Another front in the war to demonize Canadian hydropower has begun. A Jan. 12 Maine Sunday Telegram article attempts to link an increase of mercury in the food source of Canada’s Inuit population to their hydro dams.

If true, how do you explain Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife warnings against eating fish caught in Maine due to mercury contamination? The northeastern sections of the U.S. and Canada have been referred to as a “tailpipe” because prevailing winds bring us pollutants from fossil fuel-burning power plants in the middle U.S.

The most dangerous airborne pollutant is mercury. The article plays on our romantic notion of noble Inuits fishing and hunting daily to feed their families. If true, I can only imagine the tremendous hardship and dangers those people face fishing and hunting year-round in an area just below the Arctic Circle, especially this time of year. An alternative supplemental food source would help them. Also, a diet predominantly of meat cannot be too healthy for any people.

During my visit to Miscou Island in northeastern New Brunswick last summer, I noticed Canadians were investing in indoor aquaponic farms due to the availability of inexpensive electricity. Inexpensive power allows the production of fresh vegetables year-round, which would be a healthy addition to the Inuit diet.

It would seem more beneficial to the Inuits, and all people of the U.S. and Canadian Northeast, if we shut down fossil fuel power plants of the Midwest for inexpensive and environmentally friendly Canadian hydropower.

Ted Sirois


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