Dear Friend of Pimicikamak --
Dear Friend of Pimicikamak --
A letter (see attached file) or
telephone call from you to a Canadian Minister or two can help to get
a full federal panel review of the industrial hydroelectric complex in
the Boreal Forest. See overview of the current situation below. If
you'd like more information, or to remove your name from this list, send
me an e-mail message or feel free to contact me by telephone at 952-915-1505.
Thank you. Tim Rudnicki/ Attorney at Law/ Pimicikamak U.S. Advocate.
This material is distributed by Tim Rudnicki on behalf of Pimicikamak.
Additional information is available at the Dept. of Justice, Washington,
URGENT ACTION ALERT: IMMEDIATE HELP REQUESTED
MAJOR LEGAL AND POLITICAL ACTION ABOUT HYDRO.
EMBARGOED UNTIL FRIDAY JULY 25, 2003.
MANITOBA HYDRO OPERATING ILLEGALLY UNDER PROVINCIAL AND FEDERAL LAW.
Thursday July 24: launch of major legal and political action in regard
to Manitoba Hydro�s existing massive hydro operation (existing segment)
and proposed expansion (future segment).
The existing segment (Churchill River Diversion and Lake Winnipeg Regulation)
is a system of dams, infrastructure, transmission lines, storage reservoirs,
river diversions, etc. It has caused a great deal of environmental damage
and human suffering since it was built in the early 1970s, which continues
almost unchecked and grows day by day.
For decades there has been one plan for one big integrated hydro project
that would develop and re-engineer the entire northern river system of
Manitoba for electricity. Half of this has been built (the existing segment).
The other half (future segment and more damage) is proposed by Manitoba
Hydro (MH) to be built. It has publicly announced plans to develop the
other half of the water power capacity in the province (about 5600 MW)
through more than a dozen new dams, and major transmission corridors.
News of Illegality: Based on information just discovered, the applicant
Pimicikamak (an indigenous Cree nation in northern Manitoba) asserts that
the existing segment is operating illegally and has been since it was
Violations of Provincial Law:
MH never applied for and was never granted any approval under the provincial
environmental statute. If no sych licence, there were never any licence
conditions or limits on environmental impacts. MH has essentially been
given a grant to operate the existing segment in whatever manner it wants
regardless of the environmental consequences. It is little wonder that
damage is significant and remains largely unchecked.
Hydro projects in Manitoba require two main provincial approvals/licences
to operate: a water power licence (which allows use of water to create
electricity, and sets conditions on water flow, storage, levels etc.)
AND an environmental licence (which sets conditions and limits on environmental
effects from any such operation). MH got the first; it never got the second.
Such licences are supposed to be issued before any project is built.
Decisions on whether to approve the licence and which conditions to put
on it, are supposed to be based on the results of environmental assessment
and review which reveal what types of impacts and harms might be caused,
how bad they might be, and how best to avoid and mitigate them.
In the early 1970s, the provincial environment minister ordered the
reviewing agency to not conduct any such review. This may have led to
the scandal and problems identified in the 1979 Tritschler Inquiry. Nevertheless,
it in no way exempted MH from the requirement to apply for and receive
approval under the environmental statute. It never did.
Federal Law Also Violated:
Pimicikamak asserts that the existing segment violates federal law:
� Fisheries Act (harm to fish habitat)
� Navigable Waters Protection Act (obstruction of waterways by tons of
dead tree and other debris from flooding and shoreline erosion, and some
debris has resulted in death from boating accidents)
� Migratory Birds Convention Act (destruction of migratory birds� nests).
All of these interferences with nature require federal permits in advance,
and before a permit can be issued, an environmental assessment under the
Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA) must be conducted. Such permits
would have conditions about the nature and extent of such harm.
The violations should be remedied now. They should be remedied by approvals
under provincial and federal statutes, which are based on a full assessment
and review of the existing segment. The review will determine which conditions
should be set on approvals (licence and permits), including to fix and
minimize damage that has been caused, and to prevent and mitigate further
That sounds simple enough. But an environmental review and assessment
process has already started for a proposed new dam and transmission line
(Wuskwatim) � to be added to the existing segment and all its impacts.
Future additions and changes are being considered before and without
knowing what has already happened. You can�t know whether or not to approve
Wuskwatim or any new element of the future segment if you don�t know what
it is you are proposing to affect (the existing segment and all its effects)
and how you will affect it.
Further, you can�t know whether to approve any particular element of
the future segment without knowing more about the other elements. Hydro
works through an integrated and interconnected system. It must be this
way. Each part affects other parts and the whole. To know whether any
future parts should be built in any given way, in which order, at which
time, etc., requires knowing and reviewing the future segment as it is
The answer: hold one comprehensive review/assessment now for the �Whole
Project� � what is already built (the existing segment) and what is presently
contemplated to come in the future (the future segment, which includes
Given the serious damage already created, the threat it will be expanded
with new development, and the serious legal issues, this review and assessment
should be conducted by a federal panel review of the Whole Hydro Project.
Actions by Pimicikamak on July 24:
� Notice of Motion to Manitoba Clean Environment Commission (the current
reviewing agency), seeking assessment and review of the Whole Project.
The CEC has the authority to do this under the Manitoba Environment Act
by broadening the scope of the review now before it (in the Wuskwatim
proceeding) to the Whole Project. Seeking public hearing on the motion
before the CEC after August 15 (several affidavits of evidence should
be filed with the CEC by August 11).
� Notice also calls for serious omissions and errors in MH�s filings
in the current review/EA to be fixed. Clearly, with a broader review more
information would be required from MH anyway. But the problems with the
filings go well beyond that. Information and analysis on environmental
impacts (including cumulative and system-wide impacts), the need for and
alternatives to the project, and justification for the project are seriously
� Letters to Manitoba�s Minister of Conservation, Director of Licencing.
� Letters to federal Ministers calling for review and assessment as
basis for federal permits that are required; and to the Minister of Environment,
calling for review and assessment of the Whole Hydro Project by a public
panel under CEAA.
Help Requested Now:
Starting week of July 28: Send the attached letters to the federal Minister
of the Environment, and the Manitoba Minister of Conservation, and call
their offices. Forward this package to your members and others. Your involvement
can make all the difference.
The Manitoba Conservation Minister can order the CEC to expand the review
to the Whole Hydro Project. The federal Environment Minister can call
for a full federal panel review of the Whole Project.
For further information, please contact
Kate Kempton, Counsel to Pimicikamak
Phone: 416-981-9374 Cell: 416-917-7897 firstname.lastname@example.org
Letters from Envtls to Ministers, Template,
July 24, 2003 .doc format