Archive for March, 2017

Beware NP, Hydro Quebec’s Way of Going

March 23, 2017

To understand reservations New Hampshire people have for Hydro Quebec/Eversource’s Northern Pass on our health, we need to know the story of Hydro Quebec’s takeover of Hydro power in Labrador at Churchill Falls. See “The Churchill Falls Contract and why Newfoundlanders can’t get over it” by James P. Feehan, Melvin Baker, 9/1/2010.

Here’s the history: Quebec was uncomfortable when Labrador’s water rights were established in 1927, and would not allow Labrador hydropower to be transmitted across Quebec territory to markets in Ontario or the US.

In 1958, the British Newfoundland Corp. (BRINCO) received extensive land and water rights to Newfoundland and Labrador and created the Hamilton Falls Power Co (HFPCo), later renamed Churchill Falls Labrador Corp. (CFLCo) as a federally incorporated subsidiary. The Shawinigan Engineering Co. bought a 20 percent interest.

In 1962, the Quebec government decided to nationalize all privately-owned electricity generating companies in the province. As a result, Shawingan Engineering’s 20 percent stake became the property of Hydro Quebec.  Later, HQ drew up a pivotal contract with CFLCo to snag Churchill Falls.

How? Here is the HQ 65 year Contract, agreed to through a corrupt political finesse in 1976 as follows:  From 1976-2016: CFLCo would sell to Hydro Quebec approximately 31 billion MWh/year for a period of 40 years. The price would be 3 mills (3 tenths of a cent) per KWh for the first 5 years, then decline to 2.5 mills for the last 15 years. At the end of 40 years, the contract would “automatically” be renewed for 25 years at 2 mills/KWh.

In 1974, the Quebec government purchased BRINCo’s  65.8  percent of shares. All attempts to renegotiate the contract’s terms failed as energy prices escalated in the 70s and CFLCo had increasing difficulty funding the CF generating station. Hydro Quebec turned a titanic profit on the deal.

2016-2041 – When the contract was renewed at 2 mills (2 tenths of a cent) per KWh for 25 more years, Hydro Quebec could resell its energy for 85 mills (8.5 cents) per KWh.

It does not take rocket science to recognize how HydroQuebec makes its money. Or how ruthless is its way of going within the province it shares with Newfoundland. Or how senseless NH would be to allow HQ to cross New Hampshire territory to markets in MA and NY.

The new HQ moneymaker would be to strap New Hampshire with the albatross of the Northern Pass and stifle further development of clean energy such as solar and yet to be developed other forms of bona fide renewable energy. New forms of energy could potentially save our forests, our culture, our watersheds, our wildlife, our tourist industry, our real estate, our lives.

Please read and consider the following link and mark your calendar: https://manchesterinklink.com/northern-pass-foes-plan-circle-state-house-april-23

Your Body’s Many Cries for Water

March 16, 2017

So goes the title of a rare book by F. Batmanghelidj, an Iranian born, British educated physician. Following medical school, he relocated to Iran to help establish hospitals and medical centers there.

In 1979, Dr. B. was imprisoned during the Iranian Revolution but managed to survive because the prison needed a doctor. One night, he was called to see a man with a peptic ulcer. He had no meds to treat the condition and told the man to drink two glasses of water and he would return later to check on him. When he did, to his amazement, the man’s condition was much improved. He continued to note the response to just water in other prisoners with other problems.

Dr. B. was released from prison in 1982, escaped from Iran, emigrated to the US, and set up a general practice. The full title of his book is, Your Body’s Many Cries for Water: You are not sick, you are thirsty! Don’t treat thirst with medications.

He attributed many common disease symptoms to dehydration as their root cause, and was careful to check that his clients were well hydrated before prescribing medications. He died in 2004, but his writings, while controversial, are still available on his website, http://www.watercure.com.

Health professionals today routinely encourage people to drink plenty of water. Medication needs water to be distributed throughout the body and keep all systems working well. Our food needs plenty of water to break it up so that it can pass through the wall of our intestines and on to the liver for distribution.

Despite the emphasis on carrying water everywhere we go today, many of us do not drink enough water. Coffee, tea, soda, and beer don’t count. They are dehydrators.

Over-the-counter meds, such as different forms of ibuprophen, taken excessively for chronic pain, can cause liver and kidney damage. If the kidneys’ can’t make enough urine, our bodies will retain too much water instead of using it.

How can we know we’re drinking enough water? What are the signs to be on the lookout for? Thirst is the last sign that we need water. Thirst is a reminder that we haven’t been paying attention to other body signals like pain of any kind, fatigue, dizziness, joint and muscle stiffness, difficulty remembering, following through on instructions, slow healing of injuries, and constipation, to name a few.

Today, potable water is threatened in the world, including the US. We need to provide all our citizens with a safe water supply, now threatened by a pipeline with a potential to contaminate Standing Rock’s supply. How we resolve this problem as a nation will determine water safety of other communities. Our actions today to save our water supply from pipelines and other potential contaminants and overuse, such as aquifers that are being drained due to poor agricultural practices.

What we can do is call or write our Senators and Representatives and urge them to veto harmful  legislation and support efforts to maintain a safe water supply for all our citizens. (http:/Senate.gov. , http:/House.gov. for contact info)

If you decide to check out the power of tap water (6-8 glasses a day), first be sure that your kidneys are making sufficient urine and increase the amount of tap water you drink slowly. Then, just observe the changes!

 

Trees Keep Talking. Are we listening?

March 16, 2017

Every life form on Earth speaks a language. Elephant-speak, Whale-speak, Cricket-speak, Beaver-speak …, you name it. All life forms are talking and we humans are getting a little better now at listening.

Peter Wohlleben, German forester/writer gives us a fascinating link to Tree-speak in his book, The Hidden Life of Trees. Wohlleben describes ways trees communicate with each other, how trees protect themselves from invading insects, lure insect predators to free them, and ensure a continuing replenishment of their families, their contribution to life on the planet. All in addition to supplying us with clean oxygen and recycling our carbon dioxide.

What an example of cooperation trees give us! Just as we log on and share our Internet, trees keep each other posted underground through their mycelium net, a fine fungal network that infinitely connects, signals, and nourishes all plant life. They do this via the web of soil fungi that connects and shares information and goods in what UBC Forest Ecology Professor, Susanne Simard calls the Wood Wide Web. You may remember her from the pbs.org video a few years ago, “What do plants talk about?”

Above ground, in the 1/3 of the forest we can see, trees give off chemical warnings to other trees when invaders attack, whether animals or insects. Trees can smell chemical warnings from other trees. They can even taste the saliva of leaf eating insects and send out a chemical that attracts predators that feed on that particular leaf eating insect.

The mycelium web streams through the 2/3 of the forest below ground that we cannot see. Trees have symbiotic relationships with other trees. Douglas firs like to have birch trees in their community. Birch mycelium provide firs with carbon in summer when Douglas fir is in shade. In the fall, when birch trees lose their leaves, the fir sends its excess carbon to the birch trees. Exchanges go on with nitrogen and other nutrients as they are needed among neighboring trees and plants. Socially, trees will even nourish the stump of a felled tree by feeding it sugars and other nutrients, keeping it alive.

When we think about expanding our energy resources, we need to keep this vital Wood Wide Web in mind. Currently in NH, our Wood Wide Web is being threatened by the Northern Pass Project which plans to disturb this web with either massive tower cement foundations 35’ deep in our NH forest and/or a deep trench disturbing the web alongside secondary roadways, uprooting trees and home plantings, blocking up commuters, school buses, disturbing water supplies with no consideration for the web. In addition, NP plans to build 500 miles of access roads through our forest.

Planners for Route 93 anticipated such needs when the road was built, hence the wide median which could accommodate future energy and transportation needs without disturbing our forests and neighborhoods. However, as we learn more about the 2/3 underground that provides a goldmine of nourishment, we need to be ever more creative in providing clean forms of energy such as solar and as yet undiscovered forms of energy that leave forests intact.

Time to be wary of Big Hydro. Ontario Hydro now has the highest energy rates in North America. Toronto pays 17.81 cents/kWh.  Ottawa pays 16.5 cents/kWh. Big Hydro is not cheap energy, much less environmentally clean. Quebec citizens are currently protesting HQ’s plan to destroy more of Quebec’s forest land to bury a pipeline to NH.