BC Hydro is falling short of its obligations to fund habitat conservation under the Fish & Wildlife Compensation Program, according to a brief from the B.C. Wildlife Federation and the University of Victoria Environmental Law Centre that asks the provincial auditor general to look into the matter.
The funding is required under the provincial utility’s water licences, and it’s supposed to be used to compensate for land destroyed by large hydropower projects, CBC reports. The federation says it’s been complaining about the disconnect for years, but the province hasn’t responded.
“We have flagged this issue hundreds, if not more times, to dozens of ministers over the decades and it’s fallen on deaf ears,” said BCWF Executive Director Jesse Zeman. “There are days where it sure seems like the tail wags the dog when it comes to BC Hydro and its relationship with the provincial government.”
“It’s great to teach kids about the environment and to be safe around bears, but that’s not replacing the thousands of square kilometres of wildlife habitat and spawning grounds destroyed by BC Hydro dams,” said Environmental Law Centre Legal Director Calvin Sandborn. “Those funds should truly compensate for the vast, rich valleys lost to hydroelectric development on the Columbia and the Peace.”