Petition Seeks Moratorium on Nanticoke Nuclear Proposal

For immediate release: November 18, 2008

Grand Erie Energy Quest, a grassroots group of concerned residents of Haldimand and Norfolk Counties, is launching a petition requesting a moratorium on nuclear development in Nanticoke, Ontario.

Without any formal public consultation, the Municipal Councils of Haldimand and Norfolk Counties have endorsed a Bruce Power proposal for an Environmental Assessment. Resolutions passed by both councils in the spring of 2007 have supported the first stage in Bruce’s proposal to build two nuclear reactors at Nanticoke.

The group’s petition requests that there be a complete moratorium on nuclear development until the issues of contamination, costs, security, and public consultation are adequately addressed.

The lack of public consultation by local municipalities is one of the main points addressed by the petition. Haldimand Council has refused three times to approve a citizen’s delegation regarding concerns about the nuclear proposal.

In addition to the problem of a lack of public input, citizens’ worries revolve around issues such as radioactive waste, cost overruns, social and biotic impact. Some residents feel that competitive alternatives to nuclear power have not been adequately addressed or explored by local political leaders.

“A big concern is that we feel that we’ve been completely left out of a decision-making process that will affect not only our own lives but the lives of our grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren,” said Jim Elve, one of the authors of the petition. “Now that Bruce Power has committed $30 million to the first stage of construction, the snowball is rolling downhill and it won’t be easy to stop.”

Copies of the petition will be available for signing at MPP Toby Barrett’s Energy Symposium in Jarvis this Thursday evening, November 20th.

– 30 –
For more information contact:

Grand Erie Energy Quest
Jim Elve – 519-443-8085 – P.O. Box 490, Waterford, ON N0E 1Y0 – email: jelve(at)jelve(dot)com
http://www.energyquest4nanticoke.ca

Nuclear Option for Nanticoke Moving Full Speed Ahead

Bruce Power is pushing forward with a request for a site preparation license to begin construction of a new nuclear plant with two reactors to be located next door to the existing Nanticoke coal-fired generating station. The application for a license will automatically trigger an Environmental Assessment (EA). Bruce Power is prepared to invest $30 million into the 3-year assessment process.

Haldimand blogger Donna Pitcher has been following the developments with interest and has a good blog post today.

Haldimand Council over the past two years has taken their time as our “elected representatives” to meet with MP Diane Finley and Bruce Power but has denied us the residents our right to have our say! We were told it was premature. Now if I am not mistaken when council is together as a “whole” this is “official” business?

When I was asked about what Haldimand County Council could have done differently, I didn’t have a problem with a list of things they could have done to inform us and then ultimately ask us if we would join them (Council) in announcing that “We are a Willing Host”. I am sure that some of you could come up with more suggestions for council.

Here are a few things that could have been done;

Public Announcements! Every week Haldimand County has an ad in “every” local paper that is paid by our tax dollars!

Public Meetings! Haldimand County has public meetings in chambers on a regular basis in regards to “Development”, it is part of the process, is this not a major development?

Town Hall Meetings; Each council member could have taken the time to have their own town hall meetings, after all some did promise that if they were elected they would do this anyway!

An Insert in Our Tax Bills! This is a very cost effective way to inform the residents. Our tax bills are already sent out on a regular basis. Some of us even get them more often then others! One of these inserts could have been a simple “Ballot type Question“.

Now as we all are aware none of the above has taken place. Why? Well up until this news article came out I would have said that council didn’t want to hear what we had to say, but it seems that it is much deeper than that!

It looks like we have been given a “one way ticket“. All thanks to our duly elected Municipal Council Members!

Haldimand Council has a reputation for not listening to the local residents it purports to represent. Recently, there was a controversy over the sale of Haldimand Hydro without adequate consultation with stakeholders. Indeed, Donna’s blog was created just to address the lack of consultation by her elected representatives.

Norfolk Council has a similar problem and is facing a backlash over a decision to sell a major municipal asset, the Port Dover marina.

Both municipal councils have been courted by Bruce Power and Bruce has lobbied and hosted tours of its Kincardine facility. Negotiations have been obviously proceeding apace behind closed doors while citizens have been silenced.Donna Pitcher points us to a very informative article in the Dunnville Chronicle.

“We’ve always been told by the province that there wouldn’t be a nuclear facility built if a community was not a willing host,” said (Haldimand Councillor Buck) Sloat.

“We feel we are a willing host and the environmental assessment process will prove it one way or another,” he The county will have an opportunity for giving input but will have no decision making role.”

Huh? He feels we are a willing host? As Donna pointed out above, there are many ways our municipal councils could have attempted to determine just how much support the nuclear option enjoys. After doing no consultation whatsoever, we have our elected representatives determining the future of our region based on how they feel about it.

It’s not like residents opposed to the nuclear plant have not attempted to make their concerns heard. Cayuga resident Janet Fraser made three formal applications to appear before Haldimand Council to talk about the drawbacks of nuclear development. at eachj juncture, Janet was denied her application to make a citizen’s delegation to council. Finally, she was informed that her request was “premature.”

The big fiction here is that we citizens will get our say during the EA. Too late. If Bruce has decided it’s worth spending $30 million and applying for a license, the snowball is already rolling downhill. Local residents were denied a voice in the decision, so far. Local councils have ridden roughshod over the democratic process and had no mandate to endorse nuclear investment in Nanticoke without first determining that there is a “willing host” community.

Along with Janet Fraser and a few other concerned Haldimand and Norfolk county residents, I have been involved with a grassroots group called Grand Erie Energy Quest. We have a website where we’ve posted literally hundreds of articles and links on matters concerning nuclear development. We have an email mailing list and we’ve been keeping ourselves up to date on a wide range of nuclear issues.

Anecdotally, I’ve had conversations with literally dozens of local residents about the possibility of a nuclear plant replacing the coal-fired Nanticoke station. I would peg the anti-nuke side at about 90% of the people I’ve spoken to directly. I’ve actually found it difficult to get anyone to say they are all in favour of the nuke plant. Scientific polling? Not by a long stretch but at least as accurate as Buck Sloat’s gut feeling.