The leader of the B.C. Green caucus says it was "simply reckless" for the former B.C. Liberal government to spend $9 billion on a new hydroelectric dam without subjecting it to a provincial review.
Now, Andrew Weaver says he's "glad" that the new NDP government decided today to refer the B.C. Hydro project to an independent review by the B.C. Utilities Commission.
“Our goal all along has been to ensure that a decision such as this, where the impacts are felt by so many, is made with the best information available," Weaver said in a statement issued this afternoon. "This is a step in that direction.”
The province has asked the provincial energy regulator to address the following issues:
• confirm if B.C. Hydro is on track to complete the project on budget by 2024;
• advise on the implications for ratepayers if the project proceeds, is suspended with the option for resuming construction until 2024, or is terminated.
"The previous government refused to allow our independent energy watchdog to examine the project to determine if it was in the public interest," Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources Minister Michelle Mungall said. "That was wrong. We're sending this project to the BCUC to ensure we make the right decision for B.C. families."
(The full terms of reference for the review are available here.)
Like Weaver, Sierra Club B.C. also expressed its approval of the NDP government's decision.
"The reality is that we don’t need Site C power, its hideously expensive and inevitable cost overruns would be paid for by B.C. ratepayers, and more environmentally and economically viable alternatives are available today," campaigns director Caitlyn Vernon said in a statement distributed to the media. "Beyond the cost of Site C, the dam should be stopped to defend farmland and First Nation treaty rights, and to develop renewable energy options for long term employment."