The British Columbia government is going ahead with the proposed Site C dam project and there are numerous reasons for British Columbians of all social and economic backgrounds to be extremely concerned with it.
What Is the Site C Dam project?
Just a quick explainer: The Site C dam project is a dam proposal southwest of Fort St. John in northern BC that will cost an estimated $8.3 billion. It would be the third of four dams on the Peace River and would be the first dam built since 1984.
We don’t actually need the energy
The Independent Joint Review Panel says that BC Hydro hasn’t proved that BC needs the energy. With projects like these, it’s important to have unanimous need for such power. But this has yet to be proven, and the province is going ahead
It costs $8.3 billion of your money
Originally costed out at around $3 billion just five years ago, the price tag has escalated past $8 billion and is likely to end up near $9-10 billion. Given that Premier Christy Clark has racked up more provincial debt than any of her predecessors combined, this project will add plenty more to that total. And we’re all going to pay for it through future Hydro rate increases.
No review from the BC Utilities Commission
Premier Clark and Energy Minister Bill Bennett still refuse to go to the BC Utilities Commission to determine whether we need this power. In fact, they exempted Site C from BCUC review. Keep in mind that the BCUC is stacked with BC Liberal appointees over the last 15 years.
Threatens Food Security
The Site C dam project will flood 107 kilometres of our province’s best farmland in northern BC. The project is especially harmful to First Nations communities up north who depend on wildlife and farms for food security. Over 1100 acres of agricultural land and wilderness will be flooded, including the habitats to numerous wildlife. Also keep in mind that flooding land creates and emits methane which is a greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change.
Even if we needed power, there are better alternatives
Even though we don’t actually need the power, it’s pretty clear that Site C is not the solution to energy woes, even if we had energy needs. It’s hard to believe that the province would invest $9 billion into 1950’s technology on a river that already has a dam. The Joint Review Panel suggested investing in geothermal as an alternative to Site C.
The Leader of the Opposition John Horgan has suggested investing in renewable sources of energy, like solar and wind would be smarter and most cost-effective. Given that the cost to produce solar power keeps getting lower and lower, and more countries across the planet are investing in it, it would make sense for BC to come out as a leader. But sadly, that would require a different government.
Mountains of Opposition
From farmers to scientists to energy experts to First Nations communities, there are numerous opponents to Site C. It would flood over 78 First Nations heritage sites. Over 23 First Nations groups are formally opposed to the project. Numerous ranchers and farmers from the Peace River region are opposed.
“Site C is a stupid idea. We have geothermal capacity, here in B.C., that they don’t want to look at. We have wind energy here. We are not opposed to the development of the energy—we are opposed to the destruction of the Valley.” – Chief Roland Willson, from West Moberly.
Site C is Allegedly the Path to the failing LNG dream
Premier Clark has admitted that Liquefied Natural Gas plants require an immense amount of energy to extract LNG. And here we are: The true reason for the Site C dam project. Clark has promised the world will turn to BC for LNG and it will solve all of our problems. 5 years later, we have no LNG jobs when Clark promised hundreds of thousands and $0 into the Prosperity Fund that Clark promised would lead to a “debt-free BC”.
We already know that market forces are killing LNG. It’s quite simple actually. Global natural gas exploration since 2009 has been rapidly increasing. There WAS demand for it. But now that everyone is tapping into their own resources in the ground and exporting it, prices are dropping. The cost of produce LNG and ship it around the world is around $12-16 per unit. The market price for LNG is around $7 per unit and falling. No company will produce something for 12 to 16 dollars and sell it for 7. The business case for LNG is falling flat and Site C is to lead to LNG, which we know is going to fail, according to what the market has dictated.
We also know that an LNG-led energy policy falls in the face of a province that is rapidly falling behind our UN emissions targets. So even if we needed the energy from Site C and even if a company invests in LNG at a massive loss, it’ll be at the expense of our climate and environment.
The Case for Site C is in Question
It’s important that every energy project the province invests in is for the betterment of our province. It needs to be reviewed and we need to actually need the energy. Site C is a testament against that from what we have heard from the JRP. Make your voice heard about this project.