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Hydroelectric power station on the 11th fall of the Mistassini River: authorization is based only on declarations of intent

11e chute de la rivière Mistassibi

PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Montreal, October 21, 2015 – Fondation Rivières denounces the government authorization to build a hydroelectric power station on the 11th fall of the Mistassini River in Lac-Saint-Jean, in the riding of Prime Minister Couillard. The government is thus deliberately turning a blind eye to a multitude of consequences as well as to the secret management of the Société de l'énergie sociale du Lac-Saint-Jean (SECLSJ) which is leading the issue. Important conclusions from the Bureau d'audiences publique sur l'environnement (BAPE) were not taken into account and the government analysis is erroneous regarding the real economic benefits of the project.

Thus, even reading the communicated and summary table of the “requirements” relating to the project, produced by the Ministry of Sustainable Development, Environment and the Fight against Climate Change (MDDELCC), we see that the authorization is essentially based on “monitoring” of the consequences of the work. For example, with regard to the anticipated ice jams, the promoter only had to commit to properly managing the problem and that would be it. This is the same irresponsible approach used in the case of the wastewater spill from the City of Montreal, for which the MDDELCC took comfort by requesting water analyzes
polluted river during the spill in order to know the impact

However, Fondation Rivières wrote to Minister Heurtel last September to inform him of these issues. No substantive response has been received.

Among the fundamental questions, that concerning the justification of the project remains. How can the government justify subsidizing regional development by purchasing electricity at too high a price? Such projects cause a deficit for Hydro-Québec while the government cuts public service budgets. Also, how is it that the government finances an organization like the SECLSJ which does not respect municipal laws by awarding lucrative professional service contracts without calls for tenders and systematically refuses access to information on its administration?

The Fondation Rivières therefore calls on the government not to give the other authorizations required for this project, including authorization of financing by loan regulations.

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For informations :

Alain Saladzius
President
514 924-2013
presidency@fondationrivieres.org

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