Groups challenge the failure of B.C.’s environmental assessment office to do its job

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Ecojustice, representing David Suzuki Foundation and Watershed Watch Salmon Society, is in court to ensure that the B.C. government conducts an environmental assessment of a hydroelectric power project for its potential harm to the environment and shares that information with British Columbians.

Under provincial law, the government must complete an environmental assessment of any hydroelectric power project that will generate more than 50 megawatts (MW) of electricity. The Holmes Hydro Project will produce about 76 MW from 10 tributaries along a 40-kilometre stretch of the Holmes River, an important salmon river near McBride, B.C. But the Environmental Assessment Office, applying the strongly criticized practice of “project-splitting,” divided the project into smaller power plants, each of which would produce less than 50 MW, so as to avoid an environmental assessment.

Staff lawyers for Ecojustice will ask the B.C. Supreme Court to overrule the province’s decision and ask for an environmental assessment to be completed before the project proceeds.

For more information, see the full media release issued April 3, 2013: Groups challenge the failure of B.C.’s environmental assessment office to do its job, as well as the articles and April 2, 2013 media advisory below.

Media Coverage:

 

Media Advisory:

Ecojustice, Watershed Watch Salmon Society and the David Suzuki Foundation will be available for interviews Wednesday, April 3 at 9 a.m. The groups will take questions about the lawsuit challenging the B.C. government over its decision not to complete an environmental assessment of the proposed Holmes Hydro Project, which would be built on tributaries of the Holmes River near McBride, B.C.

The B.C. Supreme Court will hear the case in Vancouver, B.C., from April 3-4. Court proceedings begin Wednesday at 10 a.m.

The proposed Holmes Hydro Project will produce about 76 megawatts from 10 tributaries along a 40-kilometre stretch of the Holmes River, which is an important salmon river and wildlife habitat. But the Environmental Assessment Office divided the project into smaller power plants to avoid an environmental assessment that would evaluate the impacts of the Project throughout the local watershed, and in particular, on the population of salmon that feeds into the Fraser River system.

A full media release will be circulated Wed., April 3 at 7 a.m.

WHEN:

Wed., April 3 at 9 a.m. | Court proceedings begin at 10 a.m.

WHERE:

Courthouse steps | B.C. Supreme Court
Corner of Hornby and Nelson Streets, Vancouver, British Columbia

WHO:

Devon Page, Executive Director | Ecojustice dpage@ecojustice.ca
Aaron Hill, Ecologist | Watershed Watch Salmon Society hillfish@telus.net
Jay Ritchlin, Director General – Western Canada | David Suzuki Foundation jritchlin@davidsuzuki.org

For more details, please contact:

Pierre Hamilton, Communications Associate | Ecojustice
416-368-7533 x 526 phamilton@ecojustice.ca

 

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