1 Environmental Lawyers react to cap imposed on participant funding for the Site C dam assessment | West Coast Environmental Law

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Environmental Lawyers react to cap imposed on participant funding for the Site C dam assessment

Thursday, November 17, 2011

VANCOUVER - Josh Paterson, staff lawyer at West Coast Environmental Law Association, made the following statement in response to learning that funding for non-First Nations community groups to participate in the environmental assessment of the proposed Site C Dam has been capped and limited to particular activities:

“A maximum of $19,000 per group is an unreasonably low amount of funding for community groups to participate in the multi-year Site C review process. This is a gigantic, nearly $8 billion project that will have impacts on communities from BC right through to the Northwest Territories.”

“There's no way that this funding is enough to allow the diverse range of impacted farmers, ranchers, local grassroots groups, and residents to participate meaningfully in this review process.”

“The review process is packed with complicated evidence and legal maneuvering. Participating effectively costs money. People need to hire experts just to understand and respond to the thousands of pages of complex data. That cost should be covered by the governments and the companies that want to push this dam forward, not by local families.”

“We think the review process also needs to be open and transparent. This cap on funding for specific activities and the new application form have not yet been publicly announced by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency – despite the fact we are two weeks away from the extended deadline for groups to apply for participant funding.”

West Coast Environmental Law Association is not applying for, or benefiting in any way from, participant funding and is issuing this statement because of our concern that the Site C assessment be fair and transparent.

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For more information contact:

Josh Paterson, Staff Counsel at 604.601.2512 or toll free at 1-800-330-9235 x. 212

or Rachel Forbes, Staff Counsel at 604.601.2508