Solid Waste & Recycling


Monday musings: Power Plants, Wind Farms and Wars….

Canmore, Alberta
Monday, September 20, 2010
The environmentalists want clean water, clean air and the world to run on renewable resources.
In Alberta the words “Dirty Oil” have captured the agenda and have become the rally cry of opposition to the huge resource. The words are not only being heard in Canada, but the propaganda is being generated world-wide as a rallying cry to curtail development of the massive inventory of oil contained in Northern Alberta. In my case with the Adams Mine landfill in Northern Ontario, the rally cry was “the pit leaks”. In many cases these simplistic slogans by the opposition set the stage for the propaganda to follow.
Currently in Ontario one of the most explosive controversies revolves around the location of new natural gas power plants in York Region and in Peel Region. The Liberal government of Dalton McGuinty has tried to make environmental sustainability in energy a byword of their mandate. Has it worked? Not really!
Promises to close and eliminate the coal-fired power plants in Ontario have come and gone. In an effort to fast track the massive investment McGuinty has proposed in generating energy from wind, the Liberal’s new Green Energy Act has provided short cuts to obtaining environmental approvals for siting facilities.
And it’s not working. Public pressure is causing McGuinty to backtrack on siting of turbines in Lake Ontario. It looks like a new off-shore regulation will force developers to locate the farms so far off shore that these projects may not be economical. The power plants proposed by Trans Canada in Mississauga, and Calgary’s Pristine Power in King Township, are under huge attack. Robert Benzie and Rob Ferguson of the Toronto Star report this morning that the Annual Report by Ontario’s Environment Commissioner will raise serious questions about the McGuinty Government’s rush to be seen as environmental advocates. Specifically, the exemptions from portions of the Environmental Assessment Act are of great concern.
Why isn’t it working? Governments today continue to try and be all things to all people when it comes to the environment. It cannot happen. The reality is that opposition to projects of any kind today are highly organized, well funded and conducted by intelligent and resourceful individuals. Their efforts are not confined to a single rally; the campaigns (and that is what they are) are ruthless and effective. Siting of facilities, many of great benefit to the environment, have become “Wars”. And, as in many wars there is no middle ground, it becomes simply a win or lose proposition. The problem is most governments do not have the courage of their convictions, and will cave in to the opposition.
We need to understand the political dynamics up front. We need to understand that, as a proponent, you can do everything right. You can prove your facility is safe, you can meet all the requirements of the Ministry of Environment approval process, you can have independent peer review state that your project is acceptable and you can have the support of local municipalities and their councils, as was the case with the Adams Mine. BUT, unless you understand and are prepared early to fight the war that will accompany the approval process, you may still lose.
I fought a 14 year war. I lost a few skirmishes, but won all the major battles. Then the McGuinty Government, the same one now trying to be an environmental advocate, dropped an atomic bomb on the Adams Mine Landfill and the Rail Haul North Waste Management System destroying the best solution for waste disposal in Ontario. Thank God for Michigan.
More on this very important issue later.
I want to make my experiences of value to others. I am developing a workshop on the “Lessons Learned” – How to Win the War !
Hey! Remember my “Ford Factor” Blog three weeks ago? Rob Ford is up by 24 points in the race for Mayor of the City of Toronto. Change is coming, stay tuned!
TRASHED! How Political Garbage Made the United States Canada’s Largest Dump

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