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Site C Environmental Assessment Joint Review Panel Stage Begins

On August 1, 2013, in accordance with the Agreement for the Cooperative Environmental Assessment for the Site C Project, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency and the BC Environmental Assessment Office determined that BC Hydro's amended Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is satisfactory and directed the proponent to submit the amended EIS to the Joint Review Panel. The Proponent submitted the amended EIS to the Panel on August 2, 2013, ending the pre-Panel Stage of the environmental assessment. Accordingly, the Joint Review Panel Stage has begun.

The Panel, appointed by federal and provincial environment ministers, consists of the Chair, Harry Swain, and members, James Mattison and Jocelyne Beaudet. Biographical information on the Panel Chair and Members is available in the accompanying backgrounder.

To view the Agreement and the EIS or to obtain information on this environmental assessment, consult the Canadian Environmental Assessment Registry at www.ceaa-acee.gc.ca, reference number 63919 or the BCEAO web site at www.eao.gov.bc.ca.

To be added to the distribution list and be kept informed of activities relating to the panel review process, provide a mailing or email address to: SiteCReview@ceaa-acee.gc.ca.

The proposed project

BC Hydro and Power Authority proposes to construct and operate a dam and 1,100-megawatt hydroelectric generating station on the Peace River in northeastern B.C. The proposed project would be the third in a series of dams on the B.C. portion of the Peace River. The project components are an earthfill dam 1,050 metres long and 60 metres high, an 1,100-megawatt generating station and associated structures, an 83-km long reservoir, realignment of four sections of Highway 29 and two 77-km transmission lines along an existing transmission line right-of-way connecting Site C to the existing provincial power grid.

The Panel

Dr. Harry Swain – Chair

Harry Swain is an acknowledged expert in public environmental policy with extensive experience in both the public and private sectors. He is currently a member of the Indian Affairs and Northern Development audit committee, president of the Victoria Symphony board, and a research associate of the Centre for Global Studies at the University of Victoria. Dr. Swain holds a PhD in economic geography from Minnesota and an honorary doctorate from Victoria, where he currently lives. His book Oka was a runner-up for the Donner Prize in 2011.

Dr. Swain served for 22 years in the federal government, working in nine federal departments between 1971 and 1995. He was the federal government's first senior advisor on renewable energy and subsequently Director General for Electricity, Coal, Uranium and Nuclear Energy with the Department of Energy, Mines and Resources. Later, he was Deputy Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and then Deputy Minister of Industry Canada. On leaving government he became a director of Hambros Bank (London) and CEO of its Canadian subsidiary, as well as a director of a number of related companies. When Hambros was sold he became a partner in Sussex Circle, a policy consulting firm. He chaired the research advisory panel and related public meetings for the Walkerton Inquiry and chaired the subsequent Ontario Expert Panel on Water and Wastewater. He also chaired the federal Expert Panel on Safe Drinking Water for First Nations that conducted hearings across Canada in 2006. Its report resulted in an Act of Parliament given Royal Assent in June 2013.

Mr. James S. Mattison – Member

James Mattison is a professional engineer and senior natural resources expert with thirty years of experience, including twenty-five years with British Columbia's water program within the Ministry of Environment. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Applied Science from the University of British Columbia and a Masters of Natural Resources Management from Simon Fraser University. He currently resides in Victoria, British Columbia.

Mr. Mattison has extensive experience and knowledge of hydroelectric projects in British Columbia and public review processes. During his tenure with the Government of British Columbia he served as Assistant Deputy Minister and Comptroller of Water Rights with the Ministry of the Environment. In this latter position he was responsible for reviewing licensed rights and managing a $50 million per year compensation fund. He has also chaired a panel to conduct public consultation and recommend options for a $100 million trust fund to enhance the environment of the Nechako River.

He has served on the Boards of Control for the International Joint Commission and has made significant contributions to both policy and legislative initiatives in B.C. He was a finalist for the Premier's Award for contribution to the public service in 2010.

Ms. Jocelyne Beaudet – Member

Jocelyne Beaudet is a communications consultant with thirty years of experience in various fields related to the environment and public participation. She holds a Bachelor's degree in physical anthropology from the University of Montréal and a Master's degree in cultural anthropology from McGill University. She resides in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.

Ms. Beaudet has developed communications plans and public consultation strategies for numerous environmental initiatives. As a consultant, she has advised the Office of the Auditor General of Canada on issues related to the Canadian North, organized strategies on climate change and air pollution, and advised the Task Force on Sustainable Transportation for the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy. While working for Tecsult Inc., she developed communications and public consultation plans for transportation and mining projects in Quebec and Africa.

Ms. Beaudet has extensive experience undertaking public consultation as a panel member for federal, provincial and municipal environmental agencies. She served as a member of the Joint Review Panel for the Darlington New Nuclear Power Plant Project (2009 – 2012), the Joint Federal-Provincial Review Panel for the Eastmain 1-A/Rupert Hydroelectric Project (2004 –2006) in Quebec, and as the Provincial Executive Co-Secretary of the Joint Review Panel for the Lachine Canal Decontamination Project (1995). She has served both as a member and as a chair for panels for the Bureau d'audiences publiques sur l'environnement du Québec and for the Office de consultation publique de Montréal. Several of her mandates addressed Aboriginal issues.

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