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Second anti-nuclear petition emerges

SIMCOE REFORMER: Monte Sonnenberg - November 19, 2008

http://www.simcoereformer.ca/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=1303700

A second petition is in circulation opposing the idea of nuclear reactors in Nanticoke.

Titled "Nuclear Nanticoke? Not so fast," the petition calls on Norfolk council, Haldimand council, Queen's Park and Ottawa to declare a moratorium on new nuclear generating stations until a host of issues related to the industry are addressed. These include the safe disposal of nuclear waste and the huge cost overruns that plague the industry.

Grand Erie Energy Quest -- sponsor of the petition -- also wants Bruce Power to suspend plans for an environmental assessment in Nanticoke until Norfolk council and Haldimand council fully air the issue in public. GEEQ is angry that Norfolk council and Haldimand council passed resolutions favourable to Bruce Power last year without entertaining public input.

"What Norfolk and Haldimand councils have done is declare Norfolk and Haldimand as willing host communities," says GEEQ spokesperson Jim Elve of Waterford, an environmental activist and member of the Green Party. "We seem to have more of a discussion about where to put a dog park than a nuclear facility."

Dunnville Coun. Lorne Boyko doesn't understand GEEQ's complaint. An environmental assessment, he said yesterday, is the proper means of airing concerns and fielding public input on an issue of this magnitude. Municipal councils, he added, are ill-equipped for the job.

"Is nuclear power right for Haldimand County?" Boyko said. "I don't know. But I know I'll have a pretty good idea after the environmental assessment. It's almost like they are petitioning against themselves. They are getting what they want." In a news release yesterday, GEEQ described itself as "a grassroots group of concerned residents of Haldimand and Norfolk counties." The group doesn't believe Bruce Power will conduct an environmental assessment. Rather, it describes the $30-million, three-year study as "the first stage of construction."

"The snowball is rolling down hill and it won't be easy to stop," Elve said in his release.

Bruce Power spokesman James Scongack says initiatives like this are to be expected wherever nuclear reactors are proposed.

"There will always be a group of people who -- no matter how adequate the process -- will oppose it," he said. "I don't think anyone at this point is asking anyone to oppose or support anything. I don't put a lot of weight on this. The public consultation -- the public dialogue -- is only beginning."

Scongack plans to make a presentation at Norfolk council Nov. 25. During that presentation, he is expected to announce a series of open houses where Bruce Power will field questions and comments from the public.

Oct. 31, Bruce Power announced it is interested in constructing two nuclear reactors on 2,000 acres of vacant land in the Nanticoke Industrial Park. If the project gets the green light, the reactors will come on line around 2018.

Earlier this month, Donna Pitcher of South Cayuga said she will circulate a petition asking that the issue of nuclear reactors in Nanticoke be included as a question on 2010 municipal ballots in Norfolk, Haldimand, Hamilton and Brant County.

Those interested in downloading a copy of the GEEQ petition can do so by sending an e-mail to petition@energyquest4nanticoke.ca

519-426-3528 ext. 150

msonnenberg@bowesnet.com

Article ID# 1303700

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