Everyone knows about truth being the first casualty of war. And of environmental battles, it would seem.
So far, there are at least four identifiable forces in the debate over the gasification plant. One is Save Kamloops. Another is Aboriginal Cogeneration Corp. the proponent. A third is that large mass of people who realize they aren’t scientists, never will be scientists, and are waiting to be convinced one way or another. A fourth would be those who believe the project is environmentally safe and that it will, in fact, be good for the environment.
I count myself as a member of the third — I want evidence, not just speeches. Because I’ve declared that to be so, I’m now being accused of, horror of horrors, being a supporter. I don’t know yet whether I’m a supporter, but I really want to come to an opinion on my own, based on facts, not on the rhetoric of opposition.
That rhetoric, by the way, includes suggestions the plant should be built beside my home. Really smart. It also compares this gasification plant with Bhophal and Chernobyl and other major catastrophies in which tens of thousands died or were sickened. And this opposition is supposed to be putting up a credible argument?
Let me give you another example of how things become exaggerated. Early on, the number 2.5 million was being used as the number of excess railway ties in need of disposal. In the excitement that has come with the granting of the MOE permit, that number has grown to 28 million, and even 100 million, and every single one of them seems to be heading for Kamloops.
I think it’s just fine that Save Kamloops is going to bring a UBC prof. to town to talk about the airshed, but you and I and they know full well they’ve picked him because he’s on their side of the argument. It’s like choosing an expert witness in a trial. You find somebody who agrees with you. Why not sponsor someone from the other side, like maybe the engineer who designed the gasifier, to speak the same night?
Better that fear-mongering, but the rhetoric of mud-slinging and exaggeration, I fear, may be just beginning.