Ken O’Neill, Lothians’ newest independent candidate, is attending a discussion on plans to extract oil from tar sands and the building of a super-pipeline through Northern Alberta, Canada. The Royal Bank of Scotland, which the taxpayers own 84% of, is financing companies mining tar sands and planning to support the pipeline plans.
Mr O’Neill said:
The plans to extract oil from the tar sands in Northern Alberta will cause wide-scale environmental damage. The 1,170 kilometre long oil pipeline will cross over 50 First Nations communities and 785 watercourses. Not only will the extraction damage the land, but the pipeline will as well. The plans take no account of the indigenous people living in the area, with profit the only focus. The public own the majority of RBS and I doubt many would want to see UK tax money used to destroy someone else’s land in the pursuit of profit. This is not the sort of project that I want Scotland associated with and people should make their feelings known to the bank.
While I know that we need energy to go about our daily lives, there are better solutions than our continued over-reliance on dirty fuels like oil. Likewise, as a country we need a forward looking analysis of our energy needs with an accompanying strategy to meet these demands. This should have an emphasis on long-term provision rather than short-term gains. The strategy has to include all forms of renewable energy, such as tidal wave technology, wind turbines and geo-thermal energy.
However, we also need to realise that not everything that is labelled as ‘bio’ is environmentally friendly, so we have to consider all aspects before reaching a decision. That’s why I am against the proposed biomass plant in Leith, which will use more energy to run than it generates. The proposed plant intends to import timber from the Americas to burn to produce energy here. Instead we should look for other, better options. One of these is the creation of an anaerobic digestion plant, where micro-organisms break down food waste material to release energy. Given the number of hotels, bars and restaurants in the Lothians, this is something we can do to help our environment. Businesses would also benefit, as they would pay less to have their waste collected.
Friends of the Earth Scotland are organising tonight’s event – RBS: Back to Black? Vote NO to tar sands at the People’s AGM. The meeting is taking place at Edinburgh University’s Chaplaincy in Bristo Square.
The proposed Leith biomass plant would sit 200 metres from local housing, with a 120m high chimney, emitting toxins and generating increased lorry traffic and pollution. More information is available on the No to Leith Biomass Plant website.