BC MLA Supports BC Utilities Commission review of proposed Site C Dam
by Ana Simeon — last modified Sep 19, 2013 08:36 PM — History
FORT ST. JOHN Sep 19, 2013
Independent MLA from Delta, Vicki Huntington, is supporting a request by the Peace Valley Environment Association (PVEA) to reinstate the authority of the B.C. Utilities Commission (BCUC) to assess whether or not the proposed Site C dam on the Peace River is in the public interest.
“As an elected official with an interest in environmentally sustainable development and sound fiscal planning, I would be remiss if I did not inform you that [PVEA’s] complaint has my full support,” states Ms. Huntington’s letter to the Commission’s Chair, Len Kelsey. “If the project cannot meet the standards required to obtain a certificate of public convenience and necessity, then it should be stopped.”
Site C is a hydroelectric generating dam proposed for the Peace River at a location just upstream from the city of Fort St. John. It will flood more than 100 kilometers of valley bottom, destroying wildlife habitat, some of northern B.C.’s best agricultural land, portions of a scenic highway, and dozens of First Nations cultural sites. The power is destined for a rapidly-growing natural gas fracking industry and the proposed coastal liquefied natural gas plants.
The BCUC normally is charged with determining whether public utility projects are necessary, cost-efficient, and safe. However, in the 2010 Clean Energy Act, the B.C. government exempted a much smaller Site C proposal from BCUC oversight. Since 2010, the original Site C proposal has grown enough to warrant full BCUC review.
Currently, only a joint federal/provincial environmental assessment will be conducted to consider the project. As a result, issues related to the ‘need for’ and ‘cost of’ the project and its impact on Hydro rates will not be addressed.
“On July 15, PVEA filed a complaint with the BCUC on the basis that an environmental assessment alone is inadequate to evaluate whether or not Site C is in the public interest,” says PVEA Coordinator, Andrea Morison. “We are delighted that Ms. Huntington shares our concerns.”
“Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative (Y2Y), together with Treaty 8 Tribal Association, Sierra Club BC and West Coast Environmental Law, joined with PVEA in an open letter to Premier Clark requesting that she task the BCUC with reviewing the merits of the Site C dam proposal,” says Wendy Francis, Y2Y’s Program Director. “For a project estimated to cost between $10-$12 billion, at a time when BC Hydro is deeply in debt and with an unsustainable business model, British Columbians deserve the degree of enquiry that only BCUC can provide.”
For more information, please contact:
Vicki Huntington, MLA Delta South, 250-952-7594
Andrea Morison, Peace Valley Environment Association Coordinator, 250-785-4711
Wendy Francis, Y2Y Program Director, 403.763.8633
Ana Simeon, Sierra Club BC Interim Communications Director, 250-891-8245