Thanks to Dr. Jennifer Roberts, ClimateXChange Postdoctoral Fellow at Strathclyde University, for letting us know that the NB Electricity Futures Citizen Jury we ran in October 2015 was included as a case in a policy brief they published. The brief, Experts and evidence in public decision making, was released this month in hopes it will inform the consultations that have been recently launched by Scottish Government on the theme of climate change and energy. We are thrilled at this news of offshore research impact.
The previous post received a constructive reply from George Porter, head of the Mactaquac project for NB Power. He gave responses to some of the explicit questions I asked (excerpted with permission):
Q Who would own the land uncovered if the dam was removed?
A NB Power owns the vast majority of this property and is taking no position at this time as to what it would do with the land after a dam removal. Should the dam be removed, NB Power anticipates that an extensive multi-party planning exercise would be undertaken to establish an appropriate approach to land disposition, development, and use.
Q How might post-dam remediation proceed and how long does it typically take to stabilize and green up?
A This is explored in detail in the draft Comparative Environmental Review report posted online September 21, 2015. Chapter 9 is available for you here.
Q What is left down there, in terms of infrastructure, cultural sites, or sediments (and their associated environmental legacies such as chemical residue or toxins from upriver industry and agriculture)?
A Some of these subjects are being explored by the Canadian Rivers Institute. As their research is completed it is being made public on their website.
Q How do the First Nations communities feel?
A It would not be appropriate for NB Power to unilaterally assess and articulate how the first nations feel about the project. Since 2013, NB Power has been engaging with First Nations in a separate and deliberate process to ensure their rights and interests are considered in advance of the recommended path forward.
He also invited further explanation of my critique, as well as suggestions for how to improve the process. I sat down on the weekend to reply. Here is the full text of my response.
The short documentary from our October 2015 citizen jury on electrical futures in New Brunswick, led by Tom Beckley at UNB, is now available for viewing online. Another great product from the UNB Media Production team, who also did our Mactaquac Revisited houseboat tour video in 2013. The Energy Transitions team is looking forward to its next meeting at this year’s ISSRM in Houghton, Michigan, where I am co-convening a stream of 5 sessions on energy landscapes and transitions.
On Sunday, 12 New Brunswickers deliberated based on a ‘crash course’ on energy the day before, and settled on what they hoped for a 2040 energy mix for the province. This was part of the NB Electrical Energy Futures Jury that culminated data collection in our energy transitions research project funded by SSHRC in 2012. The mix is described in a letter to the Minister of Energy and Mines for New Brunswick, and is now the subject of a press release by UNB. Organizer and colleague Prof Tom Beckley spoke to CBC Fredericton about it on Wednesday morning.
Our energy jurors completed a pre-test last night to indicate what they preferred in the future energy mix of the province of New Brunswick. With the above diversity in the group, it will be fascinating to see how the consensus process proceeds tomorrow.