Politicians who describe dams as “clean energy projects” are talking “nonsense” and rejecting decades of science, says David Schindler, a leading water ecologist.
Former premier Christy Clark often touted the Site C dam as a “clean energy project” and Premier John Horgan has adopted the same term.
But that’s not the story told by science, Schindler told The Tyee in a wide-ranging interview.
In fact studies done by federal scientists identified dams as technological giants with lasting ecological footprints almost 40 years ago, he said.
Dam construction and the resulting flooding produces significant volumes of greenhouse gas emissions. Canadian dams have strangled river systems, flooded forests, blocked fish movement, increased methylmercury pollution, unsettled entire communities and repeatedly violated treaty rights.
Schindler, a professor emeritus at the University of Alberta and an internationally honoured expert on lakes and rivers, pointed to the increased mercury levels as a health and environmental risk. “All reservoirs that have been studied have had mercury in fish increase several-fold after a river is dammed,” he said.
“How can any of those impacts be regarded as green or clean?”
The Site C dam is no exception. A report by the University of British Columbia’s Program on Water Governance found the Site C project, which faced a federal-provincial Joint Review Panel in 2014, “has more significant negative environmental effects than any other project ever reviewed under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (including oilsands projects).”
…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…