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Environment • Aboriginal • Energy


January 06, 2015

First Nation Challenges to Hydroelectric Development - A Tale of Two Provinces

A new article by Julie Abouchar and Nicole Petersen comparing hydro development in Ontario with the historical, policy and legal reasons for the challenge to Site C in British Columbia by First Nations appears in the Ontario Waterpower Association's 2014 Year in Review Newsletter (from page 13).

Ontario and British Columbia have both invested heavily in infrastructure to generate inexpensive power. Each province considers hydroelectric development a central component of its long term energy policy. Both provinces have longstanding legacy issues arising from a failure to consult First Nations about large provincial hydroelectric developments in the 1960s.

The proposed Site C Clean Energy Project (Site C) in British Columbia offers an opportunity to consider how the two provinces differ in their modern approach to hydroelectric development. The environmental approvals of Site C have generated applications for judicial review filed at the provincial and federal courts. Among the parties challenging the hydro development are several First Nations communities, including Treaty 8 Tribal Association, the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation and the Mikisew Cree First Nation. The Peace Valley Landowners Association is also challenging Site C.

Several large hydro developments have taken place in Ontario and proceeded without the vigorous political and legal challenges advanced by First Nation communities.

Click here to read the article.


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