By Sage Birchwater –


Thick smoke clogging the airshed of Williams Lake for the second summer in a row drives home the realization how precious clean fresh air is to our health and happiness.

It is difficult enough tolerating smoke from distant wildfires, but what if Atlantic Power was burning railway ties at the same time? How many citizens would want to take even one breath of air that also contains dioxins and furans from burning millions of rail ties in Williams Lake every year?

That’s the dilemma facing our community as government regulators consider an appeal by a group of local citizens opposing a permit granted to Atlantic Power Corporation of Boston, Massachusetts permitting them to burn up to 50 per cent of the bio-fuel in its Williams Lake Energy Plant as railway ties.

If you think dust, potholes, and crime make Williams Lake an undesirable place to live, just consider what poison air and a contaminated environment will do for our popularity.

How many professionals, retirees, and families with young children will want to live here?

The local citizens’ group Rail Ties Be Wise feels that importing, processing, and burning rail ties in Williams Lake puts our whole community in harm’s way.

The smoke from wildfires is a choking reminder of just how vital clean air really is. Dioxins and furans piggybacking and hitchhiking into our bodies on the backs of smoke particulates is a sinister scenario we can and should avoid.

If you want to learn more about what this group is doing or want to join the initiative to prevent rail tie burning in Williams Lake, log onto Click on the link to send a letter to Energy Minister Michelle Mungall urging BC Hydro not to purchase energy generated from burning railway ties.

You can also sign the LeadNow online petition to the Energy Minister:, or sign postcards found at various businesses in Williams Lake that will be hand-delivered to Minister Mungall.

Sage Birchwater, Williams Lake


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