First Nations groups file suit to halt B.C.’s 1,100-MW Site C hydropower project

A group of four First Nations groups have filed a lawsuit against the controversial 1,100-MW Site C hydropower project, proposed for construction on the Peace River in British Columbia.

Included are the Doig River, McLeod Lake, Prophet River and West Moberly bands, represented as the Treaty 8 Tribal Association in a motion filed with Canada’s federal court earlier this week.

The group claimed approvals for the US$7 billion project did not adequately consider the impacts on First Nations groups, thus violating constitutional rights granted by a century-old agreement called Treaty 8.

“The governor in council did not give sufficient or any regard to the adverse impacts of the project on the applicants’ rights pursuant to Treaty No. 8,” the group’s notice of application said.

Construction of Site C would destroy an area important for natural resource and cultural reasons, according to the tribal association’s website.

“No amount of money could compensate us for the loss of this valley,” Dog River First Nation Chief Norman Davis said. “We cannot support the destruction of the Peace River Valley.”

The Treat 8 Tribal Association’s suit comes on the heels of a similar motion filed by the Peace Valley Landowners Association that was submitted for judicial review to British Columbia’s Supreme Court and Canada’s federal court in late October. reported October 16 that Environment Canada and the environment and forestry ministers of British Columbia had granted final environmental approvals for BC Hydro to construct the Site C project.

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Michael Harris formerly was Editor for

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