An artist's rendering shows how the Peace River's Site C dam would appear after completion. (BC Hydro)
Recommendations on the future of Site C have been released
. A Joint Review Panel has assessed the environmental impact of the controversial hydroelectric project and released to the federal and provincial governments. It is non-binding, but the report could make a big difference in the future of the project.
We spoke to Jim Quail, a lawyer who practices in the field of energy regulation about both scenarios. Listen to the full interview below:
(note: this interview was conducted before the report was released to the public)
If it's a "yes"
"I would be really amazed if we don't get a greenlight for this project from the environmental assessment process today," say Quail. "The fact that there are already two dams in the same river... I would expect they would see it as acceptable."
But that doesn't mean a greenlight. Even if the provincial government decides to go ahead, there could still be a challenge from First Nations in the area.
"Because of the special constitutional rights that First Nations have, if they do not feel that they've been properly consulted and their concerns aren't accomodated, they have legal remedies available to them. Not necessarily a veto, but they have a pretty significant voice."
If it's a "no"
"This isn't the final decision," explains Quail. "The final decision will be made by cabinet."
So even if there's a no recommendation, the province could still decide to go forward with this project.
"They could still go ahead... but if this report recommends against it, politically that would be a significant setback."