LETTER – Hydro power not as clean as those providing it lead us to believe

LETTER - Hydro power not as clean as those providing it lead us to believe

Dear editor,

In his Jan. 23 letter to the editor (Wood burning serves a purpose, particularly during power outages), Edwin Grieve gave us the advantages of, and the carbon numbers for, woodstoves — but the subject is much bigger than just the woodstove issue.

Homes are heated by wood, oil, gas, and BC Hydro, but there is a major environmental cost of BC Hydro’s dams, a lot of it unseen, and little known to the public, which must be included in this discussion.

• Thousands of productive salmon runs are extinct because dams blocked the spawning grounds.

• Natural resources consumed; concrete, vehicle fuel, the road network needed in dam construction, and continued maintenance forever.

• Land stolen from others, the land we might need in the future for food production, now covered by standing water.

• All the trees that had to be cut down where the reservoirs will be, trees that used to be a carbon sink, now gone.

• The tax dollars spent on government advertising falsely telling us how clean hydro power is.

Each one of these is its own environmental and/or economic disaster. But the last one is the deal-breaker.

We now know that free-flowing rivers remove carbon from the atmosphere. They flush organic material to the ocean, where it is eaten by marine life.

Dams destroy that natural system. The standing water reservoirs interrupt the removal of atmospheric carbon. The sediment and organic material collects in the reservoir, sinks, decomposes, and then releases methane and CO2 into the atmosphere, for as long as the dam exists. As the planet warms, so do the reservoirs, which emit even more methane and CO2 as decomposition accelerates.

If we had invested resources and money which were wasted building dams, into solar, a huge carbon footprint from this province would have been completely avoided.

Just like the oil companies, BC Hydro has been a destructive and dishonest force delaying sensible choices and action to mitigate global heating.

Fred Fern,


BCHydroLetter to the Editor