Sarah Cox's blog

Auditor General Nudges B.C. to Amend Act that Exempted Site C Dam from Independent Review

Site C dam construction

Remember B.C.’s Clean Energy Act, championed by former Liberal Premier Gordon Campbell to position B.C. as a “world leader” in addressing climate change?

The act exempted hydro undertakings like the Site C dam from independent oversight by the watchdog B.C. Utilities Commission (BCUC), an independent body set up to ensure that projects proposed by the government are in the public interest, and not promoted for partisan political gain.

The act further set the legal stage for building the Site C dam, a pet project of the B.C. Liberals, by closing the door on energy sources such as the Burrard Thermal natural gas-fired plant and the power to which B.C. is entitled under the Columbia River Treaty.

On Thursday, B.C.’s Auditor General Carol Bellringer — the province’s public interest watchdog — issued a report nudging the NDP government to review and amend the Clean Energy Act’s objectives, which the report describes as “too diverse and in many cases contradictory with each other.”

What You Need to Know About BC Hydro’s Financial ‘Mess’ and the Site C Dam

Minister of Energy and Mines Michelle Mungall Premier John Horgan

B.C. Energy Minister Michelle Mungall said Thursday that “there’s a mess” at BC Hydro. Mungall made the comment after the B.C. Utilities Commission denied the government’s request for a hydro rate freeze — putting the kibosh on one of the NDP’s campaign promises.

Instead, the commission approved a scheduled three per cent hydro rate hike for April 1, saying that the increase is not sufficient to cover BC Hydro’s costs. What’s going on? And what does it mean for you and your future hydro bill?

‘It’s An Act of Intimidation’: First Nations Call Out BC Hydro on Threat to Recover Costs of Site C Dam Logging Pause

Site C Construction BC Hydro

First Nations are challenging BC Hydro’s claim of a “substantial increased cost” to the $10.7 billion Site C dam because of a voluntary pause to the destruction of areas of great significance to Treaty 8 members.

I find it outrageous that they would make this claim without any evidence whatsoever,” said Tim Thielmann, a lawyer for two Treaty 8 First Nations that have filed notices of civil action alleging that the Site C dam infringes on their treaty rights.

Thielmann also called BC Hydro’s statement that it “reserves the right to seek recovery” of the increased cost from First Nations “completely unacceptable.”  

Site C: The Elephant in B.C.’s Budget

Site C white elephant

Conspicuously absent from the B.C. government’s 19-page budget speech on Tuesday was any mention of the largest publicly funded project in the province’s history.

Nor did the government devote a single word to the $10.7 billion Site C dam during last week’s Speech from the Throne, which presented the NDP’s “affordability” agenda for the coming year.

Green Party MLA Sonia Furstenau said the avoidance of Site C appears to be deliberate.

To not talk about it, as it’s moving forward, seems to be more than just an oversight,” Furstenau told DeSmog Canada.

Drink, Toast, Spin: The Latest on the Wine and Pipelines Debacle

Lana Popham

It all started with the Asti Trattoria Italiana restaurant in Fort McMurray, whose slogan is “Live, Love, Eat.”

But there was no love lost for restaurant owner Karen Collins two weeks ago when the B.C. government announced it will set up an independent scientific advisory panel to examine how diluted bitumen can be safely transported and cleaned up, if spilled.

Pending the review, B.C. said it would restrict increases in the transport of the substance — a mixture of thick unrefined oil from the oilsands and highly flammable gas condensate — through the province, a move widely seen as an attempt to stall the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

B.C. Makes Big Promises on Environment, Indigenous Rights in Throne Speech

BC Speech from the Throne 2018 Chad Hipolito

The B.C. government tried to steer clear of controversy over liquefied natural gas exports, the Site C dam and fish farms in the Speech from the Throne Tuesday. The speech laid out the NDP’s “affordability” agenda and unveiled plans to revitalize the environment assessment process and address fugitive emissions in the oil and gas sector.

As B.C. develops its abundant natural resources, we must do so in a way that meets our obligations to the environment, First Nations and the public interest,” read the speech, presented by Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon to mark the start of a new legislative session.

This year, government is taking important steps to restore public trust in B.C.’s environmental stewardship.”


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