Friday, 10 August 2007

Rabaska LNG Plant: Proponents Plan PR Campaign

Proponents of the Rabaska liquid natural gas facility, proposed for a site just across the river from Quebec City, are not going to let opposition get away with challenging the plan. Le Devoir reported Thursday that elected officials in Lévis, the town which would be home to facility, and elsewhere in the Chaudière-Appalaches region will soon start a public relations campaign to convince doubters the plan is a good one, and that people in the area support it.

At the same time, Konrad Yakabuski, the Globe and Mail’s Quebec business specialist, argued in Thursday’s G&M that “Quebec would actually be doing itself - and the planet - a favour if it imported more natural gas for domestic use to free up more of its hydroelectricity for export." This would allow buyers in Ontario and the U.S. “to rely less on the worst greenhouse gas culprits - coal and oil - to produce electricity.” Quebeckers waste too much electricity, he added, largely because it is so low-priced here.

He’s partially right about waste, of course. Energy conservation has to be part of any environmental plan. But encouraging restraint is never very sexy, while the desire for jobs in small centres where most industry has left is understandable. The solution to many of this problems is going to come through education and--how can one put it otherwise?--that kind of persuasive propaganda we call public relations. Those elected officials in Lévis and environs understand that. Let's hope the other side does too.

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