Action Alert: Call Minister Mel Knight on his Biased Nuclear Panel — Demand Action Now!

Sierra Club of Canada — Prairie Chapter

What began as concern early last week over the Alberta government's close ties to the nuclear industry, with nuclear giant Bruce Power hiring former Conservative campaign manager Randy Dawson, ended in yet a stonger confirmation of their pro-nuclear stance with the recent formation of Energy Minister Mel Knight's Nuclear Panel. Drawing widespread opposition for its obvious nuclear bias, the current panel has 4 members — all of whose expertise is primarily in business and energy economics and policy. One panelist, John Luxat, used to be the president of the Canadian Nuclear Society, a pro-nuclear lobby group. The nuclear panel of "experts" lacks environmental and health experts and is proof that Stelmach’s government is biased regarding the issue of Nuclear Energy. Opposition to the panel is building, and concern about the health, safety, social, economic, and environmental impacts related to nuclear energy are growing!

Sierra Club Prairie Chapter Director, Lindsay Telfer, had the opportunity to speak with Minister Knight last week. Minister Knight refused to admit that his panel appointees were in any way biased — insisting that they are all “experts” and are perfectly capable of doing research and reporting on their findings. This process, however, is disrupted when at least one of the panellists is a known pro-nuclear “expert” with strong ties to the industry, while other panelists are businessmen and economists — not Health and Environment experts! Minister Knight was unwilling, at that moment, to change the make-up of the panel, or to add any environmental or health experts to the mix — and he continues to call the panel unbiased!

Since announcing the panel, which the government has charged with examining the environmental, safety, and other concerns related to nuclear energy, Minister Knight has been getting increasing heat for the obvious pro-nuclear bias of his panel in both the media and the legislature — and now it's Albertans' turn!

You can help challenge the Stelmach government, demand Minister Knight change his Nuclear Expert Panel, and keep Alberta Nuclear free! There are two actions needed to turn up the heat for Minister Mel Knight and the Alberta Government:

  1. Call Energy Minister Mel Knight at (780) 427-3740 and demand that an actual, unbiased panel be created that includes independent environmental and health experts! Calling the Minister will take only 5-10 minutes – lets turn up the heat and get the government to pay attention to Albertans!
  2. Email Energy Minister Mel Knight at ([email protected]) with a cc. to Premier Ed Stelmach ([email protected]) with the same message as above! Please bcc:[email protected] so that we can keep track of how many emails get sent in to the Minister and Stelmach!

Here are some points to consider when calling and emailing:

  • A panel without an environmental or health expert is unacceptable to Albertans. Especially when some of the top concerns for Albertans around nuclear energy are nuclear waste, environmental impacts and health concerns. The current panelists do not have the expertise to adequately review these issues, and no one can argue that having someone in a related field on the panel would ensure the best information possible on these critical concerns. There are Canadian academics who have the experience and expertise on these issues, and they should be represented on the panel.
  • Mel Knight must agree to reassess the panel and provide a more balanced representation of the multiple perspectives involved in the Nuclear issue. In particular, pro-nuclear safety "expert" John Luxat should either be removed from the panel for his public pro-nuclear bias, or an anti-nuclear panelist should be added to balance out the panel.
  • Nuclear energy is not safe, clean or green, nor is it a solution to climate change.
  • Albertans want the government to invest in clean, safe renewable energy sources, and promotes energy conservation. Nuclear should not be an option!

This panel was clearly created with a pro-nuclear bias and we need to call Minister Knight and tell him this is unacceptable!!!

Please forward this on to your friends, neighbors, and groups — let's turn up the heat on Minister Knight!

For a Nuclear Free Alberta,
;) Leila Darwish
Associate Director
Sierra Club of Canada — Prairie Chapter