December 8, 2013 Sections
Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION
Manitoba’s Clean Environment Commission has recommended the province issue an environmental licence for Manitoba Hydro’s Bipole III transmission project.
The CEC, which heard from 180 presenters over 10 weeks of hearings, issued its report today that also recommended eight route changes.
Conservation and Water Stewardship Minister Gord Mackintosh said CEC report includes 43 recommendations of which four stand out.
Mackintosh said the CEC wants an audit done five years after the transmission line is completed to see its impact on the land and communities it passes through.
The CEC also wants Manitoba Hydro to create a specific website to communicate material about the project’s impact and mitigation.
Third, the CEC also wants a process created to measure annual progress on the line and mitigation of its impact.
Last, the CEC recommended trail cameras be installed along the line to see its impact on wildlife.
The CEC also wants three things of government, Mackintosh said.
They include creating a province-wide aboriginal traditional knowledge database that could include information on traditional lands and ceremonial and burial grounds.
"It’s very important aboriginal communities provide their advice on that," Mackintosh said.
The CEC also wants the province to track more closely the prevalence of brain worm in deer.
Most important, the CEC said the government must strengthen its environmental assessment process.
It said in its report it is of the view that such poor environmental assessment should not be allowed to continue into the future. To allow it would pose additional, unneeded threats to the environment.
Mackintosh said the province will do that by moving up by two years a consultation process on improving that process. Consultations will start this year instead of 2015.
"We’re going to look at how we can strengthen environmental assessment to make it state of the art," Mackintosh said.