Site C Review May Discourage Public Participation
The Site C panel review hearings are about to begin!
The B.C. government is has unexpectedly announced that the Site C dam joint review panel has completed reviewing responses to their information requests, and are moving swiftly to the public hearing phase of the review. And it's all happening right around Christmas holidays.
Sierra Club BC, along with our coalition partners, are concerned this condensed fast-tracked hearing process will make it very difficult for people to participate.
“It’s a real departure from comparable environmental assessment processes like the Enbridge Joint Review Panel,” says Ana Simeon, Sierra Club BC Interim Communications Director. “We are especially concerned that hearings will only be held in the northeast of the province when this project would affect all British Columbians."
"If approved, B.C. taxpayers will foot the $8 billion bill for a hydro project that is not clean, not green and not needed for domestic consumption - at a time when BC Hydro is deeply in debt." -Ana Simeon, Sierra Club BC interim communications director.
Now that the written comment period has closed (on November 25, 2013) public hearings are again restricted to only a few communities in B.C.’s northeast. There are no public hearings scheduled for the majority of British Columbians to be heard on a mega-project that will impact all of us.
Before the comment period closed, more than 3,000 comments were filed and more than 100 other documents, including written submissions, were posted online.
The preliminary hearing schedule also does not outline sessions specifically for important areas of concern such as agriculture and human health and safety.
The process seems tilted in favour of BC Hydro, the party with the most resources that can best handle a short, intensive process. The panel also does not appear to be creating space for questioning of BC Hydro's witnesses.
It is vitally important that all British Columbians are heard through this process, not only because of the devastating effects that this project will cause to a huge area of land, but also because this Environmental Assessment process has been completely undemocratic. Send a letter to the B.C. government and express your concerns about the review process and this damaging project.
The proposed Site C dam is not "clean" or "green." If the dam is built it will increase B.C.’s greenhouse emissions by 150,000 tonnes a year and flood prime farmland and First Nation's heritage sites. Site C will also destroy critical habitat for at-risk species like the grizzly bear, wolverine and caribou.
Site C dam has already been turned down – twice – by the B.C. government, which said it was too risky and too costly. Electricity from Site C is not needed to power B.C. households and businesses. Residential and commercial customers in B.C. have actually reduced their power consumption since 2008.
Learn more about the Site C dam in Sierra Club BC's interactive web presentation.
Take action! Support the campaign to save the Peace River Valley by sending a letter to the B.C. government. Let’s make sure the provincial government hears it loud and clear from as many British Columbians as possible: Stop the Site C dam!