Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Press Release from January 20, 2011 - "Green Party Says Premier Is Betraying Democracy with Plans to Build Small Nuclear Reactors in Saskatchewan"

Released to the press on January 20, 2011:

Green Party of Saskatchewan Leader Larissa Shasko is outraged by Premier Wall's announcement made yesterday of plans to build small nuclear reactors in our province. According to Shasko, "The Government has not listened to the public consultations in 2009 which overwhelmingly said 'we don't want the nuclear industry in our province.' In doing so, Brad Wall has completely turned a blind eye to our democratic rights as citizens."

Small nuclear reactor technology has already been rejected by the people of this province in the 2009 public consultations. Small nuclear reactors come with a huge price tag and do not make economic sense when compared to the alternatives of renewable energy, energy efficiency, and energy conservation. According to the Saskatchewan Greens, small nuclear reactors pose unnecessary safety risks, pollute our environment and are not needed. "As coal plants age, energy conservation and energy efficiency need to be maximized, and decentralized renewable energy needs to be implemented at a large scale," states Shasko.

Shasko also warns that building small nuclear reactors in our province would leave Saskatchewan wide open as a location for a nuclear waste dump in our province. Saskatchewan communities are currently being targeted by the nuclear industry for the disposal of high-level radioactive waste. This has consequences for all people in Saskatchewan. According to Shasko, "We need legislation passed in our province immediately to ban the transportation and storage of nuclear waste in Saskatchewan -- to protect our province from becoming a nuclear waste dump site. If we build small nuclear reactors in Saskatchewan, we would then be creating nuclear waste here, so we would be even more heavily targeted as a site for a national or international nuclear waste dump. Brad Wall has been misleading voters on the nuclear issue, right from reactors to waste. Brad Wall's commitment to the nuclear industry over the democratic orders of Saskatchewan citizens has shown that the Sask Party can not be trusted by voters."

Shasko points out that the Green Party of Saskatchewan has a different vision for our province. "Jobs are abundant in the renewable energy sector," says Shasko, and the Green Party of Saskatchewan’s plan to create a decentralized renewable energy economy will put both power and money into the hands of Saskatchewan people. The Wall Government has projected that Saskatchewan’s energy needs will continue to rise drastically, regardless of a basically stagnant population and a worsening climate crisis, but the Green Party recognizes that if we want to survive as a planet, our energy needs must be reduced. Saskatchewan has barely seen energy conservation utilized, which is unfortunate because energy conservation is the most cost effective and fastest way to lower greenhouse gas emissions. Instead of taking the climate crisis seriously, the Sask Party Government is going to let the rate of GHG emissions in this province grow drastically to allow for an increased pace and scale of resource extraction. The Wall Government wants to see every last bit of natural resources in our province taken out of the ground over the short-term future leaving nothing but ecological destruction behind for future generations. According to the Saskatchewan Greens, our resource royalities are grossly inadequate. Shasko notes that nearly all of the resources mined here are exported across borders and overseas where those resources pollute the air, water, and soil of other regions. "Under Brad Wall‘s leadership (or lack of leadership), Saskatchewan has become an exporter of climate change," states Shasko. She notes that Saskatchewan’s Minister of the Environment was sent to the Copenhagen climate conference to lobby against a deal from being signed that would interfere with the Wall Government’s plan to develop the tar sands in northern Saskatchewan. According to Shasko, "We can not continue on this path to eco-destruction. Millions if not billions of dollars will be wasted on small reactors that will utimately be used to supply power to the mining industry, as stated in the Government's Uranium Development Partnership Report. Nuclear powered tar sands is an absurd concept!!" The provincial Greens take the position that the mining industry's growing demands for power should not burden public taxpayers.

Shasko states, "Under a Green Government, we will become world leaders in renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies. As a province, we were leaders with healthcare; now it is time to lead the way in the 21st century to a decentralized renewable energy economy. Unlike the Wall Government, the Green Party of Saskatchewan has been listening to the concerns of those people in our province who are suffering during this time of economic hardship, and we know it doesn’t have to be this way if the voters of this province choose not to re-elect a provincial government who is committed only to the interests of big business while turning a blind eye to increased stress in the lives of the people who live here."

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