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FORTIS and the kiss of death....

Posted By: Debbie

FORTIS and the kiss of death.... - 02/28/02 06:59 PM

Well my fellow Belize lovers.... I read an article this morning, (and damned if I could figure out how to get it on this board)about the Chillilo dam. It was most distressing. Apparently, there has been an appeal for the go ahead on this dam on the Macal River. There have been some laws broken, and it's holding it up... BUT the fact is, the roads were cleared to the damn site even before the approval!!! (This article had pictures of bulldozers with front loaders full of tropical plants. I wish I could figure out how to get this article on here.) Anyway. There will be letters and petitions taken to the appeal on March 1st. If you're interested, go to this site and make your opinion known. http://www.stopfortis.org
We all love Belize. Let's help her out here.
Debbie

Marty!! Can you help me get this article on here?????

[This message has been edited by Debbie (edited 02-28-2002).]

[This message has been edited by Debbie (edited 02-28-2002).]
Posted By: ckocian

Re: FORTIS and the kiss of death.... - 02/28/02 09:05 PM

PRESS ADVISORY
February 27, 2002
Newfoundland company urged to cancel Belize dam

This Friday, Newfoundland activist Greg Malone will present
Fortis Inc. with 30,000 signed petitions from around the world
protesting the company's proposed dam in the rainforest of
Belize, Central America.

Malone will present the petitions at a press conference on
Friday, March 1, 2002, at 11:00 am, at the Fairmont
Newfoundland Hotel, in St. John's, on behalf of a coalition
of Belizean environmental groups (BACONGO) and the
Washington-based Natural Resources Defense Council.

Newfoundlanders are among those urging Fortis to cancel its
proposed dam in Belize, adding their signatures to the
international Stop Fortis campaign at <www.stopfortis.org>.

"We know how Fortis operates. We fought its takeover
of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro and just look
what Quebec got from the Upper Churchill," says Malone.

Fortis President and CEO, Stanley Marshall, has been invited
to accept the petitions on Friday and respond to public
concerns about his company's plans to dam Belize's Macal
River Valley.

"Fortis intends to make obscene profits on the backs of
the people of Belize," says Sharon Matola, a BACONGO
member and leader in the fight to stop the Chalillo dam. "We
already pay Fortis three times what Canadians pay for
their electricity."

Fortis owns Belize's electric utility and expects to charge
Belizeans $800 million over the next 50 years for the
combined output from the Chalillo dam and an existing hydro
facility further downstream.

BACONGO has filed a lawsuit against the Belize government
for granting a conditional clearance to Fortis for the dam's
construction before completing its environmental review. A
preliminary hearing will be held in Belize City on Thursday,
February 28.

Groups in Belize and Canada also charge that the dam's
environmental assessment, paid for by the Canadian
International Development Agency, contains major errors
and omissions.

-30-

For more information CONTACT:

Greg Malone, St. John's, Newfoundland
Tel. (709) 722-7775
[email protected]

Gráinne Ryder, Policy Director,
Probe International, Toronto
Tel. (416) 964-9223 ext. 228
[email protected]
Posted By: sweetjane

Re: FORTIS and the kiss of death.... - 02/28/02 09:47 PM

thank you both. i have added my name to the petition.
Posted By: Debbie

Re: FORTIS and the kiss of death.... - 03/01/02 12:41 AM

Thank you ckocian!!!! That wasn't the article that I referred to but it had almost the exact same information. The one I read had some good pictures attached, that really made your heart ache. Also talked about how the only known nesting ground for scarlett macaws will be flooded....... How tragic!!! This bird was highly regarded by the ancient Mayans. Shame!!
And thank you Sweetjane for your support! Anyone else???
Posted By: munichchick

Re: FORTIS and the kiss of death.... - 03/01/02 01:41 AM

I signed the petition and had it also sent to about 10 other people through the site.
I also posted Debbie's note on the Bill-in Tulsa Board and the Playa del Carmen Board.
Hopefully some of these people also care about Belize and sign. These boards are busy and lots of people will see the post.
Posted By: Marty

Re: FORTIS and the kiss of death.... - 03/01/02 02:19 AM

Debbie, email me at [email protected] anytime you need some help posting something....
Posted By: susangg

Re: FORTIS and the kiss of death.... - 03/01/02 02:40 AM

People like the owners of Fortis do not respond to moral suasion...only to threats of economic ruination, like litigation and lowering their stock price.
Hence, we should all search our portfolios and DUMP any Fortis stock we might hold.
All my savings are in socially responsible mutual funds (Citizens Index) and I am going to search their prospectus and see if Fortis is by any chance there, and if it is, I will ask them to divest.
If you have any Fortis, DUMP it, and let Fortis know why you are dumping it.
The boycott is one of the most effective weapons that We The People can wield. Remember Rosa Parks and the bus boycott?
Maybe we can start a worldwide movement to DUMP FORTIS STOCK and make them hurt in the only part of their bodies (wallet) that is capable of feeling pain.
Posted By: truebelize

Re: FORTIS and the kiss of death.... - 03/01/02 05:05 PM

Going after Fortis is a good start.

Be aware, however, that it is the government of Belize that has the real power to stop this project.

If they really cared about the rainforest as they claim in their ectourism leaflets they would STOP FORTIS.

It's up to you out there.....pressure Fortis AND the Government of Belize and you'll STOP FORTIS.
Posted By: ckocian

Re: FORTIS and the kiss of death.... - 03/01/02 05:41 PM

Some of you may remember Captain Nicolas Sanchez of tour guide fame in Belize City? He is in Toronto these days and communing with the StopFortis group. It is he who has provided some of the recent information I've gotten about the efforts in Canada.
Posted By: Denny Shane

Re: FORTIS and the kiss of death.... - 03/01/02 07:13 PM

Thanks Deb.... I went this morning and signed the petition.
Posted By: Pilgrim

Re: FORTIS and the kiss of death.... - 03/01/02 09:55 PM

Just want to let you know I'm onboard.
Enough already.
Judi
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: FORTIS and the kiss of death.... - 03/01/02 10:16 PM

Hi Deb,
I have signed! Thanks for bringing this to our attention!
Miss you!
Vicki
Posted By: Pilgrim

Re: FORTIS and the kiss of death.... - 03/02/02 01:59 AM

Debbie...thank you. After I electronically signed the petition this a.m. I started looking at Fortis. For shame. They are REALLY doing our planted a diservice.
Wish everyone who frequents the message boards would sign the petition.
The below is posted at Fortis, Inc's website.
"Fortis wields power. Its Newfoundland Power utility distributes electricity to 215,000 residential, commercial, and industrial customers in its namesake province, and its Maritime Electric utility serves another 66,000 customers in Prince Edward Island. Canadian Niagara Power, a joint venture with Niagara Mohawk Holdings, distributes electricity in Ontario and markets wholesale energy in North America. Wholly owned subsidiary FortisUS Energy operates four hydroelectric generating plants in New York. Fortis also holds stakes in energy generation, transmission, and distribution companies in Belize and the Cayman Islands. Non-utility interests include real estate and hotels; it has sold its financial services business."
Judi
Posted By: Debbie

Re: FORTIS and the kiss of death.... - 03/02/02 09:40 PM

Thank you all so much for your support!!! I'm brimming with tears at your concern and the time you've taken to reasearch this and take a stand. This is why I love this board so much. you ALL are truly good people, and the force that will make this planet a better place. I have since found out the people of New Foundland are so angry at what FORTIS did to their own country, and communities and it's people, that they are Belizes number one supporters. They are picketing the FORTIS offices and have taken huge action in this appeal. Several countries have suffered at FORTIS' hand, coming in under the guise of "helping" them and then destroy their environment, filthy up the communities and then TRIPLE thier utility rates!!! It's scandelous..... I WILL be checking my investments as stated above. That's an excellent idea. Thank you all so very, very, much!!!! [Linked Image]
As I stated in my opinion area on the petition, these people are GLOBAL CRIMINALS. Right up there with the likes of the Taliban!!!!!
Debbie

[This message has been edited by Debbie (edited 03-02-2002).]
Posted By: Pilgrim

Re: FORTIS and the kiss of death.... - 03/03/02 05:03 PM

Chocian...do you know if anyone in Belize is looking at alternative sources of energy. Sun and/or wind are both plentiful.
Posted By: ckocian

Re: FORTIS and the kiss of death.... - 03/03/02 06:00 PM

I think anyone who has access to electric utilities uses it, with a few possible exceptions. A few remote resorts use alternative sources, but in the absence of the electric utility anyone who has to be connected (i.e.businesses) uses a diesel generator.
Posted By: Debbie

Re: FORTIS and the kiss of death.... - 03/03/02 08:45 PM

It has just come to my attention, that a certain conservation group is willing to offer paying a percentage of Belize's debts in return for putting the rainforests off limits..... This would free up money for Belize to do other things... What do you all think of this????
Debbie
Posted By: susangg

Re: FORTIS and the kiss of death.... - 03/03/02 10:12 PM

Pilgrim: I saw one lonely wind turbine on a trip to the north part of AC on my last trip. Why aren't there more people using wind and solar? Belize is one of the best places in the world to use this sustainable combination, especially on the coasts, where most of the people live. So why don't they?
Because Belizean law makes it very expensive to use these things. In many countries, people are encouraged to use alternative energy because they can engage in "net-metering" (you put in wind or solar or both and your electrical meter runs backward, thereby reducing your bill.) But in Belize, that's illegal because it is considered "selling power" and that violates the monopoly law.
Because solar panels and wind turbines are expensive, the customs duties are correspondingly high. This discourages the few people who can afford such things from importing them and the government gets its wish: nobody using sustainable energy and the utility monopoly continues to gouge the people. Presumably, the monopoly owners show their "gratitude" to those who wrote the monopoly laws in "appropriate" ways, though of course, I have no personal knowledge ofthat.
In many developing countries, manufacturers of alternative energy equipment (like Bergey wind turbines, for example) join with NGO's and local and national governments to put in demonstration projects in areas where people desperately need power. But not in Belize, because the government does not allow it, since it competes with "grateful" monopolies.
And now, the government is promising people "cheaper" energy from that planned eco-disaster, the Challilo Dam, to be owned by the same people who own the current monopoly. Of course, it won't be cheaper, and the country will go bankrupt paying for it, while a substantial chunk of pristine rain forest will be flooded.
...and so it goes.....
Posted By: Pilgrim

Re: FORTIS and the kiss of death.... - 03/03/02 10:35 PM

susangg...thanks for the insight.
The conservatory intervention sounds great. Who are they?
Will the global distruction never end?
"HELLO...can you hear me" cries our planet.
Posted By: truebelize

Re: FORTIS and the kiss of death.... - 03/04/02 03:33 AM

There is a huge wind turbine field near to Xcalak just north of the Ambergris Caye/Mexico border. It's a massive eyesore on the coast. I don't even know if it is a working field. Wind power for the masses would mean more of these. And the costs are massive.

Solar power is wildly expensive when applied to mass electrical generation. It's OK for home water heating but even when used to power a small hotel the costs are prohibitive compared to diesel electricity.

Belize really only has the population (and therefore the paying power) of a small US city. The alternatives to the dam are importing electricity from Mexico (as is already the case) and a properly managed modern efficient diesel generation scheme here in Belize.
Posted By: Pilgrim

Re: FORTIS and the kiss of death.... - 03/04/02 04:52 AM

www.nrdc.org has a Fortis protest letter they will send for you. Click on "stop the dam".
Posted By: susangg

Re: FORTIS and the kiss of death.... - 03/04/02 09:13 AM

I don't agree that wind turbines are an "eyesore." Remember the old fashioned windmills that used to be seen next to the old farmhouses? It was just part of the farm scenery. I guess its a matter of personal taste.
As for cost, yes, wind and solar are expensive if everybody has to put in their own and if you have no other means of power. With enough use, economies of scale will develop and,like everything else, prices will come down (solar prices have already come down quite a bit over the last 5-10 years.)
However, as I indicated, there are many demonstration projects being funded, at least partially, by a NGO's and manufacturers. If you go to the www.bergey.com web site, you will read about them, one of them is in Xaclac, a village very close to Ambergris Caye. They use a combination of wind, solar and diesel.
Typically, many of the largest power consumers (hotels and resorts) are most able to afford sustainable energy.
The other thing that makes it affordable is net-metering, which eventually makes the solar/wind pay for itself. Unfortunately, the Belize monopoly law forbids this.
There are other alternatives, such as the use of biomass to make energy (another sustainable technology), to fossil fuels.
I guess my point is that there is no quick fix and no single solution but we sure don't have to destroy a beautiful rain forest and put the country into bankruptcy in order to have power.
Posted By: truebelize

Re: FORTIS and the kiss of death.... - 03/04/02 05:06 PM

the wind field close to Xcalak is a MASSIVE eyesore. It must cover acres of land.

I do not want the dam either. But what are the PRACTICAL alternatives?

Belize's electricity needs can be provided by importation of electricity from Mexico (for the northern part of the country) plus installation of modern diesel turbines.

Yes, resorts etc. can afford solar power (still MUCH more expensive than commercial electricity), but what about regular users?

If California, rich in sun and wind and dollars, can't afford to generate even 1/10th their electricity needs with solar and wind technology, how can anyone reasonably expect poor little Belize to afford these sources?

If we are going to stop Fortis and their hare-brained rain forest destroying dam scheme we need to point to reasonable alternatives. Solar and wind, as attractive as they look are simply NOT affordable or practical for Belize.

On a footnote....it would be interesting to see what an Iris or a Keith would do to a multi-billion dollar wind generation field......
Posted By: Debbie

Re: FORTIS and the kiss of death.... - 03/04/02 05:21 PM

After reading all this, sounds like the first thing to do is get the damned laws changed. but what's the likelyhood of that??? Maybe these lawsuits that are happpening will expose enough of the under the table crap that's going on to make a dent..... Politicians hate to get caught "with their pants down". (Take Bill Clinton for example... tee hee hee) Seriously. If Belize is fortunate enough to get some really high powered, financially backed, and saavy lawyers, it start the winds of change.... I'm being overly optimistic here I know, but I can't give up hope just yet....
For those of you interested, Marty was able to get my article on the message board. If you would like to read it, it's on the forum: Other parts of Belize. Look under: Belize Dam Approval Challenged in Court.
Debbie

[This message has been edited by Debbie (edited 03-04-2002).]

[This message has been edited by Debbie (edited 03-04-2002).]
Posted By: ckocian

Re: FORTIS and the kiss of death.... - 03/04/02 07:11 PM

The best we, as observers and outsiders, can hope is that there is a lot of good stuff going on behind closed doors and in the hearts and minds of GOB politicians and officials. Though that is sure not apparent from the looks of things.

I know one thing: they don't like us speculating and telling them what they can and can't do even though we might have a really good grasp of the obvious.

[This message has been edited by ckocian (edited 03-04-2002).]
Posted By: susangg

Re: FORTIS and the kiss of death.... - 03/04/02 08:41 PM

Dear True:

The single most important step in getting affordable power to the people of Belize is to REPEAL THE MONOPOLY LAW and institute:
1. Competitive bidding for government-paid power and
2. Free competition to the private sector.

Let towns, villages, communities, businesses and individuals purchase power in any way they wish from anyone they wish to buy from.

As to what methods are best for power, I do not think any country can rely on just one thing. Environmental, financial and availability factors differ in different parts of the country and for different uses.
I think the way to go is a combination of:
1. What we have now (a national "grid" relying on purchased power from Mexico
2. Large diesels
3. Biomass power generation
4. Wind energy
5. Solar energy
6. and, when it becomes available, fuel cell technology.
7. Hydro electric (but no giant monopoly dams. Check out the Five Sisters Lodge in Cayo for a fantastic example of sustainable use of hydro electric power.

As far as California is concerned, I am in California. The "power crisis" DOES NOT EXIST there -- except as a "political crisis." It was manufactured by a few large corporations (including, by the way, Enron.

FYI: Solar and wind are being increasingly used, but one of the impeding factors has been the monopoly (yup, we have them too!) utilities (here in Norcal, its Pacific Gas and Electric). You have to be something of a "rebel" to get your net metering done.
But it is definitely doable from a technical standpoint.

As far as wind turbines are concerned and their cosmetic appearance, I guess we'll have to agree to disagree. We have many hills with so called "wind farms" on them a few miles from me and I actually think they look kind of neat....

As far as hurricanes toppling them, that's a good point. The older ones used to go down in bad storms. The newer generation are quite sturdy, according to www.bergey.com they have withstood some pretty heavy storms but of course there is always the risk of damage.

There are down sides to everything. But everything will be appropriate to some users and the more a particular technology is used, the cheaper it will become IF THERE IS COMPETITION.

I think fuel cell technology has a lot of promise too, to be very affordable. Not yet available to individual consumers, but just beginning to go online for certain communities in Europe, the US is a bit behind here.
Posted By: trina

Re: FORTIS and the kiss of death.... - 03/05/02 12:09 AM

I have signed petitions, both the "stopfortis" letter, and the National Resources Defence Council letter. And I plan on sending e-mails to friends to do the same. This is truly outrageous. Canada owns the hyrdroelectric....how bizarre. It sounds like a complete monopoly. Oy....let's pray and work for the best.
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