1. Fishermen continue fight against tidal turbines
“The Bay of Fundy Fisherman’s Association says it will continue to oppose the development of tidal power in the Minas Passage, near Parrsboro,” reports Bruce Wark:
Association spokesman, Colin Sproul made the pledge after the fishermen lost their court challenge to the deployment of a tidal turbine in November and a second one planned for sometime this year.
In a decision released this week, a Nova Scotia Supreme Court judge ruled that it was reasonable for the provincial environment minister to approve the turbine deployments by Cape Sharp Tidal Inc.
The fishermen’s association issued a news release on Monday rejecting the court ruling arguing that the judge based it on “junk science” controlled by the tidal industry…
The association says it hasn’t decided yet whether it will appeal the decision.
To read the news release, click here.
Wark has more here.
I’m ambivalent about the tidal turbines. Obviously, the energy contained in the Fundy tides is enormous, and tapping into even a tiny portion of that energy would be helpful in the battle to avoid cataclysmic climate change, which truly is the existential issue of our times.
Still, I’m skeptical that we can make the technological advances required to bring the cost of tidal-generated electricity down to a realistic level quickly enough, and the costs of doing so and maintaining ongoing generating operations seem enormous.
I feel the same way with tidal as I do with nuclear power, which is at least a proven technology: yes, in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, nuclear power has an undeniable appeal, but the capital costs are too high, and there’s too long a horizon to get a return on the investment (it would take decades to get enough nuclear power plants operational to make a meaningful contribution to the electrical grid). If we’ve got the trillions of dollars required to build a gazillion nuclear power plants that won’t bring meaningful action on climate change for (say) 30 years, then we’ve got the money required to retool our houses and businesses for energy efficiency and fund renewable energy projects that can start making a difference within two or three years.
Our energy future, I think, will be dependent first of all on reducing electrical needs through efficiency and simply lowering our power demands, but then on distributed generation, with solar, wind, and geothermal systems taking care of most energy needs on site or locally, coupled with a grid charged by a multitude of relatively small scale hydro, wind, tidal, and geothermal generators. Tidal can play a part in that, but I think the model of a single gigantic multi-billion dollar utility generating the bulk of the electricity won’t be workable.
Notice that besides the absolutely unavoidable requirement that we reduce our carbon emissions to zero, I didn’t bring environmental factors into that analysis. I have big concerns about the externalities associated with nuclear power (maybe environmental threats can be dealt with, or at least put off for a century or so; my bigger concern is with nuclear proliferation, as every country that has developed the nuclear bomb since 1980 has done so through a civilian nuclear power program), but I don’t have to talk about nuclear waste or the potential for disaster to be opposed to nuclear power — it’s just a bad use of limited resources. We’re placing all our chips on one red square, and even if the ball falls on the right number, the payout doesn’t come until after all the damage is done. Better to spread those chips around the board and start getting some payback immediately.
Likewise, I don’t know if the Fundy fishermen have a case or not in their opposition to the tidal turbines on environmental grounds. I’ll watch the court battles play out as they will, and try to stay reasonably on top of the issue. But I fear the push for tidal is promoting an old school “Big Power” industry, and like big coal generators of the past, the industry will roll right over any local concerns. I’d be quite happy to be wrong about this — I’m just expressing my fear. Moreover, I wonder if this is the best use of our financial resources.
In the meanwhile, let’s not bet our entire future on just one mode of power generation.
2. Victoria Henneberry
“One of two people serving life sentences for killing an Inuk woman from Labrador over rent money in 2014 will present her final arguments to the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal in Halifax Thursday on why her murder conviction should be overturned,” reports Maureen Googoo:
Victoria Henneberry, who is representing herself in court, says she was distraught, stressed and panicked when she pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in April 2015 for her role in the killing of university student Loretta Saunders.
“I’m not looking for a new trial,” Henneberry told the appeal court justices on Wednesday. “I’m just looking for a change of charges,” she said.
Henneberry said she should have been charged with accessory after the fact and criminal negligence.
However, Justice Duncan Beveridge pointed out to Henneberry that she was facing a charge of first-degree murder when she agreed to the plea arrangement.
“If we were to strike your plea to second-degree murder, our only realistic option is to send you back to trial on first-degree murder,” Justice Beveridge said.
“That’s the jeopardy you would face. Not to turn around and substitute a charge of criminal negligence or accessory after the fact or manslaughter even, you would go back to stand trial on first-degree murder,” he added.
Justice Beveridge also pointed out that Blake Leggette, who pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in Saunders’ death, could be called to testify against Henneberry in a potential murder trial. Henneberry calls three witnesses to testify during the appeal hearing.
Googoo also spoke with Loretta Saunders’ sister:
“It’s a slap in the face,” Delilah Saunders said in a phone interview about Victoria Henneberry’s upcoming appeal hearing later this week.
“It shows that she (Victoria Henneberry) is not taking responsibility for her part in taking a life and throwing that woman, my sister, a daughter, a mother to be, an auntie, a best friend, throwing her on the side of the road like a piece of trash,” Saunders said.
“Barry Sheehy and Albert Barbusci of Harbor Port Development Partners (or Sydney Harbour Investment Partners or Blue Zen Memorial Parks) are proud of the many ‘partners’ they’ve enlisted in their campaign to turn Sydney harbor into a mega-port for ultra-large container ships,” reports Mary Campbell for the Cape Breton Spectator:
They have “building partners” like the “American giant Bechtel.” They have rail partners like Genesee & Wyoming. They even have The Right Honorable Jean Chretien who, we’re assured, believes deeply in the project, on board.
What they’ve also had, through the Port of Sydney Development Corporation, is access to about $2.5 million left over from the dredging of Sydney harbor, money that was supposed to pay for new navigational aids for the deepened channel but that has instead been diverted to “business development.”
What happens when you connect those dots? Well, you discover that Jean Chretien is their “partner” the way Seaside Communications or Bell Aliant is yours — because they’re paying him. And by “they” I don’t mean Harbor Port Development Partners, which is supposedly footing all the bills for this “private sector” project, but the Port of Sydney Development Corporation, using that leftover dredge money — that leftover public money.
Campbell discovered the payments through a Freedom of Information request, and details them here.
As with the Examiner, the Spectator depends upon subscriptions to cover operational costs, so the article is behind a paywall. I can’t speak highly enough of Campbell’s work, and if you can afford it (just $10/month), please consider supporting the Spectator.
1. The bust of Stephen Archibald
“So last week I got invited to have my head scanned, and from that scan a 3D printer produced a sort of Mini-Me or Mount Rushmore lite,” writes Stephen Archibald. “Just as cool as it sounds.”
2. Cranky letter of the day
So now, the political clowns are trying to stop women from wearing high-heeled shoes.
Other sexual turn-ons for men — like dresses and nylon stockings — have already ended.
If men started wearing bras, the differences between the sexes, physically, will be hardly noticed.
Oh well, all this silliness is keeping the birth rate down.
Loring Rayner, Charlottetown
Investment Policy Advisory Committee (Thursday, 12pm, City Hall) — whoever puts together the agenda wants the committee to read something about how inflation is the worst thing ever. This worries me.
No public meetings.
No meetings until Wednesday.
No public events.
In the harbour
5am: Ami, oil tanker, sails from Irving Oil for sea
7:15am: NYK Deneb, container ship, sails from Fairview Cove for TK
10am: Nica, cargo ship, arrives at TK from Willemstad, Curaçao
11:30am: Tomar, car carrier, sails from Autoport for sea
I have some personal business to attend to this morning, so this is an abbreviated Morning File.
I don’t understand why Good Friday is a stat holiday — it’s not a holiday in the hyper religious U.S., and we never got the day off at the Catholic parochial or high schools I attended — but I’ll take the thin excuse for some down time. So Morning File is taking the day off tomorrow. I haven’t yet spoken with El Jones, so don’t know if she’s writing for Saturday. As there’s not even a flimsy justification for why Easter Monday (!!!) should also be a holiday, I’ll pop in with something to say on Monday morning.