Hydro's new power line faces delay

By // News | Hydro's new power line faces delay
Email to a friend Plain text Print version // Font size: Decrease font Enlarge font

Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

By: Bruce Owen

Posted: 1:00 AM | Comments:

John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press archives
Terry Sargeant: 'We're on a very tight timeline'

Enlarge Image

John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press archives Terry Sargeant: 'We're on a very tight timeline' (WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

Manitoba Hydro's new Bipole III transmission line could face a significant delay because of the utility's attempt to change its route -- to avoid fragile caribou and moose habitat -- without redoing its environmental assessment of the project.

That supplemental assessment would give First Nations and the Manitoba Metis Federation (MMF) an opportunity to study the new route and how it would impact their communities, but Hydro is concerned it could delay plans for a 2017 in-service date for the power line.

"It would certainly have impacts on the schedule we're desperately trying to maintain," Hydro spokesman Glenn Schneider said Thursday.

The Crown corporation tabled its revised route plans late last week with two major changes: the first to veer the line around the Wabowden woodland caribou grounds and the second around an area farther south known as moose meadows. The province recognized woodland caribou as threatened under the province's Endangered Species Act in June 2006 and some parts of western Manitoba are now closed to moose hunting because of low populations.

The 1,400-kilometre Bipole III line proposal is currently before the province's Clean Environment Commission (CEC) as it conducts public hearings on the line's environmental impact.

The CEC is powerless to compel Hydro to redo its environmental assessment on the revised route but urges the utility to offer more information for public review.

"I think it would be pretty necessary for participants to have some kind of an environmental assessment PDQ," CEC chairman Terry Sargeant said at a hearing earlier this week.

"I would say to Manitoba Hydro that we're on a very tight timeline right now. If we don't conclude these hearings by the end of November, we may be looking at January, the end of January before they are concluded."

The revised route has added more flames to the fire of the MMF's threatened court challenge against Bipole III, which could delay the project indefinitely.

The MMF and Pine Creek First Nation argue they have not been adequately consulted on the project by Hydro -- a legal requisite under Canada's constitution.

"Whether at the end of the day people are supportive of what the new route changes are or not is not the point," MMF lawyer Jason Madden said. "The point is government and Hydro don't get to go behind closed doors, make the changes and not come back out to the public and to aboriginal groups and say one, what do you think about the changes, and secondly, what are the environmental effects?"

The MMF and other groups want the CEC to adjourn its hearing until Hydro complies with the law. The CEC had planned to wrap up its hearing by month's end.

"It is my submission that the appropriate way to deal with this mess is to simply adjourn the hearing process until such time as Hydro has got its act together," Peguis First Nation lawyer Robert Dawson told the CEC panel Tuesday.

Regardless of what Hydro does or what the CEC says in its final report on Bipole III, the MMF has already signalled they will go to court to block the project.

"This isn't about Hydro's schedule," Madden said. "This is about fairness."

The MMF and Peguis First Nation say Bipole III will cut through their traditional lands. They say if it's built, they want a cut of the revenue it generates through surplus power exports to the United States.

Hydro negotiated a revenue-sharing deal with the Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation on the recently completed Wuskwatim generation station near Thompson and is currently negotiating a similar agreement with four northern bands on the proposed Keeyask dam project.

Manitoba Hydro CEO Scott Thomson has said the province risks rolling blackouts and a potentially crippling hit to the economy if it doesn't go ahead with a $20-billion plan to build Bipole III, Keeyask and the Conawapa generating station.

The bipole line, estimated to cost $3.28 billion, is to run down the west side of the province and is intended to bring more reliability to Hydro's system, including meeting rising domestic demand in southern Manitoba.

bruce.owen@freepress.mb.ca

Bipole III quotes

"I mean, I don't see how we can conclude these hearings until we have had a fair environmental assessment of what may well be the final route of this project."

-- Terry Sargeant, chairman of Manitoba's Clean Environment Commission

"This is not Etch-a-Sketch transmission routing. There needs to be an environmental assessment based upon the route that is before the commission. It's plain and simple."

-- Manitoba Metis Federation lawyer Jason Madden

"We have had no approach, no conversation, no contact from Manitoba Hydro to discuss or consider this. It has been up to us to pull teeth."

-- Pine Creek First Nation spokesman Warren Mills

"Ultimately, I think any participant who walks out of here should have only one feeling, shall we say, and that is that they were fairly treated."

-- Peguis First Nation lawyer Robert Dawson

-- source: Clean Environment Commission transcripts Nov. 6, 2012

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 9, 2012 A14

Tagged : No tags for this article

Headlines Newsview all

Young Boy Helping Father To Give Skin-To-Skin Contact To Premature Twins Sweeps Internet

NINO Birth shared the snap of a brother holding his premature sibling He used skin-to-skin contact  in place of an incubator to help recovery Facebook users want ... Full story

Suspicious Vehicle Triggers Bomb Scare At ITV Studios

Patrol officers reported a 'suspicious' white Skoda on Coin Street, London Buildings nearby, including ITV's South Bank studios, were evacuated Area was cordoned off and two controlled ... Full story

YouTube Video Of Hillary Clinton 'Lying' Goes Viral And Apparently Trump Is Next 

A popular YouTube video has visually pointed out the inconsistencies in Hillary Clinton's record  From her evolution on gay marriage to her Bosnia gaffe - where ... Full story

Fidel Castro To Obama: We Don't Need Your 'Presents'

HAVANA (AP) — Fidel Castro responded Monday to President Barack Obama's historic trip to Cuba with a long, bristling letter recounting the history of U.S. ... Full story

Illegal Migrants Carrying Their Worldly Possessions To Cross Macedonian Border

Hundreds still attempting one of the most dangerous journeys in the world across canals, mountains and in the face of Macedonian special forces They set off ... Full story

ISIS Crucify Priest In Chilling Easter Execution After He Kidnapped From Old People's Home

Sick ISIS terrorists have carried out their horrific threat to crucify a priest who was kidnapped by the jihadis earlier this month. Father Tom Uzhunnalil was ... Full story

Adorable Down's Syndrome Babies Steal The Show In Charity Shoot To Help Raise Awareness

Eliza, eight months and Jorja, 14 months, star in the calendar  Parents want to ensure the condition isn't 'a taboo or a hidden subject'  The tots star ... Full story

The Journey Film Made To Deter Asylum Seekers From Coming To Australia Cost $6m

Film made to deter Afghan asylum seekers from boat ride to Australia The Journey was commissioned by Australia's immigration department It was filmed in three countries and ... Full story

Storm Katie Batters Britain: Gales Of More Than 100mph And Dozens Of Flights Cancelled As UK Wakes Up To Another Bank Holiday Washout

Forecasters issued national weather warning as winds of up to 106mph were recorded at The Needles overnight  More than 20 flights arriving at Gatwick were diverted ... Full story

Pakistan Suicide Blast In Lahore By Taliban Targeted Christians

A Taliban suicide bomber who attacked a Pakistani park thronging with families was targeting Christians, the group said Monday, as the death toll rose to ... Full story

R.I.P Princess: Essex Girl Killed After High Winds Blow A Bouncy Castle 150m Across A Park 

Summer Grant, seven, was taking part in an Easter fair in Essex The girl was trapped in bouncy castle as it was blown 150m across park Was ... Full story

Rate this article

0

Breaking News

Why ad blocking hangs like a dark cloud over online advertising

When the grandees of the global advertising industry met in the south of France earlier this week for the annual Cannes Lions International Festival of ...

Brexit and your money: 5 ways it could hit Canadians

At 8:27 yesterday morning, financial adviser Rona Birenbaum sent out a mass email to clients, telling them not to panic. She explains she wanted "to help ...

Post-Brexit U.K. looks to sign free trade deal with Canada, high commissioner says

Britain's high commissioner is open to signing a free trade deal with Canada now that the United Kingdom has opted out of the European Union. Howard Drake ...

Moving 600K pieces of paper out of Syria: the Canadian effort to prosecute Syrian war crimes

Shahin arrived in Toronto in March with nothing but his guitar. He came from Syria, making an almost year-long detour in Ankara, Turkey. The guitar is ...

Fresh produce market opens in shipping container in Moss Park

In a shipping container in the shadows of towering highrise apartment buildings, food advocates have opened a produce market to bring fresh, healthy and affordable fruits ...

How a dust devil came to be and towered over Hwy. 401

Drivers cruising on Hwy. 401 near Mississauga last weekend encountered a bewildering sight towering over the highway mid-afternoon. "It looked like a tornado," said Qasim Swalah, who captured the ...

Lead levels significantly higher in Flint kids after water switch: report

Children under the age of six in Flint, Mich., had significantly higher blood-lead levels after the city switched its water source in 2014 to save ...

5 dead, including 2 children, in multi-vehicle crash near Hwy. 400, Sheppard Avenue

Five people, including two children, are dead following a fiery, multi-vehicle crash near Highway 400 and Sheppard Avenue, Toronto paramedics say. Jamie Rodgers, a deputy commander with Toronto ...

Off-duty police officer was driving truck that killed Brampton teen

An off-duty Peel police officer was behind the wheel of a truck that hit and killed a 13-year-old girl in Brampton Thursday, Peel Regional Police ...

Who is Raptors' 1st-round draft pick Jakob Poeltl?

Fresh off a franchise record 56-win regular season that ended just two wins short of reaching the NBA Finals, the Toronto Raptors drafted 20-year-old Austrian centre Jakob ...