You can help stop the Site C dam!

What would you say if you knew that there was a project that would eliminate thousands of acres of globally significant BC farmland?…that impedes the largest wildlife corridor in North America?…that supports the long term future of gas fracking in BC?…that denies most citizens of BC the opportunity for input? Well, there is such a project being pushed through in our province right now – it’s called Site C Dam – an $8 BILLION plus project that each of us is going to pay for! The Peace River Valley is a spectacular and special place.

Nestled in the northeast corner of British Columbia, it is home to fertile agricultural lands and farms, old growth Boreal forests, and a rich and vibrant First Nation, fur trade and pioneer history. The Peace region is also one of the most important wildlife valleys and corridors in the Rocky Mountain region.

But the beautiful Peace River Valley is under threat. BC Hydro wants to build a third dam in the heart of this spectacular valley at a location BC Hydro has named “Site C”. The 60 meter high Site C mega dam would flood 107 km of three river valleys, and cause landslides as the banks of the reservoir erode over time. The flooding of the valley bottom would destroy 12,000 acres of old growth Boreal forests, an important carbon sequestration sink, and submerge over 13,000 acres of agricultural land of which 7,800 acres are highly productive Class 1 and 2 lands.

Tell the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) and the BC Environmental Assessment Office (BCEAO) what you think about this threat to the Peace Valley!

It is alarming that an $8 billion dollar project that will cost BC taxpayers and ratepayers so much money for many years is quietly being slipped under the radar. The citizens of BC need to know about Site C, the environmental destruction it will cause, the costs associated with it and be consulted on it. Don’t let this project go by unnoticed! Following is some information to help you prepare comments for submission. Ensure that your voice is heard and that the Peace Valley is not destroyed! __________________________________________________________________________

Site C is undergoing a joint environmental assessment (EA) review by the federal and provincial governments. The process commenced in August 2011 and is expected to be complete in fall 2014. Presently, as part of the EA process, comments are being sought on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) Guidelines. Following is a link to the Guidelines as well as information and a link to the key concerns identified by the Peace Valley Environment Association (PVEA) – an organization committed to stopping the dam and saving the Peace River Valley for future generations.

Link to the Draft Environmental Impact Statement Guidelines: http://www.ceaa-acee.gc.ca/050/document-eng.cfm?document=55123

Link to PVEA’s website: http://www.peacevalley.ca

Link to details regarding PVEA’s concerns with the Draft EIS Guidelines: https://keepingthepeace.wordpress.com/2012/04/28/detailed-background-on-pveas-concerns-on-draft-eis-guidelines/

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Concerns with Draft EIS Guidelines re Site C Dam:
1.The boundaries of the study area should be set with careful consideration. There are wide-ranging cumulative effects that would be felt throughout BC and adjoining provinces and territories. Thorough consideration must be given to the full range of impacts that could result from the dam, including: cumulative effects of all past, present and foreseeable activities in the area; severance of the Yellowstone to Yukon Wildlife Corridor; and, elimination of the long term food production potential that could supply produce to northern BC and Yukon Territory.

2. The Guidelines do not adequately recognize the unique capabilities and strategic importance of Peace River Valley agriculture. The unique microclimate of the Valley, combined with the soils, make farmland in the area extremely productive. In a time when there are significant concerns about global warming and the need to protect farmland, it doesn’t make sense to wash away 13,000 acres of agricultural land.

3. The guiding principles required according to the EA Act are not adequately incorporated into the Draft EIS Guidelines, including: sustainable development; the precautionary principle; incorporation of traditional and local knowledge; and, meaningful public participation.
4.The ‘need for’ the project is inadequately justified. Presently, the energy from Site C is required to supply Asia with liquid natural gas (LNG). (Vancouver Sun, Feb 15, 2012) http://www.vancouversun.com/technology/Opinion+Site+might+prove+double+wedge+issue+premier/6159931/story.html#ixzz1tgVthD3b China recently discovered that it has the 2nd largest shale gas reserves in the world. Site C won’t be complete until 2022 at best. China will be producing its own gas by that time. Additionally, one must consider the need for the project in light of the commitments that BC Hydro has with existing independent power producers. Presently (May 2012), turbines at some Hydro dams are sitting idle. (Vancouver Sun, May 11, 2012) http://www.vancouversun.com/technology/Hydro+awash+private+power/6605915/story.html

5. The current draft guidelines are vague about how ‘alternatives to’ the project are to be assessed. Presently, they don’t include cumulative effects, social, heritage, health, or Aboriginal interests and rights considerations – even though these are mandatory areas for assessment.

Additionally, this section needs to include the option of not proceeding with the project.

Comments can be sent to either of the following:

Linda Jones, Panel Manager, Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, 22nd Floor, 160 Elgin Street, Ottawa ON K1A 0H3     Email:  SiteCReview@ceaa-acee.gc.ca
Brian Murphy, Project Assessment Director, Environmental Assessment Office, PO Box 9426, Stn Prov Govt, Victoria BC V8W 9V1 Fax: 250-356-6448 On line form: http://www.eao.gov.bc.ca/pcp/forms/Site_C_form.html
Each of us can make a difference!  THANK YOU for your support!

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