Bill 61 a bar­rier to N.L. wind power

The Beacon (Gander) - - Editorial -

Dear Editor,

My name is Robin Se­ward and I am a third year B.Sc Bi­ol­ogy stu­dent at MUN, plan­ning to do my hon­ours next year fo­cus­ing on ef­fects of cli­mate change on feed­ing hor­mone ex­pres­sion in fish. I am fo­cus­ing my stud­ies pri­mar­ily on an­i­mal bi­ol­ogy as I plan on be­com­ing a vet­eri­nar­ian, but I also study a great deal of en­vi­ron­men­tal science, namely global change bi­ol­ogy.

As a re­sult of this and my love of our planet (and beau­ti­ful prov­ince), I care very deeply for the well­be­ing of our en­vi­ron­ment.

I wrote a pa­per this se­mes­ter about wind en­ergy as the fu­ture of sus­tain­able en­ergy, and I read many doc­u­ments and re­search pa­pers sug­gest­ing that wind en­ergy is not only the clean­est source of sus­tain­able en­ergy but also the cheap­est. Com­pared to so­lar en­ergy or geo­ther­mal en­ergy, wind en­ergy is the least costly and is a low-risk in­vest­ment, es­pe­cially in a prov­ince with an end­less sup­ply of wind. The im­pacts on wildlife are min­i­mal com­pared to the de­struc­tion caused by oil rigs and in­evitable oil spills that oc­cur when ex­tract­ing these fos­sil fu­els.

So my in­quiry is sim­ply what is the Gov­ern­ment of New­found­land and Labrador do­ing to as­sure that we are building a sus­tain­able fu­ture for our prov­ince?

We are a prov­ince that runs on oil and gas and that is where the money is, I un­der­stand this. Many of my friends are en­gi­neer­ing stu­dents al­ready on the path of work­ing at com­pa­nies like Exxon­Mo­bil, who de­nied cli­mate change for decades.

I want New­found­land to be my home that I am proud of, where I can take my chil­dren to one day and show them what a beau­ti­ful and clean rock in the ocean we are.

Bill 61 is where my big­gest con­cerns lie. This 2012 “An Act To Amend The Elec­tri­cal Power Con­trol Act, 1994, The En­ergy Corporation Act And The Hy­dro Corporation Act, 2007” is, of course, in place to al­low Muskrat Falls to “pro­vide to New­found­land and Labrador Hy­dro the ex­clu­sive right to sup­ply, dis­trib­ute and sell elec­tri­cal power or en­ergy to a re­tailer or an in­dus­trial cus­tomer in re­spect of the busi­ness or op­er­a­tions of that re­tailer or in­dus­trial cus­tomer on the is­land por­tion of the prov­ince.”

In a CBC ar­ti­cle from Jan­uary 2017, a pHd can­di­date from Water­loo Univer­sity named Nick Mer­cer ex­plained how this Bill 61 is the po­lit­i­cal bar­rier to our prov­ince de­vel­op­ing wind en­ergy, as we are ranked last in the coun­try for devel­op­ment de­spite hav­ing the high­est po­ten­tial.

We have the re­searchers who are pas­sion­ate about de­vel­op­ing eco­nom­i­cally and en­vi­ron­men­tally sus­tain­able sources of en­ergy, and I know for a fact I am not alone in my de­sire to re­spect our planet rather than use and abuse it. Choos­ing the en­vi­ron­ment over be­ing rich is not only the self­less thing to do, but the re­spon­si­ble one if we want New­found­land to be a place where peo­ple cher­ish liv­ing for cen­turies to come.

I sin­cerely ap­pre­ci­ate you tak­ing the time to read this and hear the opin­ion of a young adult who wants to see New­found­land thrive for years to come. Voic­ing an opin­ion is the first step to change.

Robin Se­ward St. John’s

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