(Almost) All the News
On Tuesday, VOCM's website carried this story about Our Dear Energy Plan:
VOCM's news stories are subject to change throughout the day, which might account for the somewhat unusual headline. "Mixed reaction" appears over a story that contains almost entirely glowing quotes about Our Dear Energy Plan. Apart from the opposition party quotes, the only other slightly sour note was the Sierra Club paragraph, added in a later iteration of the piece.
Mixed Reaction to Energy Plan
September 12, 2007
Oil industry executives say not all companies will like it, but at least now they know the rules to play the game in Newfoundland and Labrador. The corridors of companies in Calgary and New York were abuzz with talk as the province unveiled its new Energy Plan. It includes the promise of a 10 per cent equity stake in all future oil and gas developments, as well as a new royalty regime. Paul Barnes of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers says it's possible the larger equity stake may scare away some investors. However, Premier Danny Williams says a 10 per cent equity stake is in line with industry standards.
The plan also outlines government's intention to build a transmission line from Labrador to the island to carry power from the Lower Churchill project.
Liberal Leader Gerry Reid says the document should have been called a discussion paper rather than a plan. He says it's nothing more than a collection of rehashed government news releases, past campaign promises and heaps of political cliches. Liberal candidate Simon Lono says the plan lacks a time frame, benchmarks and a cost structure. He says the plan produces more questions than answers and provides no stability for the industry.
NDP Leader Lorraine Michael says while she likes a lot of the ideas in the plan, it's lacking detail, especially when it comes to regional economic development. Michael says the plan is so focused on the mega energy projects, that it lacks detail on the rest.
Reaction from the local business community is positive. NOIA president Bob Caddigan is hoping the plan will get the ball rolling on various matters. Jerry Byrne of DF Barnes says he's very excited. He says there are lots of opportunities for companies like his. St. John's Board of Trade president Cathy Bennett liked what she heard. She says companies within St. John's and beyond will benefit. She was excited to hear the plans to create an electricity link from Labrador to the island to provide clean energy from the Lower Churchill. She says that will have a huge impact on industry.
The president of Municipalities Newfoundland and Labrador is applauding the plan. Wayne Ruth says he would also like to see monies allocated to retrofit municipal buildings, arenas and swimming pools. Ruth says energy efficient buildings would mean less stress on municipal budgets, better facilities and the savings could address some of the infrastructure deficit. Ruth says MLN looks forward to being a part of the Energy Plan.
The Sierra Club of Canada is pleased with the province's new Energy Plan, but says gaps remain. The group says they are encouraged to see commitments to advancing non-hydro renewable energy development and the establishment of an Energy Conservation and Efficiency Partnership. Still spokesperson Nick Burnaby says they were expecting more specifics on energy efficiency and conservation programs. Burnaby says the Sierra Club also was looking for more focus on energy sources other than oil and gas. He says they would have liked to see more in-depth analysis on some of the other options available like wind power. Burnaby says they also wanted to see more focus on how the province is going to meet greenhouse gas emission targets.
The reaction story was, however, decidedly more mixed before the VOCM news or website team removed the paragraph that used to stand in the location marked "[*]". For the interests of posterity, that paragraph read as follows:
Labrador Metis Nation president Chris Montague is disappointed with the energy plan. Montague says it is great for the island but doesn't do anything for Labrador. He says all the profits go to St. John's from the resources and all the hiring and decisions are made elsewhere.