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Harper & Clark approve controversial Site C dam

The Harper government and the Christy Clark government in British Columbia have just approved the controversial Site C dam.

Site C is a proposed 60-metre high, 1,050-metre-long earth-filled dam and hydroelectric generation station that would be located on the Peace River between the communities of Hudson’s Hope and Taylor in northeastern British Columbia. It would create an 83-kilometre-long reservoir and flood about 5,550 hectares of agricultural land southwest of Fort St. John. It would submerge 78 First Nations heritage sites, including burial grounds and places of cultural and spiritual significance. A spokesperson for BC Hydro has said the power from the dam is necessary given expectations for major growth in the liquefied natural gas, mining and forestry sectors in the province as well as population growth.

This afternoon the B.C. Environment Minister and the Minister of Forests issued an environmental assessment certificate to B.C. Hydro for Site C saying that the dam is in the public interest and that the benefits it provides outweigh the risks of significant adverse environmental, social and heritage impacts. And a decision statement from the federal minister of the environment Leona Aglukkaq today says, “I determined that the Designated Project is likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects [but that they] are justified in the circumstances.”

The Site C environmental approval certificate from the provincial government has 77 conditions including the monitoring of greenhouse gas emissions from the reservoir for the first 10 years of operation. That said, it has already been estimated that Site C would emit 150,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions a year, the equivalent of adding 27,000 cars on the road.

The dam is opposed by twenty-three First Nations across B.C., Alberta, and the Northwest Territories. Treaty 8 First Nations, including the West Moberly First Nation, have Title to the Peace River Valley (it is the traditional territory of the Dane-zaa) and the recent Supreme Court of Canada decision on the Tsilhqot’in Title case means their consent for this project is needed. The Council of Canadians opposes the dam and stands in solidarity with the First Nations and frontline communities opposed to this destructive project.

Construction of Site C could begin as early as January with a completion date of 2024.

Further reading
Council of Canadians opposes Site C dam