Photo: Peace River before and after commencement of construction of Site C Dam, Garth Lenz
Yesterday's decision to grant BC Hydro's injunction on Site C is 'just another bump in the road', as Grand Chief Stewart Philip put it.
Fear not, the Peace Valley Environment Association, in cooperation with our many allies will continue to battle this unnecessary and massively destructive project. Following is an update of the latest news and our latest activities that we hope you will find inspiring.
The Federal government
A number of important permits are currently before the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. However, the federal government response to repeated calls to reject, suspend or rescind federal permits necessary for Site C to proceed remains non-committal.
The federal NDP has taken up the issue, raising Site C during question period last week. The response from Environment Minister Catherine McKenna ducked the question of whether the federal government will intervene to uphold Treaty rights:
"The project is now at construction phase and BC Hydro must meet the requirements set out in the environmental assessment decision as well as other regulatory requirements."
Asked for a more specific response by the Hill Times, the Minister’s office said it would be inappropriate to comment while the case is before the courts.
Rocky Mountain Camp
On Monday, a BC court granted an injunction against the cultural camp organized by the Treaty 8 Stewards of the Land at the Rocky Mountain Fort site. The cultural camp has been the only thing standing in the way of BC Hydro’s plans to log the valley floor in preparation of construction of the Site C dam. If the camp is removed, it’s expected that BC Hydro will move quickly to clear cut large areas of old growth and other unique forest habitat in the Valley. In the injunction hearing, BC Hydro told the court it intends to complete logging before migratory birds return this spring.
- Joint letter - A joint letter to Prime Minister Trudeau was submitted on February 11, 2016 , with signatures from more than 25 organizations from the Peace Valley, from British Columbia, and from across the country. A wide range of sectors was represented, including student groups, development organizations, human rights groups, faith communities and First Nations leadership. We are continuing to add names to the letter for a future re-release.
- Site C before the United Nations - Submissions, oral presentations and media coverage all raised the issue of Site C during last week's review of Canada by the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Reports from the hearing suggest that the Committee is unlikely to focus on individual cases in its final report - likely to come out next Monday - but will almost certainly criticize Canada's record on broader themes such as respect for treaty rights and free, prior and informed consent.
There are presently 3 court appeals and 1 judicial review pending regarding the Site C dam.
- West Moberly and Prophet River First Nations and the Peace Valley Landowner Association continue to pursue judicial reviews of the approval of the dam. The Landowner’s case is at the appeal stage before the provincial courts and will be heard on April 4th & 5th. The First Nations case is also at the appeal stage before both the federal and provincial courts. The dates for the First Nations appeals have not yet been set.
- Additionally, West Moberly and Prophet River First Nations have requested a judicial review of the licenses issued in association with construction of the dam. Arguments concluded on February 2, 2016 and a decision is pending.
Donations to support the West Moberly and Prophet River First Nations in their legal challenge to the Site C dam can be made through RAVEN Trust and will be matched:
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