Hydro-Quebec rebuts greens' claims over Rupert river diversion
18 September 2007
Canadian utility Hydro-Quebec has rebutted claims made last week by an expanded collection of green pressure groups that the Rupert river diversion project will cause environmental problems and community impacts.
Hydro-Quebec claimed the greens were circulating 'falsehoods' about Rupert river being destroyed as the project was approved by the independent environmental review bodies - Canada's Federal Review Panel and the Quebec Review Committee. Construction of the project started in January.
In particular, the Federal body said no alternative project, or combination, could give the same benefits as the diversion scheme. Hydro-Quebec added that while the river would be partially diverted for hydro power purposes there would be hydraulic structures built that would assist the life cycle of fisheries and diversity.
In terms of community, the utility added that 70% of Crees of James Bay participating in the referendum on the project voted for the Paix des Braves agreement before it was signed in 2002. The agreement provided for the diversion project, which will convey additional water for generation at Eastmain-1 and a new plant, Sarcelle.
Last week, a battery of US environmental groups lent the voices to those of Canadian greens and native communities, claiming the scheme was being developed in opposition to local community wishes.
The Rupert river diversion scheme is to generate an extra 8.5TWh annually after it is commissioned over 2010-11. Hearings and consultations for the scheme started in 2003, after the agreement was signed.
Greens co-ord greater opposition to Rupert river diversion
12 September 2007
Hydro Quebec's Rupert river diversion project at James Bay has come under fire from a battery of US environmental campaigning groups, which have joined forces with Canadian greens and native communities.
The Rupert river diversion project is being developed by the utility to convey much of its water to reservoirs serving the Eastman complex and then, chiefly, the La Grande scheme at James Bay. A 125MW plant at Sarcelle is also to be built.
The entire project is due to be commissioned over 2010-11 and provide an extra 888MW of production capacity and generate an extra 8.5TWh per year. Hearings and consultations on the hydro scheme started in 2003.
Among the 18-strong group of US opponents to the Rupert river diversion scheme are the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Friends of the Earth US, Sierra Club and International Rivers Network (IRN).
In a statement, the group said the project was being developed in opposition to local community wishes and warned that many of its members were previously involved in opposition to the Great Whale hydro scheme, which was subsequently cancelled in the early 1990s.
Civils works required for the diversion project include four dams, a spillway, 75 dykes, a forebay and tailbay, a 2.9km long transfer tunnel, approximately 12km of canals and a number of hydraulic control structures on the river.
Hydro Quebec will divert water first to the Eastmain-1 plant, which is under construction, and from there the discharge will be received at the Eastmain-1-A plant. The waters will then be added to the flows reaching the three plants of the La Grande complex - Robert-Bourassa, La Grande-2-A and La Grande-1.
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