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For Immediate Release

The B.C. government has announced its plan to proceed with the proposed Site C hydroelectric project, suggesting it will be a clean and renewable source of energy with significant economic benefits. Site C is located in B.C.'s Peace River valley, a major habitat corridor that is critical in maintaining the biodiversity of the valley and its surrounding regions. The David Suzuki Foundation believes the B.C. government must develop a comprehensive plan that accounts for the full range of values in the Peace region — including the ecological services provided by forests, agricultural fields and other ecosystems that will be impacted by this hydro-electric development — before the project can proceed.

The David Suzuki Foundation has a number of concerns about the Site C project:

  • The Site C project will have serious impacts on the region's forests, fields, and rich agricultural lands, as well as the Peace River itself — an ecologically important area that provides essential ecological benefits, like carbon storage, flood control, and water filtration;
  • The area is of particular social and cultural importance to First Nations and other local communities, and contains some of the best remaining farmland in B.C.;
  • As indicated by BC Hydro's Conservation Potential Review, there are still many untapped opportunities for electricity conservation. All cost effective energy-efficiency opportunities should be pursued before B.C. develops new electricity supply options; and
  • Until the government does a province-wide assessment of renewable energy resources against their environmental and social sensitivity to development, it will remain unclear whether or not Site C is preferable to alternative options for new power development within B.C.

As it stands, the government's announcement highlights the current lack of a comprehensive planning and development framework to ensure low-impact development of renewable energy in B.C. To ensure Site C is truly a source of renewable energy, the David Suzuki Foundation recommends:

  • A full evaluation is conducted of the ecological values of the region
  • The perspective of First Nations and local residents is taken into account
  • The B.C. Utilities Commission has confirmed that all cost effective electricity conservation and energy-efficiency opportunities are being pursued in B.C.
  • A province-wide assessment of renewable energy resources is conducted, taking into account their environmental and social sensitivity to development
  • The government makes low-impact development and operations a core goal of its energy strategy

For more information, please contact:

Jode Roberts
Communications Specialist, David Suzuki Foundation
(416) 644-1032 ext. 3

April 19, 2010