The federal government’s approval of construction permits for the $9 billion Site C megaproject is an affront to First Nations and to the scientific work that proves Site C is the most destructive project ever reviewed in Canadian history. This is a cowardly decision and a betrayal of the principles the federal government has claimed it wants to restore to Ottawa: respect for First Nations rights and science-based decision making.
Power we don’t need at a price we can’t afford
The price tag is truly staggering – $9 billion and counting. We will all end up footing the bill – through devastating Hydro rate increases of 30 to 40 per cent, taxpayer subsidies to Hydro debt, and potentially a reduction in B.C.’s credit rating. It’s the most expensive public project in B.C. history, yet the government refused to investigate alternative options or to conduct an independent review of cost and need.
Demand for power has been falling since 2008. BC Hydro’s own figures anticipate falling demand from industrial users. BC Hydro is paying independent power producers not to produce electricity due to oversupply.
Site C would destroy land we need to grow food
The 60 metre-high dam would flood farmland capable of providing fruits and vegetables for a million people every year. The Peace Valley has some of B.C.’s highest quality farmland. With climate change threatening B.C.’s food security, it makes no sense to destroy it. There are many ways to produce power, but only 5 per cent of the B.C. land base is suitable for agriculture.
Site C fails First Nations
The Peace Valley is one of the few remaining places where Treaty 8 First Nations can hunt, fish and engage in cultural activities to maintain their identity and connection to the land. The right to hunt and fish, guaranteed by Treaty 8, becomes meaningless when hunting grounds are under water, moose populations are decimated, and fish are contaminated with toxic methyl mercury from decaying trees and other vegetation. Site C will also obliterate hundreds of graves and ceremonial sites.
The proposed dam would also cut off a key migration corridor for wildlife, with severe negative impacts on wetlands, migratory birds and grizzly bears.
The West Moberly and Prophet River First Nations are challenging Site C in court. If Canada is serious about reconciliation and a new relationship with First Nations we must not allow Site C to wreak more destruction on their land and culture.
Site C puts Wood Buffalo National Park at risk
Site C would have far-reaching impacts all the way downstream to the Peace Athabasca Delta, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to at-risk species such as the Whooping Crane and the Wood Buffalo. The delta is already suffering from dramatically altered river flows caused by the W.A.C. Bennett and Peace Canyon dams.
Based upon a process initiated by Sierra Club BC, UNESCO visited the Peace River Valley to investigate how Site C endangers Wood Buffalo National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The park sits in the Peace-Athabasca Delta—the largest inland freshwater delta in the world— in northeastern Alberta and southern Northwest Territories, and downstream from the $9 billion (and counting) Site C megadam.
Site C will reduce water flows in the Peace River, which threatens to dry up the park and the delta as a whole. This will compound damage being done by tarsands development in the region.
The Wood Buffalo area provides critical habitat for fish, moose, bison, and migratory birds including the endangered whooping crane. The Mikisew Cree, who have depended on this area for millennia, are highly concerned about the growing threats posed by reduced water levels in the delta.
Fifty five of the 1052 World Heritage Sites are currently listed as “in danger”—and the Government of Canada and Parks Canada must make sure Wood Buffalo National Park isn’t added to the list!
The Canadian government would be deeply shamed if such harm to a World Heritage Site were to happen on Prime Minister Trudeau’s watch.
We need you to call on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to halt construction on the Site C Dam immediately while the federal government assesses the potential impacts of the dam, and of tar sands development, on Wood Buffalo National Park.