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Public hearings on Site C dam to start in Fort St. John on Dec. 9

The Journal of Commerce reports, “A federal review panel has determined that (the review of the Site C dam can now) enter the public hearing phase of the assessment process. …The panel is holding the opening session of the public hearings on Dec. 9, 2013 in Fort St. John with other sessions in Fort St. John, Hudson’s Hope, Prince George, Chetwynd, Dawson Creek and Peace River. …The primary purpose of the hearing is for the panel to receive the required information to complete its environmental assessment of the project. The hearings give BC Hydro, the public, Aboriginal groups and governments an opportunity to present their views on the project in person to the Joint Review Panel and discuss its potential environmental, economic, social, heritage and health effects.”

The article explains, “The proposed project consists of the construction and operation of a (900 megawatt) dam and hydroelectric generating station on the Peace River in northeastern British Columbia. …The main components of the project are an earth-fill dam 1,050 metres long and 60 metres high, an up to 1,100-megawatt generating station and associated structures, an 83-kilometre long reservoir, re-alignment of four sections of Highway 29 and two 77-kilometre transmission lines along existing transmission line right-of-way connecting Site C to Peace Canyon.”

“Electricity demand in B.C. is expected to grow over the next 20 years, driven by a projected population increase of more than one million residents and economic expansion, particularly in the mining and gas industries.” According to a recent Globe and Mail report, “(Dave Conway from BC Hydro) cited expectations for major growth in liquefied natural gas, mining, forestry and other light industrial and commercial development, as well as projections for one million in population growth in B.C. over the next 20 years.”

This past May campaigner Maryam Adrangi visited Fort St. John. She wrote, “The energy created by (the Site C dam) would be used for LNG plants on the coast–those same plants which would be serviced by the Pacific Trails Pipeline. Community opposition to Site C was very visible. There were billboards in the city and along the highway there were numerous boards saying ‘Keep the Peace, Stop Site C’. ‘Keep the Peace’ was clearly referring to the Peace River Valley which would be flooded if this dam were to go through. Families would be displaced, farmland would be destroyed, and the climate of the region would be forever changed as was the case with another large dam located only a few hours drive away: the WAC Bennett Dam. After the dam was built, local residents noticed more aggressive winds, as well as massive flooding and land destruction.”

The dam is opposed by 23 First Nations – including the Athabasca Chipewyan, the Little Red River Cree, the Fort Chipewyan Metis, the Deninu K’e, the Mikisew Cree, the Dene Tha – and numerous others from across B.C., Alberta, and the Northwest Territories. Two years ago the Doig River, Halfway River, Prophet River, West Moberly and Salteau First Nations asked the United Nations to defend their rights under the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples against this project.

The Canadian Press has reported, “(BC Hydro) expects a regulatory decision by the end of next year (some reports say by mid-2014). Preparatory work on the site could begin in early 2015.” The Site C dam would start generating electricity around 2021-23.

Further reading
NEWS: First Nations take Site C opposition to the United Nations
Update on Building Resistance Tour About Fracking and PTP
Maude Barlow’s 9-point critique of major dams