Lawyer warns LNG industry- Don't count on power from Site C dam

Lawyer warns LNG industry: Don’t count on power from Site C dam

Lawyer warns LNG industry- Don't count on power from Site C dam
Lawyer Rob Botterell represents First Nations and landowners in the Peace Valley region

The following is an open letter sent by lawyer Rob Botterell to the BC LNG Alliance, key BC Liberal ministers, and Treaty 8 First Nations. Site C Dam is being looked to as a possible source for the additional power required for proposed LNG plants on the BC coast.

Dear Respected First Nations, LNG Industry and BC Government Leaders:

In my capacity as a lawyer who has represented First Nations for many years, I am writing to you about the relationship between the planned Site C dam and the proposed new LNG export industry.

Premier Christy Clark announced the approval of the Site C dam on December 16th, 2014, but the dam lacks First Nations’ support and the social licence necessary to proceed. Currently, seven strong court challenges from First Nations and non-First Nations are underway. Construction of Site C is delayed at least until summer 2015.

True reconciliation of First Nations, LNG Sector and BC government interests requires full respect for, and accommodation of, First Nations’ constitutionally protected treaty rights, title and interests. The Site C dam would adversely impact First Nations’ treaty rights, title and interests in a massive and irreversible way. This devastating impact is completely unnecessary when cost competitive, renewable and non-renewable energy alternatives to Site C exist.

Contrary to the Premier’s statements, these energy alternatives would also provide combined short, medium and long term economic benefits to First Nations’ governments, contractors and community members that far outweigh any economic benefits from Site C.

For those First Nations who are engaged in impact and benefit agreement (lBA) negotiations with LNG sector companies or the province, I respectfully urge you to insist on IBA provisions that require the use of electrical power sources other than Site C by those LNG sector companies.

For those LNG Sector companies and BC government ministries involved in such discussions, I urge you to respect the legitimate interests of BC First Nations and agree to incorporate such provisions in IBAs.

An energy future that respects First Nations’ treaty rights, title and interests in the Peace River Valley is long overdue.

Yours truly,

Robert H. Botterell, LLB, MBA, FIBC


3 thoughts on “Lawyer warns LNG industry: Don’t count on power from Site C dam

  1. How about instead of pushing ahead with invasive projects like Site C dam, the government adopt a workable program to incentivize businesses, industrial, commercial and residential customers to install solar, wind, geothermal and other sustainable energy options like what has been done in Germany and even the US. In Canada (and especially BC) the government has failed miserably in this area and its time for a change. There are workable and affordable options available today that would greatly reduce the need for large-scale hydro-electric projects that will burden BC taxpayers and hydro customers with debt for many years to come. Let’s look at more viable and sustainable options!

    1. Looks like citizens are beating the government to the punch on solar voltaics. My recent trip to Victoria revealed even more arrays on various buildings, including many residential, than I’ve seen before. Way to go!

      The BC Liberals are twisted into absurdities, though, and would probably applaud both the private initiative for solar while maintaining their bogus rationale for Site C.

      Keep these people away from mathematics—they can’t make a $3 tally-whacker work. It’s either that or they’re intentionally, but secretly, trying to bankrupt the province and all its assets for reason we can only speculate.

  2. I don’t know if there is a legal basis or precedent that Mr. Botterell is using in this letter to those parties interested in this aspect of the demand from the natural gas industry. I hope there is, to give anyone who might be counting on cheap electricity from BC Hydro pause. It looks like a reasonable suggestion at heart, consider the implications of placing such a demand on the crown Corporation, when the Province is starting to see the level of costs associated with developments that have been uncosted before.

    Impacts on the First Nations, treaty rights, and civil rights, environmental and resource use damages are part of the equation. Our society has been wrong to accept the argument that we can sweep these costs under the carpet as externalities. Eventually the carpet gets lumpy and trips you up, or so I’ve heard.

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