Who Needs the Damn Site C Dam? Bank, Concrete and Steel Shareholders, Politicians, Speculators...

Damn Proposed Site C Dam

The Site C Dam Joint Review Panel {JRP] delivered its findings a few days ago in its 471-page report. They say, "The Panel concludes that the Proponent has not fully demonstrated the need for the Project on the timetable set forth." The report includes 50 recommendations for the project, on topics that include fish habitat, wildlife, heritage, First Nations' treaty rights, agriculture, transportation and human health. It comes after three years of hearings and deliberations, 29,000 pages of evidence from BC Hydro, and 35 years of planning.

As the Tyee article 'No Rush to Build Site C Dam, Review Finds' says, "The report is critical of BC Hydro's planning, including the failure to compare Site C with alternative sources of power." And that, "The report raised concerns about First Nations treaty rights and found the project "would likely cause significant adverse cumulative effects on current use of lands and resources for traditional purposes." Adding, "The loss of farmland would be highly significant to the farmers who would bear the loss, and that financial compensation would not make up for the loss of a highly valued place and way of life."

Save the Peace

The Mud Report covered the hearings and published summaries of each week's proceedings [here, here, here, and here]. While the report's hand-picked panel members don't make a clear recommendation on whether the project should proceed, they do highlight the permanent damage it would have on the environment, farmland and wildlife. In the end, when the report does mention alternative sources of power it doesn't touch on CONSERVATION - the only real green alternative - because it makes no windfall profits for the bankers.

The JRP recommended referring aspects of the project to the B.C. Utilities Commission, saying, "A first step should be for the regulator to examine the cost of the project and the ultimate cost per unit of energy it would produce." The BCUC has rejected the Site C Dam project twice in the past 35 years for the same reasons that still prevail. When asked by reporters about the recommendation to refer aspects to the BCUC, the BC government minister responsible for the project, Bill Bennett, said simply, "We won't be doing that." Bennett did let slip that the questionable $8-billion budget includes "$1.5 billion for interest".

Despite the Liberals moaning there's no money for Health Care, Education, upgrading current infrastructure, they can find "$1.5 billion for interest" to be paid for a damn dam nobody needs. Why? Well BC Hydro, once a huge source of revenue for BC, is now hemorrhaging money. How come? The run of the river agreements Hydro was forced into by Bennett's former leader Gordon Campbell is losing money for BC but returning huge guaranteed dividends as a 'payoff' to liberal friends and insiders, the $Billion dollar 'Smart Meter' boondoggle and the over $400,000,000 BC's government takes off the top yearly and deposits into general revenue so their accountants can say the cooked books look fine to them have done the job.

In the past the fantasy had been to sell the 'excess power' to the Yanquis to make up for the losses that the Liberal governments have forced on BC Hydro and to help pay the $700 million fine for manipulating prices in Calif in the past. But The 'export market' has been vastly diminished by combined cycle gas turbines and the cheap and abundant gas (fracking anyone...?) in the U.S. More recently the excuse for going ahead with Site C, despite the fact BC doesn't need the power was that it would be required for the LNG export boondoggle. That was silenced when all the potential LNG developers admitted that, like every other LNG operation on the globe, BC's would be powered by the natural gas itself.

Which brings us back to the real reasons for building the danm Site C Dam starting with the $1.5 billion windfall in interest payments to the bankers and all the yummy profits for the concrete and steel tycoons who support the Queen Christy and her cronies financially both above and below the table. The Chamber of Commerce, the big unions, the shareholders in the banks, market speculators, the equipment producers, etc. all have never seen a mega project they didn't love.

There's plenty of reasons not to build the Site C Dam but politicians know that spending your money on a mega project will always buy votes in greater quantities than the votes lost by the negative impact on a few first nations folks, ranchers and the biosphere. Unfortunately there's never a mention by any of them of CONSERVATION through efficiency [like insulation] or voluntary demand reduction through de-growth, only various means of continuing BAU's cancerous 'growth'. The Site C Dam is just another pack of lies whose actual purpose to the transfer of the people's hard earned money into the hands of the rich.