"We can't allow things that are inaccurate to stand." — The Word of Our Dan, February 19, 2008.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Set a new course: zero degrees to starboard

The usually much-better informed Burf Ploughman makes a strange claim in his letter published in the Telegram on Tuesday:
Rob Antle's previous article on this project — which made public for the first time that the government of Newfoundland and Labrador had made a submission to the joint panel last November expressing concern that the panel was basing their assessment on the Quebec version of the boundary — possibly triggered the panel's decision to change course and base it on the 1927 privy council decision.
The panel decided no such thing, and the panel changed no such course. The panel in question – Quebec’s Bureau d’audiences publiques sur l’environnement — was assessing the La Romaine project, which is entirely within the boundaries of Quebec as laid down in 1927, all along.

Just so everyone’s on the same page — and goodness know some people were not on that page — the La Romaine project is entirely within Quebec. Full stop.

BAPE assessed the La Romaine project, a project which is — are you getting this, camera guy? — entirely within Quebec. This means, by necessary implication, that none of the La Romaine project is within Labrador. In fact, the location of the proposed transmission lines, and the choice of dam height and reservoir elevation for La Romaine 4, the uppermost of the four proposed stations, are yet more examples on a growing, eight-decade list of Quebec’s de facto acceptance of the Labrador boundary decision of 1927.

You can add the BAPE process itself to that list. A Quebec government regulatory body declines to consider the putative environmental impacts upstream and across the border in Labrador, even when one of the parties to the BAPE process asks the Bureau to effectively ignore the boundary and do just that.

And which party was that? No, not la Société Saint-Jean-Baptiste. Not le Parti québécois or le Bloc québécois. Not Pierrette Venne.

Nope. That party would be the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador:
Newfoundland and Labrador cannot understand the justification for limiting the study area to Québec when there may well be adverse environmental effects in Newfoundland and Labrador, as discussed in greater detail below. Potential adverse environmental effects in Newfoundland and Labrador are just as relevant for consideration as any that may occur within Québec and must be thoroughly examined during the environmental assessment process. The limitation of the study area appears to be an arbitrary decision.
(As opposed, of course, to the entirely non-arbitrary positions taken on environmental matters related to the assessment of the so-called Lower Churchill project and the outstarve line, right?)

The limitation of the study area seems to have been based, in large part, on the footprint of the La Romaine project — which is, in case you’re just joining us, entirely within Quebec — along with that portion of the La Romaine watershed which is either south of 52 north latitude, or on the west bank of the main branch of the river. In other words, the study area is based on the 1927 boundaries of Quebec, and was based on them all along.

Rob Antle, bless his furry little heart and his yeoman’s service to the dark arts of journalism, had nothing to do with BAPE changing course, not for the least of reasons that they didn’t actually change course.

Par contre, what the Telegram (and other outlets) failed to do, utterly and completely, was to highlight the obvious implications of the province’s policy positions.

First, that the provincial government asked a Quebec and federal government panel to ignore the Labrador boundary and assess environmental impacts within Labrador. (Imagine, for a second, if you can stomach the thought, the reaction if the Quebec government demanded the same thing, in reverse, in respect of the environmental assessment of Our Dear Lower Churchill and Our Dear Transmission Line.)

And that they proposed geographical parameters for the putative environmental effects of the La Romaine project which far exceed the limits that they would ever concede for Our Dear Lower Churchill.

Not only that, but when the proponent Hydro-Québec, much to its chagrin, was compelled to issue a press release re-stating a fact which is obvious to anyone who can read a map, namely, that the La Romaine project — are you sitting down? — is entirely within the boundaries of Quebec, one of Antle’s colleagues blew a gasket.



At 3:29 AM, March 12, 2009 , Blogger George said...

I'm just afraid that the Churchill project, long delayed, will cost the most to the people of Labrador who should have been the first beneficiaries to lines of power that would have seen diesel generation of electricity halted and electricity rates drop.
Time is fast running out on Churchill and that's why I think Quebec started the Romaine River projects in the first place; that they're just sick and tired of trying to deal with the province in the first place. That's the important message that has yet to be conferred to the people in Labrador let alone the island portion of the province.
In the end, we are all being had, big time!

At 11:32 AM, March 12, 2009 , Blogger WJM said...

Time is fast running out on Churchill

Right premise, wrong choice of verb tense! ;)

At 12:51 PM, March 12, 2009 , Blogger Winston Smith said...

There are rumours that DW is going to use a cutting-edge American technology to speed up construction of the Dunnel, which will rival its Anglo-French counterpart when work is completed during the next polling season.

Reports from the States indicate that this new technology is well suited to the needs of Dangovt:


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