Ruined fishing camp and debris at Split Lake. Photo credit: Whitney Light.
Manitoba celebrates the “clean energy” that comes from Manitoba Hydro’s damn systems in the province’s North. But to call this energy “clean” is a misnomer.
MEJC members recently participated in a tour of northern communities affected by Hydro projects. We heard harrowing accounts of how dams changed landscapes and the lives of those living on them. While it’s common knowledge that flooding at the time of dam construction alters or destroys ecosystems, many would be shocked to learn how environmental destruction continues to impact lands and lives in Manitoba’s North.
In the 1970s, commercial fisheries at Grand Rapids and Norway House that each used to sustain 1,000 fishermen can now barely support 100 because of how the ever-changing water levels effect fish breeding.
In South Indian Lake, locals described how the lake rose 21 feet in 23 days this spring, damaging boats and docks and killing wildlife.
On Playgreen Lake near Norway House, and at, Split and South Indian lakes, we saw miles of eroding shoreline. Due to unnaturally fluctuating water levels, banks erode and trees fall in, creating hazards and increasing C02 levels from the rotting wood.
As Manitobans we should be proud that our electricity production does not come from burning fossil fuels. At the same time, we cannot be careless about our energy production. The last dam Manitoba Hydro built (Wuskwatim Generating Station, on the Burntwood River) currently produces energy at 13 cents that it can only sell for 3 cents, demonstrating that there is no market for more energy production.
Yet Hydro is building more dams. While increasing our rates.
We have the opportunity to make a difference! Hydro must follow its licences around how much it can raise and lower water levels annually. Hydro regularly ignores these guidelines using an annually renewed augmented flow program, to the detriment of all, and, sadly, with the permission of our government. Manitoba Hydro is a crown corporation, which makes it OUR company and OUR responsibility to hold them accountable. We must ensure that the energy we enjoy is produced in a conscientious and sustainable way.
Join us in the fight for Energy Justice in Manitoba. Let’s make sure our electricity has low monetary, social AND environmental costs!
WINNIPEG – With today’s budget from the new Manitoba Government, it is becoming increasingly apparent that the Progressive Conservatives are going to dither rather than take decisive action to address climate change. The Manitoba Energy Justice Coalition (MEJC) expressed concern that mitigating and adapting to climate change was not a central theme of the throne speech despite Canada’s recent commitments to urgently address climate change at COP21 in Paris this past December; and the terrifying outbreak of forest fires across the boreal forest in western Canada this spring.Read more
If our province has any hope of achieving carbon neutrality by 2080, it will require some backbone; something the embattled provincial NDP is lacking since the fallout from raising the PST. It will require standing up to industries that have to produce emissions to survive. It will require channelling the populist roots of the New Democratic Party/Co-operative Commonwealth Federation.Read more
On May 7th we got together with the Wilderness Committee and Manitoba Wildlands to demand answers from the Provincial Government and Manitoba Hydro concerning their public silence on Energy East. Manitoba Hydro's business plan was relying on pipeline expansion to fund new dam development. We wanted to know what Manitoba was basing its renewable energy off funding dirty fossil fuels. You can read more here in the Winnipeg Sun.
This Briefing was sent to the Manitoba Government and the International Institute for Sustainable Development as part of the consultation process which lead to the Manitoba's Climate Change Plan released on Dec 3, 2015.
Our climate crisis is urgent. In many ways, the conversation in Manitoba and Canada to date has consisted of attempts to rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic, rather than re-orienting the ship. We need a comprehensive plan to lead Manitoba and Canada into the low-carbon economy that we all agree we need. Doing so means finally confronting the main driver of our energy system and climate change: the extraction and burning of fossil fuels. In Alberta, the Arctic, and even Southwestern Manitoba, we are still investing in fossil fuel extraction and exploration. Science tells us 75-85% of our proven reserves has to stay in the ground, and we need to start acting as if we believe it.