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Site C Is a Climate-Change Disaster, Says Suzuki

Site C Is a Climate-Change Disaster, Says Suzuki

‘We have to rethink everything’ says noted environmentalist. A Tyee Q&A.

David Suzuki at Site C announcement

David Suzuki and Grand Chief Stewart Phillip at a media scrum outside the B.C. Superior Court Monday morning. Photo by Mychaylo Prystupa.

Flooding valuable farmland to build the Site C dam undermines Canada’s commitment to meet international climate-change targets, environmentalist David Suzuki said outside a B.C. courtroom this week.

The farmland is needed to reduce B.C.’s dependence on imported foods, Suzuki said, and eliminate the huge amounts of carbon fuels needed to bring those foods here.

“It seems to me crazy to put farmland in the north underwater,” he said. “We live in a food chain now in which food grows on average 3,000 kilometres from where it’s consumed. The transport of all that food is dependent on fossil fuels.

“Food has got to be grown much closer to where it’s going to be consumed,” he said.

Instead of building dams and pipelines, Canada should “massively encourage” wind, solar and geothermal energy projects and put a stiff price on carbon emissions, he said.

Suzuki joined Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, head of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, at a news conference on the steps of B.C. Supreme Court just before the latest battle over the Site C hydroelectric project began inside.

BC Hydro is seeking an injunction to prevent protesters at the Rocky Mountain Fort camp from “physically interfering” with the construction of Site C. The B.C. government approved the $8.3-billion dam in late 2014.

If completed, Site C would flood about 83 kilometres of the Peace River valley near Hudson’s Hope, much of it fertile land, and generate enough electricity to power 450,000 homes.

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