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First Nation seeks status at PUB review of dams

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A northern Manitoba aboriginal community is going to the province’s highest court to fight a decision by the Public Utilities Board to deny it status at the PUB's upcoming review of Manitoba Hydro’s dam building plans.

Lawyers for Pimicikamak at Cross Lake will appear in the Manitoba Court of Appeal on Sept. 26 to argue that the PUB made a mistake in denying them standing at the upcoming Needs For and Alternatives To (NFAT) review into Hydro’s plans to build the Keeyask and Conawapa generating stations on the Nelson River.

The PUB dismissed Pimicikamak’s application last month, saying it had provided no evidence that it speaks on behalf of other affected First Nations, aboriginal peoples or ratepayers. The PUB also said Pimicikamak’s concerns about hydro development in the north can be raised by other intervenors such as Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak, which represents 30 northern bands, but not Pimicikamak.

The PUB, which has said it wants to avoid duplication in the upcoming NFAT hearing, also said the Manitoba Metis Federation and the Consumers Association of Canada can address issues Pimicikamak wanted to raise.

Pimicikamak says in its notice of motion that its appeal of the PUB decision is a matter of interest to all Manitobans, particularly those who may consider applying for intervenor status at future PUB hearings.

"Intervenors are the only parties which test Manitoba Hydro’s assertions and evidence and thus they provide a critical role in PUB proceedings and decisions," the court documents says.

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