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Carbon costs upset trustees

SCHOOL BOARDS across the province are frustrated with having to pay to offset greenhouse gas emissions with the money eventually ending up being used by private corporations.

For the 2010 fiscal year, Coast Mountains School District dished out $63,400 to purchase carbon offsets from a provincial crown corporation.

Michael McEvoy, president of the BC School Trustees Association, said the Pacific Carbon Trust (PCT) crown corporation then pays private companies to reduce their own emissions.

The opinion was echoed in Terrace by Coast Mountain chair Barry Pankhurst at the district’s May 11 meeting.

Pankhurst suggested the board draft a letter in reaction in support of the trustees association, emphasizing the wish of local trustees that money paid by school boards stay in the area.

It should then be used by the boards and other public facilities to lower their emissions, said the chairman.

“I don’t know of any board that doesn’t support the green plan, just don’t give it to private corporations give it to school boards and hospitals,” Pankhurst said.

He said there are a lot of projects this district could come up with to use that money.

The Pacific Carbon Trust was created by the province as a way   to counter greenhouse gasses.

Polluters would have to buy offsets to compensate for their emissions while the crown corporation

Last year – 2010 – was the first year the province required school districts to record their greenhouse gas emissions and bring their carbon footprint down to zero.

PCT recently sold 84, 000 tones of greenhouse gas emission offsets to energy giant EnCana Corporation.

According to the province this money will be used on lowering emissions from a  natural gas drilling project near Fort Nelson.

“I am sure there are a lot of windows in Kitimat that could be replaced with this money,” Pankhurst said.

Terrace trustee Diana Penner agreed with Pankhurst, saying it would be nice to encourage the government to give back to the community from which the money was taken, so the community could put that money back into local green initiatives.

The Pacific Carbon Trust-EnCana has also been criticized because the crown corporation won’t release what EnCana paid.

 

“Even a child can figure out we don’t sack a teacher to help a polluter,” NDP education critic Robin Austin said during debate on the issue. Critics also said taking money from the public sector and passing it through to a private company subsidizes that company.

 

 

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