You are hereFederal Review Panel Established for Environmental Assessment of Proposed Bute Inlet Hydroelectric Project

Federal Review Panel Established for Environmental Assessment of Proposed Bute Inlet Hydroelectric Project

News Release, Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, July 16, 2009

OTTAWA – July 16, 2009 – Canada’s Environment Minister Jim Prentice announced today the establishment of a three-member federal review panel for the proposed Bute Inlet Hydroelectric Project in British Columbia.

Minister Prentice appointed Les Cooke as panel chair, as well as Ian Birtwell and George Kupfer as panel members. Biographical information on the panel chair and members is available in the accompanying backgrounder.

The panel terms of reference for the environmental review were issued by the Minister in May 2009, along with the document entitled “Guidelines for the preparation of the Environmental Impact Statement”. The Panel Terms of Reference document describes the review process and the procedures to be followed by the federal panel in conducting the review, as well as details on the scope of the environmental assessment.

In accordance with its terms of reference, the panel will:

- conduct an examination of the environmental effects of the proposed project and the significance of those effects;

- consider measures that are technically and economically feasible to mitigate any adverse environmental effects, as well as the need for and the requirements of any follow-up programs with respect to the project; and

- consider comments from the public that are received during the review.

Further information on this project, along with the terms of reference, is available on the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency Registry under registry number 09-05-44825.

Bute Hydro Inc. is proposing to construct 17 run-of-river hydroelectric facilities in the vicinity of Bute Inlet. Major components, in addition to the generating facilities, include a substation near the mouth of Southgate River, associated access roads and ancillary works, 216 km of 230 kV collector transmissions line and a 227 km 500 kV trunk transmission line from the proposed substation near the mouth of Southgate River to the existing 500 kV substation at Malaspina.


For more information, media may contact:

Lucille Jamault
Senior Communications Advisor
Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency
Tel.: 613-957-0434

Proposed Bute Inlet Hydroelectric Project
Federal Review Panel - Biographical Notes

Les Cooke

Les Cooke has over 40 years of strategic policy and planning, program management and executive experience with the governments of Saskatchewan and Alberta, and provincial governments in South Africa. He completed graduate studies in land and resource planning at the University of Alberta. He is President of Les Cooke and Associates, a consultancy focused on strategic management and organizational effectiveness in forest management and infrastructure development.

Mr. Cooke has held executive positions focused on natural resource and environmental management, economic development and strategic policy and planning. He has led national strategic planning processes for the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment and the Canadian Council of Forest Ministers. He has spearheaded new approaches to public sector governance and program management, including Aboriginal business development, integrated land management and partnership-based environmental management. Mr. Cooke has extensive experience in facilitative leadership and consensus driven partnerships involving a wide array of government agencies and stakeholder communities. He has frequently managed complex organizational environments involving boards, commissions, authorities and interagency task teams.

Mr. Cooke has chaired resource management organizations and served on environmental assessment panels. He has chaired the Board of Directors of the Saskatchewan Wetlands Conservation Corporation and served as the Vice-Chairman of the Alberta Advisory Committee on Heavy Oil and Oil Sands Development. He was a member of the joint federal-provincial panels examining the development of the Kearl oil sands mining and extraction facility and the expansion of the Muskeg River oil sands operation, both in northern Alberta.

George Kupfer

George Kupfer is a consultant focusing on community consultation and facilitation related to social and environmental issues. He has a sociology degree from Seattle Pacific University, as well as a Masters and Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Washington. He taught at the University of Alberta for 15 years, before establishing his own company, Fresh Start Limited, and continues to work extensively in Alberta.

Dr. Kupfer has facilitated many community consultation and stakeholder engagement initiatives related to industrial projects and their impacts. He has led multi-stakeholder consultations on drilling applications, gas pipeline developments, sour gas issues, transmission line route selection and forest conservation. He facilitated a multi-stakeholder review of the Alberta environmental impact assessment process. He has facilitated Crown consultation processes with First Nations for the federal and Alberta governments and advised the National Energy Board on the development of an internal Aboriginal consultation process. He has worked with First Nations and Metis, industry, communities and government departments in Alberta, British Columbia and the Northwest Territories.

Dr. Kupfer has served on numerous environmental assessment panels, specifically related to water management issues. He was recently a member of the joint federal-provincial panel reviewing a run-of-the-river hydroelectric project on the Peace River near Dunvegan, Alberta. He was also a member of panels reviewing water management projects for the Pine Coulee and Little Bow/Highwood projects in Alberta, and was a panel member for reviews of the Jackpine and Horizon oil sand developments in northern Alberta. He managed the review panel, as well as the scientific review of the Alberta-Pacific pulpmill and served as social impacts advisor to the Oldman River Dam Panel.

Ian Birtwell

Ian Birtwell is an aquatic ecologist with particular expertise on the effects of industrial development on fish and fish habitat. He worked as a biologist and research scientist for Fisheries and Oceans Canada for over 30 years and retired in 2006. He has a Ph.D. in estuarine Ecology from Kings College, London University.

Dr. Birtwell has devoted his career to researching and reviewing the effects that human developments have on the aquatic environment. His research has focused on the lethal and sublethal aspects of stressors on the survival of fish and on their habitat. He has done extensive work on the effects of sediment and turbidity on aquatic systems. He has studied the impacts of oil spillage and transportation, pulp mill effluents, placer gold mining, oil sands development, diamond mining, municipal effluent, specific contaminants, as well as effects of electricity production and thermal and dissolved gas pressure changes. Dr. Birtwell's research results have contributed to the formulation of regulations under the Fisheries Act, and have been used in testimony in court and in cooperative ventures with non-governmental organizations, industries, and government agencies, to assist fish and fish habitat protection. He contributed to the formulation of Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s fish habitat policy, and has provided expert opinion for governments in over 30 court cases involving habitat damage and the deposition of deleterious substances.

Dr. Birtwell has been spokesperson and expert witness before federal and provincial public hearings including the joint federal-provincial environmental assessment panel reviewing the effects of the Alberta-Pacific pulp mill. He has participated in international, national, regional and provincial committees related to habitat, pollution issues and legislation. He has delivered numerous lectures to scientific, administrative and public audiences, and has authored over 150 scientific publications. While working for Fisheries and Oceans Canada, he received the Deputy Minister’s Commendation for contribution to environmental assessment.

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