Posted: April 30th, 2012
In speaking to Bill 30, the Energy and Mines Statutes Amendment Act, Nelson-Creston MLA Michelle Mungall declared victory for the Kootenays’ fight against the Liberals’ private power scheme. The Bill, introduced by the Liberals, makes changes to the Clean Energy Act and removes the concept of self-sufficiency for hydroelectric energy in British Columbia.
Since the self-sufficiency aspect of the Liberals’ original legislation merely resulted in BC Hydro buying private power at inflated prices and selling below cost, the Liberals had to admit that they could no longer continue the scheme that saw considerable profits for some of their donors.
“This is a day where I have to say that people in my constituency feel quite vindicated for everything that we said in 2009 about the private power projects and how wrong they were for British Columbia in terms of our economy, the financial aspect and the environmental component of these deals,” said Mungall in her response to the bill.
In 2009 the AXOR Corporation sought an Environmental Assessment Certificate for a private power project on Glacier and Howser Creeks. Kootenay residents showed overwhelming opposition to the project which would divert water into 16 kilometers of tunnel dug out of the mountainside to generate power, putting the landscape and wildlife at great environmental risk.
Because of the Clean Energy Act, B.C. Hydro would be forced into paying above market value for that private power only to turn around and sell it at a loss. The system, in the guise of creating self-sufficiency for the province, made no economic sense.
“Our voices were heard, and we stopped that project; we find that we did the very right thing,” noted Mungall. “We appreciate that the Liberals have finally recognized that we, the people know what was best for our region.”