Protect BC's Wild Rivers and Public Power

Write a letter now!

You can help protect BC’s rivers, streams and fish from damage caused by the private hydro-power industry! Your actions over the last few years have kept rivers and creeks such as the Upper Pitt and Glacier and Howser Creeks running wild, and have helped save ratepayers tens of millions of dollars in environmentally damaging and very expensive electricity.

Private run-of-river hydro projects in the province are increasingly coming under scrutiny as a mountain of evidence emerges about poor planning, non-compliance with regulations, and water flow management problems that threaten fish.

  • A Freedom of Information (FOI) request filed by the Wilderness Committee revealed internal government documents that show over 700 cases of non-compliance at 16 independent power projects (IPPs) operating in the South Coast region of BC in 2010. These non-compliance incidents include ramping problems (fluctuating water levels that can strand and kill fish) as well as numerous problems with reporting and monitoring by the industry.
  • Another FOI made public by the Wilderness Committee in May 2013 revealed a 90% non-compliance rate at operating IPPs. More disturbingly, BC government staff revealed: "We have not had sufficient staff resources to monitor permit condition compliance." Read more...
  • To top it off, a report on IPP monitoring commissioned by the Department of Fisheries of Oceans found numerous problems with monitoring of projects.

The startling number of incidents recorded in these government documents is proof not only of the environmental damage these projects are causing, the massive financial impact to BC Hydro (our best tool against climate change) but also of the lack of enforcement from both provincial and federal agencies that regulate the industry.

In 2013, the Wilderness Committee produced an educational report about this issue, entitled “Defend BC’s Wild Rivers”. The report delves into the environmental, financial and political impacts of the province’s current energy policy, and explains how poor management at run-of-river projects in BC is causing problems for fish that live downstream of these facilities. It also raises concerns over the financial threat that private power poses to BC Hydro, because of contracts with IPPs that have forced our public utility to buy power that we don’t need, at rates much higher than market value.

If you are concerned about the privatization of our wild rivers, we encourage you to take action today. Use our online letter-writing tool to write to BC Premier Christy Clark, urging the provincial government to enact a moratorium on IPP development and ensure compliance and enforcement of existing regulations.

Click here to write your letter now!


Photo: Glacier and Howser Creeks were prevented from being dammed and diverted for private power. Photo by Gary Diers.

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