OTTAWA – From its inception, the Site C dam in northeastern British Columbia has faced stiff opposition as unnecessary, flooding out some of B.C.’s best farmlands and violating Indigenous rights. Now recent reports reveal cost overruns are due to inherent flaws due to geological instability. A recent statement by the B.C. Green Party quotes a B.C. Hydro report conceding that the project is at risk due to significant cost escalation and delays.
“Like Muskrat Falls in Labrador, this is another boondoggle energy project that should never have happened in the first place,” said Green parliamentary leader Elizabeth May (MP, Saanich-Gulf Islands). “Continuing to funnel taxpayers’ money into precarious energy projects with interminable costs and uncertain deadlines is beyond irresponsible. B.C. Hydro’s latest report, filed July 31, cites several geological challenges. Since federal permits were already granted for this project, I urge Transport Minister Marc Garneau to review federal permits.”
In April 2020, Nalcor, the Newfoundland utility building the Muskrat Falls dam, paused construction on the project blaming the COVID-19 pandemic for its failure to meet the contracted schedule of delivery of power to Nova Scotia Power. Muskrat Falls is currently two years late on completion and approximately $6 billion over budget.
“B.C. Hydro is also blaming new delays on the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Ms. May. “As the B.C. Greens point out, the British Columbia Utilities Commission has already acknowledged that Site C could be cancelled and replaced with renewables at equal or lower cost to taxpayers. The environmental impact of these mega dams is colossal.”
Green Party Interim Leader Jo-Ann Roberts said that the party was pleased to learn that B.C. Hydro had reached an agreement with the Prophet River First Nation yesterday. “We hope that moving forward, the concerns of neighbouring West Moberly First Nation will also be addressed. The cultural values and treaty rights of all First Nations must be respected”, she said. “Let’s also not forget that we’re in a climate emergency. Bankrolling mega projects like Site C and Muskrat Falls has proven to be both fiscally and environmentally irresponsible. We hope that Premier Horgan will seriously reconsider moving ahead on this project.”
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