sumas, Washington. The plant will burn natural gas imported from Canada to produce electricity. Wastewater used to cool the exhaust gases will be exported to Canada, to be treated in Abbotsford and dumped into the already polluted Fraser River. The plant will disgorge undetermined amounts of oxides of nitrogen into the air. The prevailing southwest winds will blow the noxious air emissions across the border - located conveniently one mile away - adding to the high levels of smog in the upper Fraser Valley. Fish in the Fraser River and Canadian people will suffer.
I am appalled that the Minister of the Environment David Anderson, and predecessors such as Christine Stewart did not stop the project. Anderson, who was also the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, should know better. He is a long time environmentalist and resident of B.C. At one time, he was even on the executive of the B.C. Steelhead Society. As a prominent member of the Federal Cabinet since his election in 1993, he has every opportunity to act.
The B.C. Government is also to blame. Joan Sawicki, the Minister of Environment, Lands and Parks, has worked as a consultant dealing with land-use issues that the Sumas power plant presents. Yet neither she nor her predecessor, Cathy McGregor, stopped the project. The M.L.A.s in the N.D.P. Government talk about a "Green Economy." Why do they just talk? Why do they not act?
Prime Minister Jean Chretien, too, loves to talk. Chretien talks: fight, fight, and fight! How many times have we seen him since he called the election, standing on a podium - fists clenched - talking fight? Well let's take a look at our "street fighter's" record. With Paul Martin, he beat up on Canada's poor, sick, aged, children and disadvantaged. With the help of Anderson, he beat up on the environment. Like most street fighters, Chretien is a coward at heart.