Concerns for Bute Inlet Reignited as Hydro Project May be Moving Forward

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Concerns over protecting Bute Inlet were renewed today with the announcement of an agreement between the Homalco First Nation and the project’s proponents Alterra Power.  The Globe and Mail article Deal aims to resurrect B.C.’s Bute Inlet hydroelectric project outlines how “The Bute Inlet project stalled last year when Plutonic Power, the developer, dropped out of the running for a power-purchase agreement with BC Hydro, citing confusion over the province’s clean-energy policies.  Plutonic Power merged with Magma Energy earlier this year to create Alterra and is now moving forward again. The pact with the Homalco promises the band significant benefits if the project proceeds, including a share of potential revenues and right of first refusal on construction contracts.”

Watershed Watch is deeply concerned about the impacts of this proposed project which would include diverting a total of nearly 100 kilometres of water from 17 rivers and streams (the majority of them bearing fish), and would require 443 kilometres of new transmission lines, 267 kilometres of permanent roads, and 142 bridges. Severe impacts to species of concern such as grizzly bears and marbled murrelets would be unavoidable. This project represents a massive reconfiguration of the hydrology of the watersheds of Bute Inlet, and an unacceptable threat to fish, wildlife, landscape aesthetics, recreational opportunities, and other values associated with this area.

For more information, see our Hydropower page and our report Recommendations for Responsible Clean Electricity Development in British Columbia.

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