The Grand Council of the Crees

Radio-Canada Abitibi: Eastmain 1-A Project Crees sounding the alarm

Posted: 2006-07-28

Originally form CBC Radio Canada:

The chiefs of the communities of Nemaska, Waskaganish and Chisasibi are against the Eastmain 1-A project, the most important hydroelectric project presently underway in Quebec.

According to the three chiefs, the $4-billion project - requiring 70% of the flow of the Rupert River to be diverted to two new powerhouses - threatens their health and their culture.

They claim that the energy produced in Quebec meets the demand and that energy produced resulting from this project is mostly for export purposes.

The communities of Waskaganish and Nemaska also fear that the project will dangerously increase mercury levels in the water and considerably reduce the fish population.

Wednesday, the Chief of the community of Nemaska, Josie Jimiken, met with Hydro-Québec representatives in Montreal. According to him, the project has become increasingly controversial and the community hopes it will not proceed.

The Crees of Chisasibi argue that the project will increase the flow of the La Grande River, which may result in severe consequences for the ecosystem.

The three chiefs now hope that the Federal Review Panel will recommend that the project be abandoned. They refuse to say what they will do should Hydro-Québec get the go ahead.

The Crown Corporation said it is not surprised by the Chiefs' comments, refusing to comment further. It is waiting for the commissioners' report, expected for the end of October.

If the Federal Review Panel gives Hydro-Qu?bec the green light, work will begin in December.