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West Coast Reacts: Moving ahead with Site C an outrage

Friday, February 26, 2021

VANCOUVER, BC, Musqueam, Squamish & Tsleil-Waututh Territories – West Coast Environmental Law is deeply disappointed by today’s decision by the BC government to continue construction on the Site C dam.

The environmental lawyers say the government is missing a crucial opportunity to reverse course and step away from the costly and risky megaproject, which has been plagued by budget overruns, geotechnical problems, legal challenges and growing concerns over transparency.

Jessica Clogg, Executive Director & Senior Counsel said:

“The decision to move ahead with Site C – despite the mounting geotechnical risks and skyrocketing costs – is yet another blow for Treaty 8 First Nations, Peace Valley communities, farmland, and BC ratepayers. This risky and unneeded project should have been cancelled long ago, but even now, it was not too late to change direction and protect the Peace from further harm.”

Anna Johnston, Staff Lawyer, said:

“Sadly, the BC government’s latest decision on Site C follows a pattern we’ve seen before – one in which decision-makers disregard the evidence, and put money ahead of Indigenous rights, the environment and social well-being. After the 2014 assessment of Site C, both federal and provincial governments ignored the advice of the expert joint review panel and approved the project without justification. The financial justification appears to ignore the tremendous environmental and social costs of flooding over 100 kms of important river valley. Allowing the project to go ahead despite these impacts, as well as the geotechnical and safety risks, can only further erode the trust of British Columbians in the way these decisions are being made.”

Eugene Kung, Staff Lawyer, said:

“The BC Utilities Commission has confirmed that the province’s clean energy goals can be achieved through other viable alternatives, including wind, solar and geothermal energy. At this stage, there’s no easy way out of the Site C conundrum, but in the long run, all British Columbians will benefit if we cut our losses and invest in clean energy alternatives that minimize environmental impacts and respect Indigenous rights.” 

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For more information, please contact:

Anna Johnston | Staff Lawyer, West Coast Environmental Law
604-340-2304, ajohnston@wcel.org