MOE response to ORA – The Chute – 2 March 2012
MOE response to Xeneca – The Chute – 2 March 2012
Miscellaneous – Minutes & Correspondence
MOE to ORA – Four Slide Falls, Serpent River – 19 April 2012
September 9, 2011:
The CEAA, 4.(2) states, “In the administration of this Act, the Government of Canada, the Minister, the Agency and all bodies to the provisions of this Act, including federal authorities and responsible authorities, shall exercise their powers in a manner that protects the environment and human health and applies the precautionary principle.”
1. MNR and MOE staff have not been given the freedom to use their authority or expertise in a manner that protects the environment and human health;
2. Xeneca has managed to skip and jump ahead of important protocol and process to expedite their application, against the protests and recommendations of Agency staff;
3. The experience of the ORA and the public (ref. 2(d)(iii), in our dealings with Xeneca, has been one of frustration and aggravation at the lack of transparency, openness and cooperation. This is unacceptable, and not in the spirit and intent of the public consultation process set out in the Waterpower Class Environmental Assessment. It is evident that Ministry staff also experienced challenges with Xeneca’s lack of cooperation and compliance;
4. The Chute GS Environmental Assessment Report is incomplete in numerous areas as there are still many studies which need to be started, and completed, before any approvals should be granted;
5. The cumulative effects of all facilities, water management practices, obstructions, roads, transmission lines, diversions, as well as all resulting “Identified Potential Risks”, must be considered with a precautionary approach in order to protect the well-being of all communities, the environment, and the riverine ecosystem; and to comply with the EAA and the CEAA;
6. Safe fish passage, both upstream and downstream, must be an integral part of all hydroelectric dam proposals, as set out in the LRIA, 1977 guidelines, and there is no mention of this mitigation measure in this ER;
7. Public Safety measures are also absent in this Environmental Report, and this is not acceptable; and
8. For the many reasons listed in the ER and in the body of this letter, this type of “modified run-of-river” hydro-electric dam is very harmful to a riverine ecosystem, both upstream and downstream; and when you have “two or more generation facilities that function together as an integrated system for generating electricity shall be deemed to be a single generation facility for the purpose of this regulation”, the negative cumulative effects are amplified. In order to meet the intent and spirit of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and section 1(3) of the Class Environmental Assessment Act, O. Reg. 116/01, ORA requests that Xeneca be ordered to meet their legal obligations under this legislation, and address The Chute and Third falls under one Environmental Assessment Report.
As demonstrated above, The Chute ER is very lacking in several extremely important areas, and the cumulative effects of this proposal would have a devastating effect on the Ivanhoe River’s entire riverine ecosystem, as well as those bodies of water below it. It is the position of the ORA that hydro-electric generation, in the form Xeneca is suggesting at The Chute, will have unacceptable environmental impacts, and does not contribute in any way to “the betterment of the people of the whole or any part of Ontario by providing for the protection, conservation and wise management in Ontario of the environment” (EAA, R.S.O. 1990, c, E.18).
These types of proposals must not be fast tracked, or pressures placed on Agency staff to by-pass or ignore important policy, process and mitigation measures!
Consequently, ORA, after having carefully reviewed the Class Environmental Report and supporting documentation for the Proposed Ivanhoe River Generating Station, The Chute, is requesting a Part II Order be issued to elevate this proposal to an Individual Environmental Assessment.
Also see Xeneca’s response to ORA’s Comment letter dated August 11, 2011.