Letter to the Editor

It?s been a fascinating week in Tumbler Ridge – first there was a thought-provoking article in Tumbler Ridge News on coal-fired energy by one of our Town Councillors, Larry White, followed by a public meeting at which Mayor Caisley welcomed representatives from environmental organizations, who then raised concerns about the proposed coal-fired energy plant north of Tumbler Ridge.

There were a number of very positive features to all of this: firstly it was made clear that the company involved in this proposed development, AES Wapiti, has been a good corporate citizen, and is playing by the rules the provincial government has made; secondly the distinction was made between metallurgical coal (all the other coal mining developments in the Tumbler Ridge area) and this thermal coal project, and finally the presentation and subsequent discussion were conducted in a courteous manner.

The result is our collective ability to discuss this controversial issue constructively, and it is encouraging to learn that this debate may be conducted further in our schools, with both perspectives being presented. For what could be more important to the next generation than to question authority, to seek to understand the agendas of the speakers and whose payroll they are on, and to debate the relative importance of the obvious economic benefits of the projects (more jobs, more shops etc) versus the concerns that have been expressed (health effects, environmental degredation, contribution to runaway climate change etc).

Knowledge is Power, and we are stronger as a community by being able to engage positively and respectfully in such discussion.

Charles Helm

Tumbler Ridge, January 26, 2007