Letters to the Editor

Rio Tinto can afford to minimize emissions

Dear Sir:

The economics of life versus the economics of wealth.

We don't need more tons of sulphur dioxide in our air, water and soil. The Northwest already has more health problems than the lower mainland and we have a much harder time accessing equal health care.

How much is your child's health worth? How much is your grandmother's or grandfather's life worth? How much is the health of our environment worth? What is the fair rate of compensation for multinational executives? How many of our children and elders should we sacrifice for the good of those executives?

Nowadays high rolling executives expect more luxury than most kings did in the past. One home is not enough. Two homes are not enough. They must have the equivalent income of a thousand ordinary Canadians.

The shareholders of Rio Tinto and its executives are staking the size of their dividends and bonuses on the indifference of our provincial government to our children's misery.

Our children's health will suffer from doubling the amount of sulphur dioxide emissions. They will suffer, I believe, from more respiratory ailments and more of our elders will die from the same.

Sulphur dioxide is not kind to the lungs of asthmatics and they are being told not to exercise as that makes it worse in a sulphur dioxide environment. I have two children who suffer from asthma which is a fast growing problem in Canada connected to environmental pollutants.

I don't think that any executive's compensation is worth the agony that our children might experience as a result. I cannot imagine anything worse than seeing your child struggle to breathe. It is then that we appreciate how fragile our life really is. I think that the investors in Rio Tinto and the managers of Rio Tinto should be ashamed of themselves for proposing a doubling of the SO2 emissions.

Rio Tinto is one of the richest companies in the world and it can well afford to pay for an expensive, state of the art, pollution control system.

They, however, seem to be gambling that our government will allow them to take a pass at protecting our health and the health of our environment which will allow them to pocket millions of dollars in savings maybe as much as a hundred million dollars.

Don't forget that this company makes billions of dollars in profits. I appreciate the fact that that they have reduced the emissions of other poisons but I cannot accept that they will double the emissions of SO2 in order to reward their investors and managers.

Why is my life less valuable than the comfort and privilege of Rio Tinto shareholders?

Why are the lives of my neighbours not worth the same as the lives of their shareholders in London and New York. People here should not have to choose between work and health and life.

We should be able to rely on our governments to nudge large companies in the right and honourable direction. In 2013 we should not be in this place of considering a doubling of SO2 into our watershed.

We have the technology to capture those gasses that are so destructive to our health and we have a voice to demand better treatment from our government and from our foreign multinationals.

Come on Rio Tinto, you can do the right thing! I urge everyone who lives here in this beautiful valley to write our MLA, the minister of the environment, and Rio Tinto and express their feelings about releasing more sulphur dioxide and acid rain into our valley.

Noel Reidy,

Terrace, B.C.

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