Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Can Oberg save us?

Do you hear two hands clapping in a vacuum? Link

The conservative future appears to be much more of the same as far as health care and any number of resource and water programs are concerned! Do we want more of the same?

It appears to be the public’s fault that “The Third Way” was not successful. According to the hopefuls it is incumbent on us to learn to believe what they are saying. Yet they operate on hidden agenda, no attempt to properly budget and account for expenditures. Their choice of communication is by outright lies and misleading statement. How can we possibly trust this crew? That is what is missing. Perhaps Mr. Oberg can bring us along? Where’s the fresh air?

Where is the talk of accountability? An example; blowing up the hospital in Calgary cost some one something; where are the figures and the proper explanations? Cutting resource to drive up need and drive up costs artificially to drive up the bills. Create a problem by over use or under funding then, privatize it. That is what these guys are about.

The status quo is mentioned. Play on words can be fun. To point; “people should be allowed to buy insurance to cover those costs no covered by Alberta Health Insurance”

What this means in de-insuring a bunch of services in Alberta.
Capital health is busy drawing up lists to do just this. Where is the public discussion? Where is the public input? Are they too ashamed to put plans forward?

I think this is a very good time to hear from the opposition parties about their plans on a broad range of subjects including health care. Or, are they conceding a Conservative Government in again at the next election? Both parties are sitting on their laurels thinking they will be elected by default.

I say to them “Not so!”

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

The phantom did it! Alberta's water system.

Inquiry into Sturgeon County on cisterns vis wells:

"There may be concerns over water wells in the Western section of the county due to gravel operations. However, we do not care if they go wells or cisterns. However, Alberta Environment may have put some conditions on the water in that area, we would have no idea."

Reply from Alberta Environment (Minister didn't know who to call!)
Thank you for contacting Alberta Connects.There is no provincial regulation restricting the drilling of water wells on acreages.However, some municipal districts and counties restrict acreage owners to installing cisterns and hauling treated water when their groundwater resources are insufficient to support subdivision development.

Here's a standing example of the "apron over your face; ball in the air" situation we have to work though as citizens in this province when dealing drinking water and any number of other things. If it all goes sour leave the door open for act of God.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Some answers on bad water.

Further investigation has produced some enlightenment.

The Alberta Water act prior to 1999 allowed any number of people to take what ever they wanted for water to the extent of 275,000 gal per year. That was a single dwelling, home's entitlement. The enforcement of this is with the municipality or county under the municipal act. This water could be taken from any place by any means available.

The water act changed in 1999 to more critically address the development of acreages, feedlots and the like. (No one was thinking coal bed methane apparently).

Unchanged; you can be on one supply and one supply only. If you have a cystern, no well. Likewise if you are on some elses allotment (municpal water) no well is allowed.

Now, if a development has 4 houses on it, each house has an entitlement of 275.000 gallons per year. If a 5th house is built, the people have to put in a water survey analysis. This analysis trick can cost 15,000 dollars very easily. It probably has much to do with the size of subdivisions. Beware of a 4 house setup with promise of more in the future.

Water uses are given by 3 entities. The Alberta Environment, Alberta Agriculture and the Energy Utilities Board. Theministers hold the wild card to okay what ever they want, for what ever reason. (What's new?)

In water rights it is first in time, first in line. The single house has first call, first use of the water holding a higher rank than any other industry regardless of time. If any development comes into the system that messes up the homes' water supply then, the home will have recourse to the Government depending on who is responsible for letting the permit.

In the case of the Edmonton Journal story and as will be the case with other coal bed methane problems, the damaged party will have to go to the EUB with their complaint and, good luck with that!

The EUB is taking the position that some gas and precipitated mineral will always be in the ground water taken from above coal beds. Also someone in this mix has determined that if the complaint is not on your own land you don’t have a complaint!

There is no central, one call number to look into your problem.

Like so many other things, this appears to be a shell game to cover squeaking wheels and keep the ball in the air indefinitely.

Good luck with that!

John Clark

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Coal Bed Methan Poisons wells!

Some very good journalism by Sheila Pratt of the Edmonton Journal.

Klein and company have gone beyond ignoring the dangers to our drinking water and have embarked on a course of lies and cover ups. As I outlined in other articles, the poisoning of the water aquifer is nothing short of a capital crime. 95% of Alberta drinking water is in this aquifer.

For those of you who are not familiar with the Aquitaine Aquifer I will explain it is like an underground river flowing from the east slope of the Rocky Mountains nearly ¾ the way across Alberta. This is your well water, this is your tap water.

I am going out on a limb here and suggest people totally disregard the provinces ban on digging or drilling water wells on their property. Water wells will take one, possibly 2 holes at the most.

A battery of methane wells will puncture a dozen times at least!

Because this is an underground river, the contamination may not show up for a hundred miles or more!

A rogue government has taken over our system. Its time to treat them as such!

John Clark

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Klein Plays Hardball? With who?

Honorable Ralph Klein, May 26, 2006
Room 307
Legislative Building,
Edmonton, AB T4K 2C6

Dear Premier:

What is this crap you are peddling about the country going to attack Alberta over oil revenues? You have played this scare tactic every year since the NEP went out of business! The electorate has said they don’t want you! Move on!

As usual you allude to “someone said somewhere” scenario and perceived threats from resource revenue hungry premiers. Such trash!

Albertans should look at this possibility as being a fix for the miss management of resource and extremely low resource money you have put in place. If you won’t fix the revenue base perhaps we can count on Ottawa to pull revenue and redistribute it for us.

For instance oil company tax write offs such as “deduction for future unidentified losses” which pretty much assures the exploration companies don’t pay income tax could be done away with. In fact I can think of a tax on “roll back of deduction for non specific losses not proven or documented” That by its self should put a fair amount of coin into the tax bases where it belongs. Doing this may alleviate the some of the mistreatment of seniors in this province that your policies encourage rather than curtail.

What is bad for the oil companies is not necessarily bad for Albertans. Taking money from Oil Companies is not taking resource revenue from the Province!

What is bad for Albertans is the wholesale give away of our resource at the lowest possible dollar value. What is bad for Albertans is the wholesale rape and destruction of our drinking water by oil companies and power companies with no talk of compensation; no responsibilities for reclamation. With the evidence of cement failing in older wells, where is a responsible provincial government in looking after the interests of the citizens? Masking water problems by legislating cisterns and a designated safe water well to haul water from, in place of conventional wells is so typical of the carpet you use to sweep your garbage under.

Not here, not now and not with you and your Government.

No Ralph, no swan song for you, and I suspect no swan song for your Government. Albertans will just have to hold their noses and let you pass.

Enough of the sky is falling politics please!

John Clark

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Syncrude coker stinks. YUP!

Syncrude billion dollar Coker smells bad is the headlines.

You bet it does but more so than to the nose.

The Sun article puts the price tag of the Coker at 1 billion dollars. That would be 1 billion in start up costs that is deducted from the sale of crude. Royalties are taken after all start up costs is deducted. That is 1 billion dollars of Alberta Resource money that didn’t make it to the Alberta Taxpayer.

Let’s assume it costs 10 million dollars to fix the problem; it seems to be in engineering and a 10% cost is very light that being the circumstance.

That is 10 millions of taxpayer money; lost royalty that is added to the start up costs. Under a non protected system, that 10 million may be recoverable from who ever made the error or their insurers.

Under the Alberta Conservative system there is no need to peruse such a course; the Alberta Taxpayer is deaf and dumb. No hassle from them!

John Clark

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

FOIP in action

My request for disclosure of information on the AON contract, which is still in place, was answered by Iris Evans.

"Thank you for your letter of March 27th etc.

The document you have requested is not publicly available, as it includes third-party commerical information. However you can proceed with a Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy (FOIP) to my department, so that your request can be properly evaluated and all necessary legal considereations taken into account.

To learn more about creating a FOIP request and to obtain the Access to Information Form, I encourage you to call the FOIP intace Officer at 422-6860 or visit the Offfice of the Information and Privacy Commissionere of Alberta at: LINK
Signed Iris Evans.

So folks, the Minister could have sent me the contract without the third party information had she wanted to. Then, came the further clamp on access to information. This people are in so much trouble they are putting up barricades!

Seniors problems are also your problem!

Seniors and family associates in trouble! Edm Sun

In Alberta, Senior Long term care is a disaster area. Long term care should be distinguished from palliative care in hospitals. The latter is referred to in the industry as “warehousing people”.

Rape, theft, food with held as a punishment tool, heat turned off in winter, prescriptions not filled because of funding, brutality and legislative exploitation is what seniors are facing in these facilities. If you can come up with 3500 dollars a month, you can do marginally better.

Klein’s conservative trickle down policies have not allowed energy revenues to trickle into the care of seniors. Chattel and monies that went to offspring in past generations as inheritance are being sucked away by Governments today. The pressures your parents and grand parents face in this area are ultimately to your detriment if you think it through.

The conservatives sell “business opportunity” to people to open these care centers. Politicians notably conservative are buying and opening these facilities for profit. The profit margins keep going up; the part that is left over for care goes down. There is very little assistance to keep people in their own facilities longer. Rather, the choice is made to seize their properties one way or another and force them into sub standard facilities as a penalty for living.

The Edmonton Sun has been moving forward with startling Journalism in the recent past. The run of articles by Jeremy Loome are very timely.

Coal Bed Methane + Liberals

Replies if any will be posted:
Liberal public coment in Sun

John Clark
14815 – 123 Ave
Edmonton, AB T5L 2Y7
May 16, 2006

Kevin Taft,
Leader of Alberta’s Opposition
10247 – 124 St
Edmonton, AB T5N 1P8

Dear Mr. Taft:

There is much happening in regards to climate change, seniors programs, and resource development which people in Alberta are properly distraught about. There is much verbiage out of opposition parties by way of statement or complaint and precious little conversation or ideas coming forward about what your party will put forward as alternatives. Governments and oppositions are in election mode all the time so, I would like to flesh some ideas.

Coal Bed Methane production has been a disaster in Montana as saline solutions regurgitate from drilling sites. Alberta government dodges this issue by saying waste must be pumped down 1 km. They make no attempt to put in remote monitoring systems at these gas batteries! A leak into the aquifer of the mineral laden fluids that accompany the gas migration could damage an aquifer for hundreds of miles from the source.

I am of a mind that Coal Bed Methane drilling can be done if the limits, preparation and proper remote monitoring systems are in place. I am equally sure that we are looking at an unmitigated disaster if they are not.

Where does your party stand on the subject and, what ideas or disciplines do you have that will answer the subject.

Yours very truly

John Clark

Coal Bed Methan + NDP

Replies if any, will be posted:
John Clark
14815 – 123 Ave
Edmonton, AB T5L 2Y7
May 16, 2006

Brian Mason
Member of Alberta’s Opposition
10806 – 119 Street NW
Edmonton, AB T5H 3P2

Dear Mr. Mason

There is much happening in regards to climate change, seniors programs, and resource development which people in Alberta are properly distraught about. There is much verbiage out of opposition parties by way of statement or complaint and precious little conversation or ideas coming forward about what your party will put forward as alternatives. Governments and oppositions are in election mode all the time so, I would like to flesh some ideas.

Coal Bed Methane production has been a disaster in Montana as saline solutions regurgitate from drilling sites. Alberta government dodges this issue by saying waste must be pumped down 1 km. They make no attempt to put in remote monitoring systems at these gas batteries! A leak into the aquifer of the mineral laden fluids that accompany the gas migration could damage an aquifer for hundreds of miles from the source.

I am of a mind that Coal Bed Methane drilling can be done if the limits, preparation and proper remote monitoring systems are in place. I am equally sure that we are looking at an unmitigated disaster if they are not.

Where does your party stand on the subject and, what ideas or disciplines do you have that will answer the subject.

Yours very truly

John Clark

Monday, May 15, 2006

Montana comes begging? I think not!

Edmonton Sun Monday May 15-06 (no link available)
“Montana goes hat in hand to Alberta for help” reads the headline.
"The Canal could collapse any day we need assistance in funding for repairs" says state Lt. Governor John Bohlinger.
Alberta Minister of Agriculture Doug Horner simply said he did not wish to rule out discussing the idea in Canada. Horner is surprised.

The details:

Signed by treaty with Canada in 1921 the water flow from the St. Mary’s Glacier in Montana flows by way of the St. Mary’s irrigation Canal through Montana and Alberta into Saskatchewan where the residual is returned to Montana by way of the Milk River.

This treaty was a means to provide more eastern Montana cities and towns with water. The cost was the agreement where Canada would get to keep 75% of the water entering Canada! This has much to do with the topographical lay of the canal.

Climate change and glacier melt down caused a heads up in Montana. The end of the Glaciers are in sight!

There has been much discussion about Montana challenging this agreement in court on the grounds there was not a proper meeting of minds at the time of signature. That is to say, the people in Montana of that day did not have any idea what they were giving away when they signed.

Alberta, under Mr. Cardinal’s watchful eye has signed up people on land strips nothing more that piles of rock on the canal. Then, Alberta changed all the rules so that only those people who actually owned these rock piles could vote in any action at the water meetings. No such thing as beyond the shore stake holders here!

This isn’t a surprise to anyone; just another chip moved in the play.

It is my guess the deal is already done; Canada with Alberta paying the most. Things like this are usually set up when the deal is finished giving both sides a chance for public display and posture.

John Clark

To clarify my views on ATCO

Some clarity on my view of ATCO. This is a very respectable top end company which has attracted a lot of good people. Nancy Southern is an electrical engineer as is her father Ron Southern. Ron, knowing what a disaster for the public Ralph’s electrical program was going to be argued against privatization. Both in my view beyond any criticisms. (Obviously Ralph was more interested in moving resource into friends pockets than he was in the electrical system).

Peter Lougheed was hired for the Board as a political adviser. Some would call this a lobbyist. Mr. Lougheed has been a capable spokesman for ATCO, the publics view allowing him the positive political image. I recall when he was premier his picture would appear regular in the Journal opposite the Birks Jewelers advertisement. Positive reinforcement, which seems to have stuck.

Jim Dinning mixed in with this austere group of people is an incongruity.

John Clark

Why Conservatives need privicy protection.

Honorable Ralph Klein, May 13, 2006
Room 307
Legislative Building,
Edmonton, AB T4K 2C6

Re: - Amendments to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Legislation

Dear Premier:

This province has the most restrictive Freedom of Information programs in Canada. Now, you are going to introduce legislation to make it even more restrictive by enabling you to capture any documents regardless of subject into a 5 year no disclosure minister’s folder!

This would indicate a whole battery of programs you are about to bring in that would not sit well with the electorate. You have resorted to secrecy and back room meetings to move your political agenda forward.

Albertans must be made aware that you have an agenda going on various levels that is so completely against the wishes of the electorate that you need to lock your doors and hide from those you profess to serve. Thanks to Graham Thomson of the Journal today’s paper “Klein thickens shroud to hide skeletons” a larger segment of Albertans are aware of your plans.

I ask why a further barricade is needed. What is on the table that is not fully in the public eye?

Coal bed methane is a hot issue. Before drilling for coal bed methane on a large scale Alberta’s water aquifers were punctured at a rate of 5.5 wells per square km. Even though the wells were cemented to prevent water from draining from the aquifer, there is evidence of wide spread degradation of these cement plugs.

Where are your programs to open these wells and re-cement? You are quick enough to open wells for further exploitation!

A battery of coal methane wells will puncture the water tables 5 to 20 times. In a very short time and the perforations of the water table will be at 20 per sq km!

Your government’s outright disdain of public opinion is noted! Environment Minister Guy Boutilier has said “If I see” any leakage or contaminants getting into our drinking water he would bring “that well” to a stop. Your absolute abandonment of stringent monitoring of these gas methane is making sure “is seen” is very limited. We have more gas and oil than we have drinking water! Certainly this simple fact would have you change your priorities some. Despite decades of bad experience in drilling you push ahead with your blind exploitation of resource in this province returning the lowest royalty rates in the word to the people of this province.

While farms and acreages are told they cannot dig wells and must put in cisterns you still allow the oil and gas industry to pump water down hole measured in cubic foot ball fields. Out of sight, its okay seems to the policy.

Yes, that would be a reason to limit information.

Still on water:
In the ‘80s the Alberta Government commissioned a study by Weatherford on moving water from the Peace River into Southern Alberta, using it to irrigate and provide drinking water along the pipeline corridor and export huge amounts into the American northern states.

This plan calls for an immense pipe lines capable of moving two-thirds of the Peace River Flow through the pipe along with the assurances it will not harm the wild life. This same plan calls for 8 lift stations to move the water; each of them using the electrical power of a small city.

Further, this plan was approved, only shelved, until the weather gets dry enough and the public can see the light.

Your policy will turn this over to ATCO or a like company to operate. Soon enough Alberta will be buying its water from ATCO and Coca Cola!

Mr. Lougheed of ATCO has recently been talking publicly about the merits of moving the Peace River south. Your polices will have a cost plus private pipeline with ATCO providing a water service to Albertans while being guaranteed an annual profit of 10% or more, that percentage according to Mr. Lougheed who at the time said building power lines paid more money.

Lastly the CBC documentary we corresponded about. Your Senior Hydrologist confirmed there would be no saline discharges at the “pristine” Alberta location shown in that CBC documentary so it would be impossible to get the Montana situation at that site. It ignores the fact that Montana situations exist in other parts of Alberta and BC. The CBC documentary was grossly misleading to say the least and, I know they are capable of better. So, the question comes.
Yes, lots of reasons to close the door to public information!

Moving onto power:

ATCO has announced to shareholders it plans to build a power line on the eastern Alberta border to facilitate the import and export of power. Looking along our east border we can see Saskatchewan exporting to Alberta and looking north-east we can see the ATCO Talston River dam in the NWT which is going to go into an expansion stage, no numbers available yet.

ATCO have huge amounts of cash sitting idle (serving northern Albertans) they want to invest and are talking 4 years before they go to regulators with their project; that would take care of expansion plans of the power plant at Talston. Looking towards the centre of the province we have the Fording Coal plan to build a generation station at Brooks Alberta, (aka Bow City AB) using it’s partner, Sherritt’s heating coal to fire the plant again, jacking up the Alberta cost beyond the point where it is already driving off industry.

Other hurts here is your policy that Albertans will pay for all the electrical transmission lines on their home and industry rates. This is the existing program on the transmission lines from McMurray of which the oil companies profit above and beyond their royalty agreements while the line is paid for by Alberta home and industry.

You are the destroyer of all the Alberta advantage and our elected MLAs continue to support you. Time to change that I think!

Yes, sure a lot of things of which you do not want to be questioned.

On to Federal Provincial politics:
Mr. Harper has said it is going to be substantial hard time for a lot of people, who would have avoided Gaol (jail) time.

The Liberals and NDP point out there is no room in Gaol for more people.
Mr.Steve West advocated private Jail systems as used in the US. Along with you, another Hard time man.

Are we going to have private penitentiaries, Federal and Provincial? That is what Conservatives seem to do. Create the problem then, try to put a positive spin on things by making it private.

Certainly there are a lot of things you don’t want to talk about.

To health care:
The only thing you have done is quit calling it “The Third Way” you continue to charge ahead with the same changes you started on. Contracts with AON remain in place, probably with the condition they can be tossed over to Great West Life and Mr. Mazankowsky with no inconvenience.

The Alberta Health Act changed in a back room in Calgary during Stampede week remains changed to allow all manners of private health care. No effort or intention on your part to change it back to a protective health care act.

There is a mountain of privatization projects and wholesale sell off of resource projects that you don’t want to talk about.

On the plus side the news media in this province, notably the Sun has become a journalistic newspaper as has the Journal to some extent.

John Clark

Sunday, May 14, 2006

The occupation of Alberta by the Conservatives.

Honorable Ralph Klein, August 26, 2003
Room 307
Legislative Building,
Edmonton, AB T4K 2C6

Re:- The occupation of Alberta by Ralph Klein.

Dear Premier:

The compelling information you have regarding climate change is near catastrophic and puts Alberta on the course of a climate very similar to Southern Iraq or Turkey more probably on the short term rather than the long. We do not have the river systems of these countries.

Extremes in weather and unpredictable weather are parts of the scenario. Ongoing drought and forest fires are going to be the norm rather than the exception. Forest fires and unprecedented pestilence are but symptoms of the climate change rapidly coming upon us. Lakes will become mud holes and rivers will dry up.

The extending drought has already caused the earth to move away from house foundations around Alberta causing them to crack. I would think any one who has built in the last 6 years has recourse on the Government because of a lack of proper building standards to account for these known changes.

When your Environment department confirmed the above they also said studies were being made on how to use the unusable (un-potable) rivers of water from the Viking aquifer. Considering the oil companies have been accessing this “bad” water for years further studies would only be for the purpose of stalling for time. Oil companies site only the added expense, by comparison to surface water, as being the only real draw back!

I recall people in Parkland County complaining their water wells went dry after seismic went through their region. They speculated the seismic had damaged the upper water aquifer. Your response was less than caring.

Knowing what you know about the weather change and dwindling water resource it is irresponsible for you to allow oil companies to use any drinkable water for injection into the wells for oil recovery! Your water plan amounts to a charge on Alberta residences for the water taken by oil companies and pumped down hole.

When do the oil companies start paying for the damages they have done and the water they have already ruined or wasted? Is seems to be your plan to stall full public disclosure of information on climate change until the oil is gone, the drinking water is gone and the oil companies have moved on?

Why are the Oil companies not made to pay for the water used and, the water they have already used? They are largely responsible for the havoc and contamination sludge in the lakes caused by the drafting of water by trucks.

An optimistic view of conventional oil and gas supplies runs at 15 years until we are dry. Other views run as low as 6 years. By then you hope to have the methane tapped from coal reserves always draining fresh water supplies. As usual it is the average family in Alberta financing the oil companies and now the power companies!

You have sold off all the cheap and accessible oil and gas leaving Albertans to pay premium prices for this same source while looking forward to even higher costs for British Columbia and Mackenzie Delta gas.

Having already ravaged the water tables you are planning a horrific operation on methane recovery from coal seams. Soon enough; no gas, no oil and no water, living in a desert; Oil companies gone leaving their damages behind them or in shell “management” companies.

I have also received a note from the Minister in charge of power transmission who gave me some hand outs telling me “ALBERTAN’S HAVE ALWAYS PAID FOR THE TRANMISSION OF THEIR POWER.” Albertans have never had to pay for exporting electricity! There is no plan where individual rate payers will receive a direct refund on the power lines you are asking them to pay for when these same power lines are used to export electricity to the US! Again it is the individuals of Alberta financing the power companies. Returns to so called General Revenues are not acceptable. Direct and full refunds to power bills and on going profit sharing on power bills is only just acceptable.

The conventional oil and gas is all but gone. All sold out from under us leaving no advantages at all. You are looking for gas supply now in British Columbia, the Fort St. John area (down some 7000 feet) and twisting arms tying to get the finance in place to move gas from the Mackenzie Delta. You have moved Albertan’s from access to inexpensive self sustained gas to the highest utility in Canada with promises of going still higher.

I don’t by your BS on NAFTA stopping energy rebates. NAFTA concerns its self with industries. A rebate program would be seen as a “district” issue and not of interest to them. I also don’t agree with your multi billion dollar fund set aside to get you elected again although you may consider that an emergency. But then again I don’t agree with your creeping taxation on drink containers and access fees which goes directly to lunch boxes and families, hitting every person in this province to get millions in funds to put into your “surplus.”

Wreck the water supplies, plunder the gas and oil utility. Sell off the citizen owned electrical power at pennies on the dollar; exploit the people further by making them pay the highest rates in Canada for the use of the utility you gave away. Further, tax them to finance the building of the power lines for the same people who took over the utilities for nothing in the first place.

Your policy has long been Oil or nothing. We end up with nothing. Kill any industry that may lean upon the oil companies, use police to entrap or coerce to this end regardless of the toll on families and health. The oil is gone and we have nothing. As I write this letter every province in Canada is exporting up scale manufactured items ranging from pharmaceuticals to hardware to packaging. Your mega government is “thinking maybe microbiology as an industry”

The world has moved on but this province is still mired and dying in your private sunshine.

I wrote you regarding the gas burning studies which are in place showing the toxic nature of regular gas and sour gas give off high levels of ferons and bi phenols as well as a long list of noxious gases because of improper burns. I gave you the doctor’s name that did one of the more recent studies asking when you were going to release this information to the public. You sent it forward to Environment and, they have never answered.

It is good to see your on going support of insurance companies is coming back to haunt you, big time. Millions spent in developing hail controls – all turned over to the insurance companies to administer. They invested their accident “reserves” into stock and dot coms which crashed. This according to conversation with the insurance bureau early 02.

If we have to bankroll their business investment losses as least all insurance should be a tax deductible! The harsh and unreasonable premiums have every thing to do with investment and little or nothing to do with driving records! I have been told that conversations regarding turning photo radar clips over to the insurance companies as a means to increase their revenues has enjoyed more time than it should.

You continue to drag this province into oblivion.

John Clark

Cc;/ pdf

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Conservatives properly challanged on energy statments.

A proper challange put forward by Mr. Allan Dane, electrical engineer.

Mr. Jean,

Your speaches were full of "we're going to do...." but you never said how you are going to do any of the things you plan to do in regard to Kyoto. Until you tell us how you are going to do anything I cannot believe anything you say.

I am a senior. I was born in Alberta in October 1932. I have worked in Alberta, B.C., Ontario, and Quebec. In the USA I have worked in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and in North Carolina.

Mr. Jean I am an Electrical Engineer. In fact, I have an M.Sc. from the University of Alberta in that discipline. I know a little bit about electrical energy. Some of the transmission lines that I have helped to design are presently operating in Iran, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia, in many States of the USA, and in Canada.

Mr. Jean, when you are a consulting engineer you need to have a knowledge of the economic factors that constrain the activities of your client. You and your colleagues in the present Alberta Government do not appear to have significant understanding of those factors so I have very grave doubts that you will be able to accomplish significant effect to diminish the climate change that is already occurring in Alberta.

Oh, I forgot to mention that I was an independent consultant for six months to TransAlta Utilities....

First of all competition in the electric utility industry cannot be beneficial to society.

There cannot be significant "positive elasticity of demand" in that industry. In fact, there is slight negative elasticity of demand in that industry and I am prepared to give you proof of this statement. Even some economists do not know this fact. The electric utility industry throughout North America is dominated by economies of scale.

If you attempt to force electric utilities to compete with each other there will be increased risk that one or more of them will fail. Consequently the lending institutions would be forced to demand higher interest rates to protect themselves against the risk to the loans they make to the electric utilities.

In the 1980's a typical electric utility in the USA had about $1 million invested for each employee on the payroll and the interest rate charged on new debentures in 1984 was typically 20% per annum. If you want to debate with me, I'll name about 5 electric utilities that I know were forced to seek protection from their creditors.

Mr. Jean, the majority of those utilities had nuclear powerplants under construction at that time and could not complete construction. Perhaps you, Mr. Jean, can understand where this is leading but, just to make sure that you do, the Enron affair has not helped in any respect. Several electric utilities have gross deficiencies in generation capacity. Among these are the following: "FIRST ENERGY", San Diego Gas and Electric, Southern California Edison, Pacific Gas and Electric.

As you know, starting on August 14, 2003, there was a wide-spread power blackout of Ontario, New York, and Ohio. As a consequence of this blackout, a new group, calling itself the National Electric Reliability Council was formed. This NERC, not to be confused with the FERC, which is a part of the USA Department of Energy, consists of all of the electric utilities of North America. Do not ask me how this NERC managed to suck all of the utilities of Canada into itself: I cannot answer that question!

In the first half of 2004 the NERC issued a report in which they estimated that North America likely would need 70 gigawatts of new generation by 2013 and likely would have 68.2 gigawatts of new generation available at that time. Frankly, I believe that the NERC is "low-balling" the need of new generation and "high-balling" the expectations of availability.

Typically the cost of decent-efficiency steam powerplants in 1992 was about $1 per watt of generation capacity. For every dollar spent on generation typically the electric utility spends an equal amount on each of transmission and distribution. Thus, if North America has 68.2 gigawatts of new generation available in 2013 there is going to be an expenditure of at least $200 billions of 1992-dollars. What makes me extremely doubtful that this expenditure will be made??? The USA Federal deficit is about $700 billion and likely to be the same until the American people kick Mr. Bush out of the White House.

In the early 1980's the Japanese financial institutions were willing to loan the USA Treasury the money needed. One does not hear that they are ready to do so now. Therefore the only way that the US Federal deficit can be financed is by inflation. The Canadian dollar is appreciating against the US dollar.... Fifteen years ago, the Canadian dollar was worth 63 cents USA: today it is worth roughly 95 cents USA. Much of that appreciation is due to the MacMurray Tar Sands, a very severe source of atmospheric contamination....

Other factors that persuade me that the 68.2 gigawatts will not be available by 2013 are first that no new nuclear powerplants have been started in the USA since 1979 and that it takes ten years from "GET" to "GO" to construct a new nuclear powerplant.

Dream all you want Mr. Jean! There will be a very serious shortage of reasonably-priced electric power in California by 2013, probably several years before since the USA is only talking of constructing new nuclear powerplants now, in 2006: none have been granted permits as of this date.

What does this mean for Canada??? We will be required to supply increasing amounts of synthetic petroleum so that the Americans can burn it in combustion turbines to produce electric energy and global warming will increase thereby.

I repeat: you are very long on what you will do but very short on how you will do it so you are not believable!

To the other members of the debate, please send copies of this email letter to other members of your caucus!

Allan Dane, M.Sc.(EE)

Saturday, May 06, 2006

The Health Care the Conservatives would have us in!

This is an American Article by Americans!
May 5, 2006 Op-Ed Columnist Our Sick Society
Is being an American bad for your health? That's the apparent implication of a study just published in The Journal of the American Medical Association.

It's not news that something is very wrong with the state of America's health. International comparisons show that the United States has achieved a sort of inverse miracle: we spend much more per person on health care than any other nation, yet we have lower life expectancy and higher infant mortality than Canada, Japan and most of Europe. But it isn't clear exactly what causes this stunningly poor performance.

How much of America's poor health is the result of our failure, unique among wealthy nations, to guarantee health insurance to all? How much is the result of racial and class divisions? How much is the result of other aspects of the American way of life? The new study, "Disease and Disadvantage in the United States and in England," doesn't resolve all of these questions. Yet it offers strong evidence that there's something about American society that makes us sicker than we should be. The authors of the study compared the prevalence of such diseases as diabetes and hypertension in Americans 55 to 64 years old with the prevalence of the same diseases in a comparable group in England.

Comparing us with the English isn't a choice designed to highlight American problems: Britain spends only about 40 percent as much per person on health care asthe United States, and its health care system is generally considered inferior to those of neighboring countries, especially France. Moreover, England isn't noted either for healthy eating or for a healthy lifestyle. Nonetheless, the study concludes that "Americans are much sicker than the English." For example, middle-age Americans are twice as likely to suffer from diabetes as their English counterparts. That's a striking finding in itself. What's even more striking is that being American seems to damage your health regardless of your race and social class.

That's not to say that class is irrelevant. (The researchers excluded racial effects by restricting the study to non-Hispanic whites.) In fact, there's a strong correlation within each country between wealth and health. But Americans are so much sicker that the richest third of Americans is in worse health than the poorest third of the English! So what's going on? Lack of health insurance is surely a factor in the poor health of lower-income Americans, who are often uninsured, while everyone in England receives health care from the government. But almost all upper-income Americans have insurance.

What about bad habits, which the study calls "behavioral risk factors"? The stereotypes are true: the English are much more likely to be heavy drinkers, and Americans much more likely to be obese. But a statistical analysis suggests that bad habits are only a fraction of the story. In the end, the study's authors seem baffled by the poor health of even relatively well-off Americans.

But let me suggest a couple of possible explanations. One is that having health insurance doesn't ensure good health care. For example, a New York Times report on diabetes pointed out that insurance companies are generally unwilling to pay for care that might head off the disease, even though they are willing to pay for the extreme measures, like amputations, that become necessary when prevention fails. It's possible that Britain's National Health Service, in spite of its limited budget,actually provides better all-around medical care than our system because it takes abroader, longer-term view than private insurance companies.

The other possibility is that Americans work too hard and experience too much stress. Full-time American workers work, on average, about 46 weeks per year; full-time British, French and German workers work only 41 weeks a year. I've pointed out in the past that our workaholic economy is actually more destructive of the "family values" we claim to honor than the European economies in which regulations and union power have led to shorter working hours. Maybe overwork, together with the stress of living in an economy with a minimal social safety net, damages our health as well as our families.

These are just suggestions. What we know for sure is that although the American way of life may be, as Ari Fleischer famously proclaimed back in 2001,"a blessed one," there's something about that way of life that is seriously bad for our health.

Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company

Monday, May 01, 2006

Disaster planning training!

An announcement by N.A.I.T. they were going to start a disaster planning course is brave but one has to wonder if the product of such a course will be used for P.R. spins or supply the means by which to avoid the press. And yes, there are ways to avoid the press!

I have extensive training and active practice in this field both in the fire service and the marine service; US and Canadian. All disaster plans work to the point they are totally defeated! The defeat oddly enough is the mark of success. After the entire “what if” scenarios have expired, one bright light will say “what happens if a 747 lands in your back yard?” and, every one at the meeting goes home! Disasters come in different sizes and venue; the term its self is relative.

There are levels of disaster planning from the home; to the playground; to the business; to the local fire and police; to the municipal politic; to the Provincial politic; to the Federal politic ending up with the international politic such as it is.

Alberta Public Safety was originally called Alberta Disaster Services. I am of the opinion their original name was more indicative of their service than the newer version as Wabanum has demonstrated.

The first question would be “What kind of disaster are you planning for?” Where do our risks lie in consideration of storage, transportation gas wells and pipelines?

The construction and volumes of different trailers on tanker trucks vary. This is a consideration if you are down wind from a main highway.

What are our resources such as equipment specific to the risk identified and how long will it take it to get here? Contact names and numbers, top of your plan.

Using Wabanum examples the oil companies had the fully equipped Oil Spill Response trailers (O.S.C.A.R) at different spots around the province (hours away) yet, CN went to Texas for their cure while the spill took over the lake. O.S.C.A.R. was invented to service the oil consortium. Crews trained and practiced. No one told CN "Hey! Here we are!" I personally think the responsibility for that spill management goes a lot further than CN! The head in the sand attitude by the consortim is not excusable! At some point these companies have to start contributing to the community as a whole!

This question of what kind of disaster is best answered by taking an inventory of the area you are concerned with. Consider your proximity to a highway, rail line, pipe line or main through fare. What is the direction of prevailing winds? Is evacuation possible or would the best plan be to close off all outside air intake and stay in doors as would be the case with poison gas blowing your way. In this case any kind of shelter is preferable to being caught in the open.

Highway tanker truck tanks come in many confirmations. Best treated as a BBC problem as in Beer Binoculars and a Chair. Look to the number of domes on the tank to best determine the number of compartments in the tank. A multi compartment tank will (big word here) probably leak less than a one, larger compartment tank.

What do you have stored in your basement? In your garage? Near the playground? Through out the business, town and county? Is lint cleaned from dryer vents and from structure in and around the washer and dryer? Are escape routes like basement windows clear of obstruction? Ask for a fire department inspection. A new pair of eyes tends to see things you may have overlooked because of being familiar with the location. No one is caught wrong!

The thing to do first is take an inventory; write it down along with locations and addresses where applicable. While you are doing this, you may ask yourself why this item is stored here. Having determined it is a risk, is it necessary? Better outside secured than inside?

Acetylene for instance can auto ignite; it is stabilized in cylinders by being suspended in acetone! Make sure all cylinders are stored with the escape vents clear and free of the liquid inside (usually upright). These escape vents will pass liquid as well as gas making the bad situation thousands of times worse!

Remember a situation may be entirely safe until you enter into it. A flash may totally engulf you! Your presence may set it off! Emergency numbers, who to call and the order they should be called are the first thing to put down into your plan and your plan should be made by all the stake holders and all should have a copy during development and upon completion.

Make a call. How long will it take the local fire department or other response to reach you? 5 minutes? If that is the case, your emergency plan should cover 5 minutes and evacuation or barricade in that period of time will probably be all you want to plan for.

The insipient (starting) stage of a fire demands a minimum of 2400 gallons of water on hand for the knock down. Your garden hose is capable at best of 5 gallons a minute! Make the phone calls first!

Most flammable liquids giving off vapors are at an ignition mixture while being much lower than you can sense by smell! Odor or the lack of it is no gauge at all! If you can’t smell it, it may well be ripe for an ignition!

Propane expands 240 times from a liquid to a gas. This gas has a lower flammability limit of 2.2%. To make the numbers easier 1 liter of propane liquid will create 24,000 liters (240 cubic meters) of explosive gas!
Propane MSDS
Because propane is so common as to be taken for granted I will also add that it is odorless. The stench is added by adding Methyl Mercaptan (the natural stench of decaying matter) into the gas so you can smell it.

Methyl Mercaptan can be removed with water! So, if propane is spilled in a snow ditch, runs down a hill and pools at the bottom, you will have the stench at the top of the hill and no knowledge of where the pools of propane have settled under the snow. Most flammable gasses are heavier than air with some notable exceptions like natural gas and hydrogen which are lighter and will pool on the ceilings when released. Know what you are dealing with. If you don’t know, find out before rather than after.

Generally, the lower the temperature the easier it is to get exactly the right mixture for a bang! Lower temperatures generally mean a lower density of vapor/air mix. For instance the enclosure of your automobile gas tank assures a vapor rich, low risk atmosphere in the tank. Not sufficient Oxygen to support combustion. Gasoline also has a chromium additive in it which enables static electricity to travel across the surface to ground on the tank side. Friction static from sloshing is reduced by this additive also.

However, outside the tank as you watch the vapors fall away from the spout, you are watching a rapid mixture of vapor with air and, that is waiting for an ignition source such has hot mufflers or static electricity or a near by touch of a brake light.

Gasoline on the other hand has a little less “bang” than propane and much less “bang” than does diesel fuel. Diesel fuel has a higher flash/explosion point that seems to match warm summer days. Diesel is a huge explosion by comparisons! Diesel, crude and other fuels do not have additives in it to conduct away the surface static electricity! In fact, they are insulators of electricity so contribute to the build up of static electricity! Be so very careful when handling diesel and the likes on a warm day! Never splash fill a tank; never put air on a tank to force liquid! It is taken for granted far too often.

Diesel Gas Flash

What makes the “bang”? The amount of power or B.T.U the liquid or gas is capable of generating on a burn. The bigger the BTU the bigger potential:”bang”

Approximate BTU for comparison in US Gallons multiply by 125 for Imperial measure. Twist numbers for metric. Link to BTU

Btu 1 Barrel US (42 gallons) of crude oil = 5,800,000
Btu 1 gallon of gasoline = 124,000
Btu1 gallon of diesel fuel = 139,000
Btu1 gallon of heating oil = 139,000
Btu 1 barrel of residual fuel oil = 6,287,000
Btu1 cubic foot of natural gas = 1,031 Btu1 gallon of propane = 91,000
Btu1 short ton of coal = 20,754,000
Btu1 kilowatt hour of electricity = 3,412 Btu

Fire Departments will have taken a town inventory along the lines of exactly where bulk storage is in their community. Underground tanks included. Also which buildings and/or businesses have gas cylinders stored in them! Addresses and co operation of tenant is imperative! Fire departments will always consider the limited use of water in order to protect the ground water from poison run off.

When a fire department considers a toxic gas escape from transportation or gas line “evacuation” or “no evacuation” has to be considered and all stake holders have to be aware and buy into the plan! This doesn’t seem to be happening around Calgary.

Fire departments are usually equipped with limited amounts of chlorine bleach and carbon particle to neutralize poison or pesticide leakage. Incidentally pesticide poising usually appears as “flu like symptoms” and is caused by renal failure, limited or otherwise by absorbing the stuff through your skin and eyes as well as inhaling fumes. These things are “systemic” to everything literally.

One of the most dangerous industrial/domestic chemicals is caustic soda. (Hydrogen Peroxide or Calcium Peroxide). Lye, paint stripper or super cleaner the stuff is insidious! When spilled onto the ground it can remain active in the ground for weeks. The fumes can cause 3 rd degree burns! Think here of pets and bare foot kids. Or, bare bottoms when they sit on a toilet seat where that toilet has recently been cleaned with caustic solution.

When caustic burns it changes the burn location so your body no longer knows its there. This is why months and even years and perhaps surgery are required to allow the body to heal. Full protective clothing and eye protection is a must. There are no second chances with this stuff. The First World War prompted the mix of flame throwers with caustic gel so wounds wouldn’t heal. Object to tie up more people.

Many civic fire Departments foster a faster arrival time by having what is essentially a passenger vehicle arrive on site in a very short period of time. This time is then given out as a response time where in reality the Pumper, Tanker and hose trucks do not arrive until some time later.

In most states the fire department is in charge of all aspects when called! If the police phone the fire deparment, the police step down when they arrive.

In some US states jurisdition remains with the fire department until they leave the scene. For this reason they will park a fire marshal pickup truck on the lawn to maintain a legal presence.

Determine what “response time” means when discussing.

Many of you may recognize me from the lecturer and trainer for “The Dangerous Goods Training School”.

I’m open for questions or speaking engagements.
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