Take Action on Manitoba Hydro
Gregory Scott, Chair
Minnesota Public Utilities Commission
121 Seventh Place East, Suite 350
St. Paul, MN 55101-2147
Re: Docket Number E-002/M-99-888
Dear Mr. Scott and members of the Public Utilities Commission:
I urge you to reject Northern States Power's proposed new contract with Manitoba Hydro. Since the 1970s, Manitoba Hydro has rerouted rivers and dammed lakes in 50,000 square miles of boreal forest, greatly damaging the environment. Flooding caused by the power project has also washed out 3 million acres of traditional Pimicikamak Cree land. And to meet increased energy demand, Manitoba Hydro will have to build even more dams.
Very large hydropower projects of the type built by Manitoba Hydro cannot be considered renewable energy. Mega-hydropower production requires large-scale flooding of vast areas of land, which in turn alters natural water-flow patterns and displaces or destroys wildlife and other native species. It also causes the release of methane gas, a greenhouse gas.
Manitoba Hydro currently sells electricity to NSP at a rate that does not reflect the true environmental and human cost of its production. As a result, NSP's purchase of low-cost electricity from Canada discourages development of locally produced renewable electricity. Furthermore, the availability of cheap electricity discourages moves toward energy conservation that could reduce Minnesota's and America's reliance on this harmful hydropower.
Policymaking bodies such as the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission must consider more than the cost of electricity when approving utility contracts. As an environmentalist and as a citizen, I urge you to vote against the proposed contract between NSP and Manitoba Hydro.