Dawson Creek: Rational Middle’s Crossroads

By Gregory Kallenberg |

Downtown Dawson CreekWe can’t tell you how excited we are to release this next episode of the Rational Middle. It’s called “Energy’s Crossroads: Dawson Creek,” and it looks at one town’s (Dawson Creek, British Columbia, Mile One on the world famous Alaska Highway) challenge to resolve an issue where an impending drought had caused it reconsider allowing energy development in the area. Dawson Creek’s city management, along with their plucky city council delivered a bold edict to the energy industry: If you want to develop oil and gas in the area, then you are going to have to find a way to do it without use of our fresh, potable water.

The resulting process was an embodiment of the Rational Middle and how solutions to complicated issues should be addressed and resolved. The two sides of the issue (the community and the energy industry — in this case, Shell, sponsor of the Rational Middle) came together and worked out a unique, multifaceted approach to the problem. The solution, as you’ll see in the episode, was for the energy industry to build a water recycling plant that transforms the city’s “grey water” (water from the town’s sewage) into water that can be used for drilling. The rational process which led to this solution also led to the creation of water pipeline to take the water out to the drilling sites. As Councilwoman Cheryl Shuman states, she was just as excited about the pipeline taking trucks off the road as she was excited about the water recycling plant. This story should be an inspiration and a guide to all communities dealing with energy development and encourage them to think through their options and exercise their right to demand a civil, solutions-based discussion with the energy industry (by the way, this model can applied to all forms of energy development including wind and solar).

I would like to thank Mark Bullard (field producer and cinematographer), Nathan Pizar (one of the hardest working dudes ever), Chris Lyon (editor) and Ian Summers (logistics) for all they did to make this episode so amazing. I would also like to thank everyone from Dawson Creek who participated in this episode. From its city government to its arts and environmental community, the citizens of this town are incredibly smart and resilient. Aside from all that, they are a lot of fun and incredibly hospitable, and we appreciate them hosting Team Rational Middle. If you have the chance, go up and snap a shot under the Alaska Highway sign. You won’t regret it.

Onward and upward with the Rational Middle. Link to episode is here: http://bit.ly/1bNAWWd

 

 

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