Greens Say B.C. Is|Pulling a Fast One

     VANCOUVER, B.C. (CN) – British Columbia is letting a giant hydroelectric project duck environmental review by claiming that 10 linked hydro plants are separate projects, environmentalists claim in court.
     Click here to read Courthouse News’ Environmental Law Review.
     The David Suzuki Foundation and the Watershed Watch Salmon Society claim that the Holmes Hydro Project near McBride, B.C. would put 10 hydroelectric plants on tributaries of the Holmes River.
     All would hook up to the province’s power grid through one transmission line. Since no single plant would generate more than 50 megawatts, the project didn’t require a mandatory environmental assessment. But petitioners claim it’s all a single project, which needs environmental review, as it will generate 85 megawatts.
     The Holmes River is home to Chinook salmon and to endangered Haller’s Apple Moss, according to the complaint in B.C. Supreme Court.
     “In failing to define these ten (10) generation facilities as a single reviewable project requiring an environmental assessment certificate, the Executive Director of the Environmental Assessment Office committed a reviewable error of law and fact,” the petition states.
     The respondents include the Minister of Environment for the Province of British Columbia, the Executive Director of the British Columbia Environmental Assessment Office, Holmes Hydro Inc., Bench West Hydro Generation Partnership, Blueberry East Hydro Generation Partnership, 0837230 B.C. Ltd., and 0837226 B.C. Ltd.
     The petitioners are represented by Karen Campbell of Ecojustice Canada in Vancouver.

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