*New **James Bay** Dams to Destroy Pristine **Quebec** **River** *

International Opposition and Outrage over Hydro-Quebec’s Destructive $5B
Power Grab

ALBANY, NY, Sept. 12 /PRNewswire/ – American environmental groups today
announced their support for Canadian environmental groups and three Cree
Indian communities fighting Hydro-Quebec’s most recent assault on the James
Bay wilderness in Quebec, Canada.

Hydro-Quebec’s primary purpose for damming and diverting the Rupert River
-one of the last undammed major river in Northern Quebec – and creating a
massive reservoir equivalent in size to flooding two-thirds of Montreal, or
half of New York or New Orleans, is to generate new power capacity to sell to
the northeastern United States.

U.S. and international environmental groups opposed to the project

– Natural Resources Defense Council *MailScanner has detected a possible fraud
attempt from “” claiming to be* (

– International Rivers Network *MailScanner has detected a possible fraud
attempt from “” claiming to be* (

– Friends of the Earth U.S. *MailScanner has detected a possible fraud attempt
from “” claiming to be* ( );

– Sierra Club Northeast Regional Conservation Committee (NERC)

– The Indigenous Environmental Network

– Project Laundry List

– The Hudson River Sloop Clearwater

– New York Public Interest Research Group

– NY City Friends of Clearwater


– Institute for Social Ecology, Vermont;

– Delaware-Otsego Audubon Society in Oneonta, NY (
– The Energy Justice Network;

– Wittenberg Center for Alternative Resources;

– Seedcorn,;

– Citizens Environmental Coalition

– Solidarity Committee of the Capital District

– Action PA

Many of these groups were involved in the successful cancellation of
Hydro-Quebec’s Great Whale hydroelectric mega-project in 1992 when they
convinced then-Governor Mario Cuomo of New York to back out of the state’s
$17 billion contract with Hydro-Quebec.

Chief Josie Jimiken of Nemaska, one of the three Cree communities most
impacted by the project said, “There is no need to harm the river or the
wilderness – Hydro-Quebec has surplus electrical generating capacity already
and there are acceptable alternatives to this plan including many wind energy
proposals in the James Bay Cree territory.

“We welcome the support of American and international environmental groups
in raising awareness that the terrible environmental consequences of damming
the Rupert River will be felt far beyond our few communities,” said Chief

The recently launched web site provides the real
story behind this destructive hydro project, the danger to the lives of the
Cree and shows how polluting and environmentally damaging hydro power is.

“We need to focus first on energy efficiency, repowering our old plants
and clean distributed generation with our energy choices,” said Ashok Gupta,
Air and Energy Program Director of Natural Resources Defense Council. “If
renewing long-term energy contracts with Hydro-Quebec to supply consumers in
northeast U.S. means ruining more Canadian rivers, flooding more boreal forest
and creating health hazards for a number of Cree Indian communities, we have
an obligation to emphatically say ‘No’.”

Since the project was agreed to by the Grand Council of the Crees in 2002
as part of an omnibus agreement between the Cree, Government of Quebec and
Hydro-Quebec called the Paix des Braves, concerns over greater environmental
and health impacts, such as mercury contamination equal to that of coal fired
power plants, together with increased project costs and reduced power
requirements and forecasts by Hydro-Quebec, have cast doubt on the need for
the project.

Hydro-Quebec concealed a $4.5 billion wind energy alternative proposed
by Siemens, from commissioners during environmental impact assessment (EIA)
hearings in 2006, despite being required to bring forward all known
alternatives. The EIA panel approved the project in a split vote, solely on
the basis of economic need being greater than environmental impact, without
knowledge of the alternatives. The dissenting commissioner said the
environmental consequences were too great to allow the project to proceed.

“Hydro-Quebec travels to dam industry conferences around the world
boasting that it no longer imposes its projects against the will of local
people. Yet it is bulldozing through its destruction of the Rupert River
despite the strenuous opposition of the directly affected Cree
communities,” said Patrick McCully, Executive Director of International
Rivers Network.

Friends of the Earth U.S. President Dr. Brent Blackwelder said his
organization “strongly objects” to the Hydro-Quebec power project and the
damage being done to the Rupert River and the three Cree communities.
“Hydro-Quebec’s latest scheme would disrespect, disrupt, and damage the
indigenous Cree people for the purpose of supplying the United States with
electricity and is saying to hell with the social and environmental
consequences,” said Dr. Blackwelder.

“Well-kept Secret”

“The Rupert River diversion has been a well-kept secret in the United
States – now the secret is out and we agree that this is an environmental and
social disaster,” said Andy Mason, Conservation Chair of the Delaware-Otsego
Audubon Society.

“This massive, non-sustainable energy project has been cloaked in secrecy
and preliminary work has started with almost no public scrutiny,” said Doris
Delaney of PROTECT, adding that it is never too late to re-examine the Rupert
diversion. “We seek a construction moratorium, to allow time for impartial and
complete review of the project’s environmental and social impacts, and of the
very attractive wind power alternative, which Hydro-Quebec appears to have
deliberately concealed,” said Delaney.

“Hydro-Quebec’s latest plan for flooding the Rupert River would drown out
the way of life and health of the Cree and ruin the ecosystem,” said Jason K.
Babbie, Senior Environmental Policy Analyst for New York Public Interest
Research Group. “This technology was rejected during New York’s renewable
energy standard proceeding and would not be welcome here, so we must reject
the power from this type of facility outside our borders.”

The Sierra Club Northeast Regional Conservation Committee (NERC)
representing 11 Sierra Club chapters across the Northeastern U.S. and
Canada does “not support the construction of hydro electric projects which
impose adverse environmental and social impacts,” said Annie Wilson, Chair
of the Energy Committee for the Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter. “Hydro-Quebec
has associated our electricity needs with the destruction of the Rupert

On average, 71% of the river’s annual flow will be diverted by 2009 to
new reservoirs flooding 135 square miles of land, leaving a trickle of the
original flow. The water will be funneled to Hydro-Quebec’s La Grande
hydropower system further north on James Bay.

“Diverting the Rupert River for electrical power generation to be exported
to the United States creates dirty energy tainted with human rights abuses
against our aboriginal peoples,’ said Tom Goldtooth, Executive Director,
Indigenous Environmental Network. “This is another environmental and economic
injustice being perpetrated against the Cree communities who have the most to

September 14 Rally in Montreal

The first of a series of international awareness activities is scheduled
to take place on September 14, with a large clothesline demonstration outside
Hydro-Quebec’s headquarters in Montreal Canada.

The event will feature a 400-foot-long protest clothesline “because we
want to hang Hydro-Quebec ‘s destructive, dirty energy project out to dry,”
said Alexander Lee, Executive Director of Project Laundry List, based in New
Hampshire, which is sponsoring the event, together with the Quebec Chapter of
the Sierra Club of Canada and Quebec-based environmental groups Rupert
Reverence and Rivers Foundation which fought the Hydro-Quebec project for more
than six years.

“We need to focus more on reducing energy consumption here in the U.S. so
that Hydro-Quebec has no excuse to destroy this jewel of the James Bay region
and violate traditional Cree culture,” said Lee.

Voices of Opposition to the Rupert River Diversion


“While Clearwater supports the construction of certain low impact
hydroelectric projects as a form of clean renewable energy, we strongly oppose
the massive diversion project proposed for the Rupert, as we opposed the Great
Whale Project 13 years ago.”

– Manna Jo Greene, Environmental Director, Hudson River Sloop

“Hydro-Quebec should abandon its plans to divert and destroy the Rupert
River. The environmental impacts are just not acceptable and viable
alternatives are available.”

– Tom Ellis, Co-Chair, Citizens Environmental Coalition, Albany, N.Y.

“Hydro-Quebec seems up to its old tricks again, and again it spells
disaster, both for the environment and human rights. Clean energy advocates
in Vermont and across New England weren’t fooled by Hydro-Quebec 15 years
ago, and we’re not fooled by their misguided plans to flood yet another
vital northern river today.”

– Brian Tokar, Institute for Social Ecology, Plainfield, Vermont, USA

“Hydro-Quebec is attempting to re-plumb the last great untouched
wilderness in the northeastern part of North America. They have failed to
adequately address the very serious problem of large-scale methyl-mercury
pollution in an otherwise pristine fresh water area.”

– Margaret Weitzman, Seedcorn

“It makes no sense to turn an ancient, wild river into a gigantic gutter.
The wind power alternative would produce just as much electricity for the same
or less cost and create sustainable jobs in the process. The best site in
North America for wind power development happens to be exactly where they want
to dam the Rupert”

– John Funiciello, Chairman, Solidarity Committee, Capital District in New York State.

“Hydro-Quebec is given a free hand to monitor the impacts of its own
project. There needs to be independent monitoring of the Rupert project. We
just don’t believe Hydro-Quebec will modify the project if the impacts
become too severe.”

– Daniel Green, Sierra Club of Canada

“Hydro-Quebec always compares its projects to coal-fired power stations
instead of comparing to green energy because Hydro-Quebec prefers to do what
they always do – build dams regardless of the impacts. Hydro-Quebec ‘s massive
new reservoir will flood a large region of boreal forest and northern
wilderness. All this destruction is more unjustified than ever

– Nicolas Boisclair, Rupert Reverence

“Hydro-Quebec is about to reduce by half and dry out three quarters of one
of the last big untouched rivers of the planet by diverting the Rupert River,”
“They even hid a great wind-power project from the public because they never
wanted to consider any other options.”

– Jean-Francois Blain, Rivers Foundation

* For Facts on the Rupert River Diversion:

* For A Hydro Project of Enormous Scale and Destruction:


* For the Referendum Myth:

* For the Flawed Environmental Assessment:


In the U.S.

Name Organization Phone/e-mail

Alexander Lee Project Laundry List (603) 219-1195

Doris Delaney PROTECT (215) 364-3460

Patrick McCully International Rivers Network (510) 213 1441

Ashok Gupta Natural Resources Defense Council (212) 727-4408

Dr. Brent Blackwelder Friends of the Earth U.S. (877) 843-8687

Jason K. Babbie NYPIRG (212) 349-6460

Annie Wilson Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter (518) 426-9144
Theresa Cassiack

Tom Goldtooth Indigenous Environmental Network (218) 751-4967

Brian Tokar Institute for Social Ecology (802) 229 0087

Tom Ellis Citizens Environmental Coalition (518) 453-8874

Manna Jo Greene Hudson River Sloop Clearwater (845) 454-7673 x 113

Andy Mason Delaware-Otsego Audobon Society (607) 652-2162

John Funiciello Solidarity Committee, Capital District in New York State (518) 673-2602

Margaret Weitzman Seedcorn (315) 265-4619

Carl Schwartz NY City Friends of Clearwater

Betsy Stang Wittenberg Center for Alternative Resources

In Canada

Nicolas Boisclair Rupert Reverence (514)267-3140

Michel Gauthier Fondation Rivieres (514)272-2666

Daniel Green Sierra Club of Canada (514) 844-5477

Stuart McCarthy Bluesky Strategy Group (613)241-3512 x 229

or or

David Manley (for Chiefs Josie) (613)241-3512 x 230

Deborah Williams
Hulbert Outdoor Center
2968 Lake Morey Road
Fairlee, VT 05045


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