To the editor:
Every time someone mentions the words “run-of-river” in this province, busloads of so-called environmentalists conveniently show up waving placards and chanting angrily.
So, why doesn’t the same uproar occur when a new gravel pit opens?
There are about 50 run-of-river projects operating in this province, but there are nearly 1,700 gravel pits, and they have a much larger environmental footprint than run-of-river projects.
Gravel pits are also very noisy with lots of traffic coming and going. They generate a considerable amount of green house gas (GHG) emissions during various moving, sorting and crushing processes. They also consume a considerable amount of water if the gravel needs to be washed.
Run-of-river projects, on the other hand, are virtually silent and rarely attract any vehicle traffic once their construction is complete. They do not create GHG emissions, and every drop of water used to generate clean electricity is returned in its entirety to the river it came from.
And unlike gravel (a non-renewable resource that requires new gravel pits to be created every year to meet demand), the water used by a run-of-river facility is endlessly renewable.
So, where are the organized busloads of so-called environmentalists when new gravel pits are opened? Gravel pits are obviously more disruptive and more plentiful than run-of-river facilities.
More to the point: What is the real agenda of the so-called environmentalists who never fail to rush in to oppose private sector run-of-river projects? Could it simply be because these projects are operated by the private rather than the public sector?