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Write Your Letter by February 18

By Friend of Bute - Posted on 06 February 2009

Private Power Threatens Bute Inlet Wilderness – Write your letter by February 18

Plutonic Power, owned 49% by General Electric, is planning the largest private power development in Canada for BC’s Bute Inlet. It calls for 17 river diversions, hydroelectric installations, power substations, 85 km of penstock, 142 bridges, 267 km of permanent roads and high-voltage transmission line from all the major side rivers flowing into the Homathko, Southgate and Orford rivers -- a 443 km clearcut and herbicided corridor through some of BC’s most remote and beautiful coastal wilderness between Bute
Inlet and Earl’s Cove. A map is here, and a much larger map (5.6 MB) is at

The BC Environmental Assessment Office has completed three small town meetings presenting the Bute Inlet megadevelopment
proposal. The cumulative and long-term environmental impacts warrant deep, thorough and impartial scientific scrutiny. Present-day and future social and economic effects deserve full study and public involvement. BC’s Liberal government has designed the environmental assessment to favour
industry. Without high levels of public interest and involvement, this huge project will almost certainly go
ahead, along with many others.

Related to this project are several highly important BC public policy issues:

  • the 2002 energy plan that prohibited BC Hydro from developing public power production facilities;
  • 2006 provincial legislation (Bill C-30) which silenced communities’ right to say “no” to development proposals; and
  • the major question of whether there will be private profits or public benefits from BC’s energy resources.

Please take time to write a quick letter about the required scope of the environmental assessment to the federal and provincial decision-makers. The deadline is February 18.

What is important right now is that they find out what they need to study

Local people have insights and information that is critical to this process. Our comments and opinions are highly important!

  • Say (briefly) who you are and why you care.
  • Tell them what you know about.
  • Tell them what you think they should be considering as they make plans to study the area.
  • Imagine the project and the various impacts, and ask about the things that concern you...

(special things about this area? fish and wildlife populations? change to habitats? the construction process? environmental monitoring & compliance? local economy? loss of potential? bute inlet weather? wilderness values? Water diversion impacts? transmission lines? access issues? forest
land base? First Nations issues? jobs – how many, how long, for whom? cumulative impacts/effects of this and hundreds of other applications to divert local rivers for power? do we need it? what about the money? ... )

This is YOUR letter, say what you know, and ask what you want!

  • Request the Federal government refers the Bute Inlet project to a “Federal Review Panel”
  • Ask for complete and impartial assessment of all short term, long term, and cumulative impacts
  • Demand the scientific studies (paid for by developer!) are comprehensive and peer-reviewed.
  • Request better public process, including meeting venues and timelines that offer realistic opportunites for full public involvement.
  • Express your concern about BC government fast-tracking huge private projects with major environmental impacts and social consequences.
  • Don’t worry that your letter is a masterpiece – just do it!!

    Don’t delay your response and please pass this on to your friends and relations!

    Address your letter to: (email addresses are provided in cut & paste format, below)

    Marie-France Therrien, Panel Manager, Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency

    Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, 160 Elgin Street, 22nd Fl., Place Bell Canada Ottawa ON K1A 0H3

    Phone: 613-957-0324 Fax: 613-957-0941

    Kathy Eichenberger, Project Assessment Director, BC Environmental Assessment Office

    Environmental Assessment Office, POB 9047 Stn Prov Govt. Victoria, BC V8W 9V1

    Phone: 250-952-6501 Fax: 250-387-2208


    Honourable Gordon Campbell, BC Premier

    The Honourable Jim Prentice, Canada's Minister of the Environment

    Hon Barry Penner, BC Minister of Environment

    Blair Lekstrom, BC Minister of Energy Mines and Petroleum Resources

    John Duncan, MP North Island

    John Weston, MP Sunshine Coast

    Claire Trevena, MLA North Island

    Nicholas Simons, MLA Sunshine Coast

    Send To:;


    Bcc: (Friends of Bute Inlet)

    The draft terms of reference for the Bute Inlet Hydroelectric Project can be downloaded from the BC Environmental Assessment Office, at:

    Bute Inlet at the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency:

    Download this Action Notice here

    Download the Watershed Watch Backgrounder, here

Tapped Out

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