BC VIEWS: Site C dam, our latest global villain

Now environmentalists want UN investigation of Peace River dam, based on claims rejected in federal-provincial assessment

We’ve just had the latest round of international “news” about British Columbia as a global environmental outlaw.

On top of our oil tankers (almost all from Alaska), our “fracking” (conducted without significant incident for 50 years), and our alleged abandonment of “climate leadership” in lawless, planet-roasting Canada, B.C. has been summoned to the great green prisoner’s dock for the heinous offence of constructing a third hydroelectric dam on the Peace River.

This time the international protest network has called for a United Nations investigation of the Site C dam, claiming it will cause irreparable harm to the Athabasca River basin and Wood Buffalo National Park.

Things are so bad from the first two dams on the Peace that a third one might cause Wood Buffalo to be struck from UNESCO’s list of world heritage sites! That’s like 50 UN “fossil awards” and a Neil Young concert all at once!

There’s just one problem. It’s bunk.

These things follow a formula. Press conference in Ottawa as UN delegation tours, looking for things to protest in safe countries – check. Emotional aboriginal leader with unsupported allegations of environmental ruin – check.

Campaign orchestrated by U.S. enviros, in this case the “Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative” – check. Story timed for that hard-to-fill Monday news hole, delivered to every radio and TV station by the copy-hungry Canadian Press wire service and hyped by a veteran protester-reporter at The Globe and Mail? Check.

Now it’s quite true that the three-year federal assessment of the Site C project pointed to significant impacts, such as the loss of farmland and hunting and trapping areas in the Peace River valley in northeastern B.C.

But after an exhaustive examination of the hydraulic effects of Site C, it was determined there would be no measurable impact on the Peace-Athabasca Delta, more than 1,000 km away in northern Alberta and the Northwest Territories.

Of course all Canadian environmental reviews are skewed and flawed in some unspecified way, according to the professional environmentalists who stack hearings until they have to be constrained from doing so.

I’ve covered our Left Coast environment movement for decades, starting out as a long-haired Suzuki-worshipping reporter and slowly coming to appreciate what a cynical industry it has become. But I’ve never seen anything quite like the anti-Site C campaign.

It’s bad enough watching NDP leader John Horgan and Green Party leader Andrew Weaver twist themselves into knots to maintain opposition to a renewable energy project. Their core urban supporters are hard-wired to oppose any industrial development, and today’s instant information culture manufactures ‘facts’ to fit the current narrative.

It takes real political flexibility to tout adoption of electric cars, then try to block the only option other than nuclear reactors that would support the expansion.

Wading through my daily shipment of shocked and appalled environmental-group press releases, I almost slipped off my chair when Amnesty International started sending out anti-Site C diatribes.

Good to know the plight of political prisoners from Cuba to Iran has been relieved to the point where Amnesty is able to stand with the dozens of other donation-seeking organizations against this dam.

The environmental case for Site C is related to the economic case. It will generate more power with a smaller reservoir than any other dam in Canada, being the third stop for the vast quantity of water stored in Williston Lake.

Do you want to know the real reason why Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government issued permits for Site C? They did it because it makes sense.

Tom Fletcher is B.C. legislature reporter and columnist for Black Press. Email: tfletcher@blackpress.ca Twitter: @tomfletcherbc

 

Just Posted

Robert's column
Robert Barron column: Skyrocketing house prices a tragedy

North Cowichan councillor Rosalie Sawrie brought an interesting perspective to a discussion… Continue reading

Soaker hoses laid down over corn seedlings, soon to be covered with mulch, will see to the watering needs of the bed through any summer drought. (Mary Lowther photo)
Mary Lowther column: Investing in soaker hoses is money well-spent

No-till gardening has a distinct advantage during drought

Karl McPherson, left, and Mary Morrice are the new head coach and general manager, respectively, at the Duncan Dynamics Gymnastics Club. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Manager charts a new course for Duncan Dynamics

More recreational programs to join competitive teams

Cute but fierce! Timber moonlights as an attack kitty. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)
Sarah Simpson Column: Beware of Mr. Bite, the midnight attacker

Last week, in the middle of the night, I was awoken by… Continue reading

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

Most Read