First Nations, farmers, conservationists join forces to stop Site C Dam proposal
Read this story from Larry Pynn of the Vancouver Sun on a coalition of First Nations, farmers and conservationists leading the charge to stop the proposed Site C Dam on the Peace River in northeast BC. (Dec. 12, 2012)
Aboriginals, farmers, and environmentalists are joining forces to defeat BC Hydro’s planned Site C dam on the Peace River.
They say the northeast has given up much for resource development — oil and gas, coal mining, logging, hydro power, and wind farms — and that the last best stretch of the Peace River should be permanently protected.
“Enough is enough,” Roland Willson, chief of the West Moberly First Nations, told The Vancouver Sun. “We need to slow down. It’s more important to maintain the integrity of what’s there than put it under water … all to expand the industrial footprint.”
Natives say they won’t be bought off by BC Hydro.
“This valley is priceless,” insisted Liz Logan, tribal chief of the Treaty 8 Tribal Association. “There is no amount of money or land they can give us.”
A new report by the David Suzuki Foundation and Global Forest Watch Canada finds there are 28,587 kilometres of pipelines, 45,293 kilometres of roads, and 116,725 kilometres of seismic lines used for oil and gas exploration within the Peace region.
Laid end to end, all these roads, pipelines and seismic lines would circle the Earth nearly five times, the report finds.
“This is not about NIMBY — not in our backyard,” Willson said. “Everything is in our backyard.”
Site C is a planned third dam and 1,100-megawatt hydroelectric generating station on the Peace River between Hudson’s Hope and Taylor. It is currently undergoing a joint provincial-federal environmental assessment process.
BC Hydro says Site C is needed to meet future power demands, and predicts that the province’s electricity needs will grow by about 50 per cent over the next 20 years, driven by economic expansion and a projected population increase of more than one million residents.
The Crown corporation expects to deliver its environmental impact statement — thousands of pages of technical documents — early next year, after which the public has just 60 days to comment.
Willson emphasized that natives are not opposed to development in the northeast, but are drawing a line with the Site C dam.
“What we are opposed to is the flooding of that valley,” he said, calling for talks on alternative ways to meet B.C.’s energy needs,
Natives would prefer to win in the court of public opinion, but are prepared to take legal action if necessary to stop the dam.
“At the end of the day, if that’s what it takes, that’s where my nation is going to be,” he said. “We’ll go to court if we have to.”