SaskPower Carbon Capture and Storage Going Online Today, On Schedule

“The government boasted at last week’s Boundary Dam symposium that the project will be up and running this fall and completed by next April, on time and on budget.”

Hey, today’s April Fool’s Day. Of course it’s not going online today, as planned last May September by politicians managing SaskPower.

Sask., Alta. to lead push for carbon capture; Energy, environment take centre stage at premiers meeting
Wood, James. Star – Phoenix [Saskatoon, Sask] 31 May 2008: A.6.

“The prospect of capturing and storing CO2 to allow for low-emission coal-fired electricity plants and oilsands developments is an alluring one. But much of the technology is yet unproven, the costs involved are massive and there must be a use for the captured carbon such as enhanced oil recovery.”

“(CEO Robert) Watson says SaskPower will be ready to start shipping CO2 to Cenovus by April 1, 2014.”

“Coal is not going away” – Brad Wall
Wall continues to conserve the Conservative way.

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Wall Divesting From Russian Liquor #skpoli

Premier Wall, having gorged himself with other Canadian politicians on weeks of Russian Olympics propaganda, now considers Russian intoxicants to be the enemy.

Needs more pure grain alcohol.

Baby Duck, and Cover up.

UPDATE: I called it!

Climate Change According to Sask Party Government

This government page will almost certainly disappear at some point on the original website, so here is a backup:

Climate change is a long term shift in weather patterns. Since the industrial age the burning of fossil fuels has resulted in increased concentrations of carbon dioxide and methane in our atmosphere. These types of emissions are also known as greenhouse gases (GHGs) and they contribute to increasing global temperatures.

Our province’s greenhouse gas emissions were 72.7 million tonnes in 2011 according to Environment Canada. Saskatchewan’s Climate Change Plan is designed to reduce these greenhouse gas emissions by setting annual reduction targets for industry and encouraging investment in low-carbon technologies. Saskatchewan has established a provincial target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20% below 2006 levels by 2020.

To meet the provincial target, we need to reduce emissions in all sectors of our economy. Our climate change program will regulate facilities that emit more than 50,000 tonnes of GHGs annually.  In addition, policy options are being developed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from other sources such as agriculture, oil and gas, transportation and municipal activities.

Saskatchewan Greenhouse Gas Emissions by Sector (2010)
Source:  Environment Canada National Inventory Report, 1990-2011

• Saskatchewan accounts for 10% of the national GHG emissions, with 3% of the country’s population.
• The oil and gas sector and electricity generation are the two largest sources of GHG emissions, accounting for 34% and 21% of total provincial emissions, respectively.
• Non-regulated sectors such as agriculture and transportation each account for 16% and 21% respectively of provincial GHG emissions.
• More information on Saskatchewan and Canada’s GHG emissions can be found in the 1990-2011 National Inventory Report   

Policy and Regulations

Regulated Emitters

Any facilities that emit more than 50,000 tonnes of GHGs annually are considered to be regulated emitters. Under The Management and Reduction of Greenhouse Gases Act (the Act), regulated emitters will be required to reduce annual GHG emissions to meet the provincial target.

Provincial Climate Change Plan 
• The Act establishes the framework for achieving the provincial target of a 20% in GHG emissions from 2006 levels by 2020 while supporting environmental commitments and economic growth.
• The Act, its respective Regulations and Environmental Code Chapter are expected to be proclaimed in 2013.
•  The Saskatchewan Climate Change Plan is designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by setting annual reduction targets for industry and encouraging investment in low-carbon technologies.
•  Under this proposed framework, compliance mechanisms such as the Technology Fund, Recognition for Early Action, Pre-Certified Investments, Emission Intensive Trade Exposed credits and carbon offsets will be established to provide flexibility for regulated emitters to meet their greenhouse gas reduction obligations.

Climate Change Consultations
• The Ministry of Environment conducted stakeholder consultations between March and July 2010 on proposed regulations for greenhouse gas emissions in the province.
• The report “Summary of Stakeholder Consultations on the Saskatchewan Climate Change Regulations” provides a comprehensive overview of issues and options identified by participants during these consultations. The report is a “what we heard” summary of the views of participants about the proposed GHG regulatory framework and does not necessarily represent the position of the Ministry of Environment on these issues. See Related Documents below for a summary report.

Non-Regulated Emitters

Industries that emit less than 50,000 tonnes of GHGs annually are considered to be non-regulated emitters. Their emissions will be reduced through policies and programs that promote adoption of low-carbon technologies, energy efficiency and conservation and renewable energy sources.

Non-regulated sectors include oil and gas production, transportation, agriculture, commercial and residential buildings, and community sources such as water and sewage infrastructure and landfills and account for more than two-thirds of provincial GHG emissions.   Non-regulated sources were responsible for about 50 million tonnes of Saskatchewan GHG emissions in 2010, or 68% of total provincial emissions.

GHG abatement initiatives in non-regulated sectors will focus on negotiating performance agreements with industry, communities, and other sectors, to manage and report their GHG emissions.   Performance agreements provide an effective reporting mechanism for selected non-regulated emissions under the GHG regulations.

Reducing to 20% below 2006 by 2020 was a political number selected by the Conservative Party of Canada, it is not based upon scientific necessity.

All Eggheads In One Laundry Basket #skpoli

The Sask Party is putting all of the province’s health related laundry into one laundry basket, in Regina. If you don’t know Saskatchewan geography, this borders on insanity. We’re going to be trucking bed sheets 1000km round trip in some cases. Besides costing jobs for the existing employees, a single laundry plant failure in the future will impact every hospital in the province. “A structural failure in 2011 at the Saskatoon laundry plant caused its closure.”

Maybe it would surprise the Sask. government that there are hospitals outside of Regina and Saskatoon, yet still in Sask.?

If there’s a serious problem with how clean the current system is making the laundry, then we should fix it. I’m skeptical it would cost more than $93M over ten years to do that across the province.

“For example, over 300 employees around the province will be losing their jobs due to Brad Wall’s centralization AND privatization of all hospital laundry services.”

300 people at (estimated) $35000/year salary = $10.5M
so over 10 years that’s $105M.
Are we sure the supposed savings the government is claiming isn’t just the wages for the people they are putting out of work in their home communities outside of Regina? No wonder the City of Regina is now anticipating a doubling of population, they expect the government’s policies to compel everyone to move into Regina.

Medical ‘waste’ is a noun, not a verb in most cases. The Sask Party doesn’t get that, perhaps.

Hat tip to Leftdog


Three weeks before the tendering process even closed, the Alberta-based company contracted to run the Saskatchewan health care system’s linen service proposed to a local union a collective bargaining agreement that featured significantly lower wages and no benefits, the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour (SFL) is claiming.

In what appears to be a proposed 10-year agreement between K-Bro Linen Systems Inc. and UNITE HERE Local 41, obtained by the SFL and released to media on Thursday, entry-level wages were to start at $10.75 an hour – nearly $5 less than new laundry workers make now. The document is dated Aug. 2, 2012, while the competition period ended Aug. 29.

“What they’ve attempted to do is to circumvent the collective bargaining process and to rob Saskatchewan people of their right to participate in the economic democracy by choosing their own unions,” Larry Hubich, president of the SFL, said at a press conference held in Regina on Thursday afternoon. “The company, before they were even granted the contract from the … provincial government, was attempting to find a union to sign a contract without any members, without any employees.”

Asked to verify the document’s authenticity, Chris Burrows, K-Bro’s chief financial officer, said he could not comment on “confidential meetings that may or may not have occurred.” He added that the company takes exception to Hubich’s claims.

“We will never in a million years foist union terms and conditions on any employees without their participation and ratification of an agreement,” Burrows explained Thursday during a telephone interview.

Coal Hard Truth #skpoli

The Leader-Post may be giving kudos to the Sask Party’s singular focus on Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS), but I won’t be. The primary reason CCS (clean coal) is getting so much Conservative and Sask Party government funding, is because it’s a hidden subsidy to the oil industry so that they can recover more oil from otherwise exhausted oil fields.

“We have a great story to tell,” Wall said.

We need more than a fairy tale, or a Sask Party narrative to save us from climate change. We need significant improvements in energy efficiency in our homes and transportation utilization, as well as plenty of increased investment in renewable energy.

On the question of overall provincial support for the environment, the NDP Opposition correctly notes the Sask. Party government cut funding for climate change activities by 73 per cent in the past two years. This is not exactly a great record for Wall when he goes to Pittsburgh or Washington to tout Saskatchewan’s clean energy.

Friends recently told me that PARC at the UofR had been cut significantly, since I last noted on my blog that PARC was a significant admission by the Sask Party that climate change is coming, and will be a huge economic and quality of life game changer. The lack of meaningful investment in renewable energy leaves Saskatchewan behind in the global economic situation emerging.

One year ago, the opposite from the oil industry:

“Our decision was essentially based on the fact that we could not see a way to make the economics of our CCS project work as we originally intended,” said Don Wharton, vice-president of policy and sustainability at TransAlta.

He said markets for pure carbon didn’t develop as expected, and federal and provincial governments took no steps to recognize the value of reduced emissions by implementing a price on carbon, for example, or a cap-and-trade system.

In short, despite nearly $800 million in government subsidies, the company had no incentive to invest in CCS.

The “Clean Coal” lie rolls on. Now it has a new timeline for implementation. Let’s collectively watch it be missed (again).

The government boasted at last week’s Boundary Dam symposium that the project will be up and running this fall and completed by next April, on time and on budget. It will reduce CO2 emissions at the plant by 90 per cent (one million tonnes a year) by shipping emissions 60 kilometres to Weyburn’s enhanced oil recovery project.

From 2009:

“The committee will complete work on the development phase by August 31, 2009, including a full project plan, engineering design, business plan, detailed budget and construction timeline.

With the financial support of the Governments of Canada and the United States, construction of the plant could begin as early as September 2009 and the plant could be operational as early as the summer of 2011. The goal for the reference plant is to test a range of technologies in the capture of up to one million tonnes of CO2 over a four-year period.”

Abandoned Community Pastures At Risk #cdnpoli #skpoli

The last remnants of a unique ecosystem on Earth are entering what is potentially their last years of natural existence. This will lead to the extinctions of some plants and animals that exist only on the Canadian prairies. Extinctions destabilize an ecosystem, and it’s an ecosystem where humans cannot be assured of long-term survival if it becomes destabilized.

The Conservatives removed protection for the community pastures in an apparent effort to privatize the land. The Sask Party, instead of putting the land under provincial management, has opted to sell off the land, following in the Conservative Party’s wishes. This is against the interest of Canadians, and of most of the ranchers and farmers who’ve used the pasture land over the decades they’ve been in the public trust.

Trevor Harriot in the Globe and Mail:

As for the program having achieved its goals [according to Ritz], the need for soil conservation and managing ecosystems in the public interest does not simply go away.

Press release sent my way today:

For Immediate Release:

April 17, 2013

Public Pastures – Public Interest

Uniting to Save Saskatchewan’s Community Pastures

Joint Venture Video Release

In April of 2012 the federal government announced it was divesting itself of 2.3 million acres of PFRA community pastures, 1.78 million of which are located in Saskatchewan. The control for these pastures has now reverted back to the prairie provinces and in response the Saskatchewan government has announced they will be seeking to sell or lease these lands to the current pasture patrons. With rising land values putting the purchase of these lands far beyond the reach of most patrons, exceeding their ability to run a financially viable operation, patrons are looking to find an alternative solution. Other stakeholders affected by this decision are looking to ensure a sustainable environmental action plan for the land is continued, safeguarding the continued health of the ecosystem and the 32 species at risk that reside there.

To help communicate this message, the various stakeholders (Patrons, First Nations, Academic and Wildlife/Environmental groups) have been meeting over the past several months to discuss their common concerns and encourage the two levels of government to reconsider their position on the importance of preserving and sustaining our community pastures. The result is a collaborative and inclusive video showcasing stakeholder concerns and their belief that, in order to ensure a positive outcome for all, they must work together to find a viable solution.

It is their hope this video will also help communicate the message to stakeholders not yet involved and encourage them to join the collaborative effort towards protecting out public interests, and maintaining current and long term sustainable management of our Community Pastures.

For more information on this video and the joint initiative please contact any of the following:

* Trevor Herriot, Public Pastures – Public Interest, Regina, , home 306-585-1674
* Senator Roland Crowe – First Nations representative, 306-539-9200
* Joanne Brochu – Patrons representative, , cell 306-255-7602

Aboriginal Students Centre Launch at UofR

The expanded space for the ASC was launched on Thursday in the RIC building. Many dignitaries were on hand. Shawn Fraser was rep’ing the City, and gave a short and sweet 2 minute speech. Everyone else was a bit more verbose, but all heartfelt and excited by the newly christened space intended for all students to have a common gathering place with support staff nearby. The older space in College West remains part of the ASC.

The reception after had excellent food, including four kinds of bannock! Baked, baked with Saskatoon berries, fried, and fried with cheese.

I spoke briefly with Regina MP Ralph Goodale, and MLA Warren McCall. I also introduced myself to MLA Mark Docherty afterward, who I learned had heard of my blog. We traded stories of civic politics and our hopes for improved, honest political discussions around hot topic national and provincial issues like alcohol and marijuana. Having both run for city council at times, we each had to agree that anyone putting their name forward for public service is taking a bold step that not everyone cares to make (not saying that to pat ourselves on the back, Mark noted). Try running, and you’ll feel it too I’m sure.

Wall’s Leaky Logic

Brad Wall went to Washington in order to pitch the Keystone XL pipeline project. In doing so, he made some really absurd claims, that CTV failed to juxtapose against the scientifically accurate situation that Wall mischaracterized. Joe Oliver of the Conservatives has also been making totally absurd claims about Canada’s environmental track record under his government’s [lack of] leadership.

“Saskatchewan’s environmental record is not good.” – Global TV news clip from 2009.

It’s totally irresponsible journalism by the Canadian Press to allow the Premier to make the opposite claim without also clarifying his remarks, or offering the comments from someone with a factual response to his fiction.

Here’s the economic case, here’s the energy security and oh, by the way, we care about the environment and here’s what we’re doing with respect to the environmental piece of this.”
“We need to indicate that we’re serious about the environment, because we are,”{… delusional or two faced, I must add.}

This was a horrendously unbalanced CP article. Experts can refute the “Conservative” premier’s claims that Sask. can care about climate change while pushing the carbon-budget-obliterating KXL pipeline project.

Wall’s claim is analogous to a captain saying that he’s serious about keeping a ship afloat by plugging a hole in starboard side, while boring a bigger hole in the port side. It doesn’t matter if water intake is reduced in one side, if the ship’s still getting flooded.

The premier added he’s confident Keystone will soon be approved, particularly following the U.S. State Department’s draft environmental assessment of the pipeline that was dismissive of many of the environmental movement’s concerns about it.

That State Dept. report was actually written by a KXL friendly contractor, we soon later learned. Hard to believe Wall didn’t know the integrity of the report is in doubt. What is not in doubt among scientists is the potential carbon from the tar sands, when burned, will far surpass the carbon budget our climate could possibly withstand for a less than 2 degree change in our climate’s temperature.
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Oiled Up

There’s a suspicious situation uncovered at the UofR, by CBC. IPAC, the CO(2) CCS project was audited, and there were apparent conflicts of interest in how some of the money was spent. The report stopped short of saying there was crime, but implied there was the possibility of it.

Only last week I saw a CCTV ad for IPAC-CO2 appear out of nowhere, and I was unfamiliar with the logo they used until I spelled it out and realized it must be for the CCS project. This is the “heart of the Saskatchewan Party’s plan to tackle climate change”, according to Geoff Leo of CBC.

CVI is an IT provider, but they were getting over half of the budget. “There was no set of deliverables.”

One apparent conflict of interest, was Malcolm Wilson for a time being on the board of CVI. He reportedly returned shares so as to not profit from the work.

The Sask Party Minister for CIC, Donna Harpauer said “it’s a conflict of interest”. Wilson, through his lawyer told CBC that when the facts are all in, there was no conflict of interest. A Mr. Fitzpatrick, in the audio interview, said there was “no impropriety”.

Side note: I’ve appeared in a Global TV report years ago with both Wilson, and Brad Wall.

Shell, along with the provincial and federal governments gave the UofR millions of dollars years ago to pursue Carbon Capture & Storage at their test facility at Estevan. I’ve toured it; they were using North Dakota’s CO2 gas, instead of gas from the coal plant the test site is built beside. To that point, in ~2008, no gas from power SK production had been stored. I assume that remains the case.

Why would Shell, which has little to do with coal power, invest millions into this R&D? CCS has the ‘side effect’ of forcing exhausted oil fields into extended opportunities of production. In short, put the gas down, and oil comes out. We then burn that oil without using CCS, further limiting the net benefits of CCS.

There are presently 0 “clean coal” plants in production in the world.

The U of R, despite saying they are a “clean energy” research facility, presently has 0 solar panels in production, and 1 VAT windmill in research & production.

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SaskPower: At Least 13 Years Out of Touch

I’m sorry Canada, and the world. I’ve tried to convince my province’s public utility that there are huge benefits from dialing down the reliance on coal burned electricity, but they won’t listen. They haven’t even removed or updated a shockingly out-dated “Solar” page on their website that lists information that became obsolete a decade ago. There are such great advances in research, and cost expectations of renewable power, I can’t easily accept that the business people at the utility company are so daft. (They don’t even recognize that Spain’s in the northern hemisphere, so I shouldn’t be so surprised.)

May 2013 solar panels


I hope others join me in asking for the tangible results the “clean energy research chair” has brought the UofR thus far, as the province’s leading clean energy research facility. Ask the UofR how many windmills, and how many solar panels it has in research or in production. The answer presently is 1 windmill and 0 solar panels. There are farmers in Saskatchewan with more of each. Is the SaskParty government funding our universities so they can get into this very important area of research? Not really.

Wind power

I’m hoping another recent letter to my MLA will help prod them along, but unless more people start to put some pressure on the utility company to modernize, I don’t think we’re going to be able to collectively do our part to limit Saskatchewan’s gross impact on air pollution and climate change. I’m really very sorry for not being more effective at such a crucial point in human history.

UPDATE: It’s 2013, and SaskPower finally removed some of the incorrect information from their website, but they are still underselling solar power, and their President and CEO is writing Saskatoon’s newspaper to attempt to refute good ideas about investing heavily in renewable power sources. He’s defending coal power. He’s using the 13 year old excuses I listed here! SaskPower is behaving like a dinosaur.