The British Columbia government has approved the $9-billion, 1,100-megawatt Site C hydroelectric project, a massive undertaking that would flood more than 5,500 hectares (13,590 acres) of land in the northeastern part of the province.
Premier Christy Clark said the project “will support our quality of life for decades to come and will enable continued investment and a growing economy.” Grand Chief Stewart Philip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs called the announcement “an incredibly short-sighted and stupid decision,” adding that “it’s not about the money. It’s about the environment, it’s about the land—about constitutional rights, treaty rights, and so on and so forth. It’s about a way of life.”
Treaty 8 First Nations vowed to fight the project. With five court cases against Site C already in progress, the Peace Valley Environment Association said it will take years of court time and cost the province millions of dollars to defend the proposal.
In September, the Clean Energy Association of B.C. reported that an “alternative portfolio” of renewable energy projects could meet the province’s energy needs more affordably and cost ratepayers $1 billion less over Site C’s 70-year operating life.