DATE: 2001 12 11
01 - 22
Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation (NCN) and Manitoba Hydro have announced that Environmental Act Proposal Forms (EAPFs) are being filed for the proposed Wuskwatim Generating Station and its associated transmission facilities.
Manitoba Hydro President and CEO Bob Brennan emphasized that the formal EAPF filing does not indicate that a selection has been made to proceed with construction of the Wuskwatim facility, but that an application is being submitted for provincial and federal environmental approvals in order to protect a potential in-service date of 2009 for the new generating station. "The current information indicates a high level of confidence that Wuskwatim will be an attractive development from environmental, economic and ratepayer perspectives. Community consultation and environmental, engineering and economic studies are continuing. After consultations with our potential First Nation Partner, Hydro expects to be able to make a decision about whether to proceed further with Wuskwatim by the spring or summer of 2002."
NCN Chief Jerry Primrose said that the Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation has recently signed an agreement in principle with Manitoba Hydro with respect to potential development at Wuskwatim and is currently negotiating a project development agreement. "We are very pleased that support for this project remains strong among NCN members. We look forward to participating in the formal environmental review process and contributing our traditional ecological knowledge to the assessment process. The NCN leadership also expects to be able to make decisions about proceeding with the Wuskwatim project once further studies have been completed. There will be ongoing consultation with our members."
An EAPF filing initiates the formal environmental review of a project by Manitoba and Canada, a process with extensive public involvement that could take two years to complete. As an initial step, federal and provincial authorities with input from the public will establish the guidelines for the environmental impact statement that Manitoba Hydro and NCN will be required to complete.
The environmental impact statement will include descriptions of the project area, environmental and socio-economic impacts, and plans to avoid or otherwise manage those impacts.
Manitoba Hydro also signed an agreement in principle in 2000 with Tataskweyak Cree Nation at Split Lake to potentially develop the Gull hydroelectric site. Negotiations continue with TCN and nearby First Nations of York Landing, War Lake and Fox Lake with respect to this project. Community consultations and environmental, engineering and economic studies are also continuing for Gull. Since the earliest in-service date for Gull is 2012, an EAPF is not needed at this time to protect that in-service date.
NCN and Manitoba Hydro will, over the next several months, continue with their planning and consultation and are expected to bring forward proposed plans for review next year.