VANCOUVER, June 16 /CNW/ - Cloudworks Energy Inc., a Vancouver-based
green energy developer, today denied an activist group's allegations of
inadequate environmental standards at run-of-river hydroelectric projects it
is constructing near Harrison Lake.
"The Western Canada Wilderness Committee (WCWC) has released six brief
and selective quotes from more than 1,800 pages of emails and other government
documents, and claimed they provide a basis for sweeping conclusions about
project impacts," says Cloudworks Principal Nick Andrews.
"The roughly 200 words in question in no way reflect the rigour of
environmental review and supervision at these projects," Andrews continued.
"At worst they reflect dialogue with regulators regarding relatively minor
deficiencies that were noted and addressed. In our view, this is evidence of a
system that's working."
The unattributed comments appear to reflect viewpoints of individual
ministry staff at unspecified points in time, during a now two-year long
construction period. They are in some cases based on erroneous or incomplete
understandings of circumstances, and do not accurately reflect final outcomes.
One, for example, refers to an intent to issue a notice of tenure
non-compliance, although no such notice was in fact issued.
The comments released appear to relate primarily to the following three
Wetland incursion - In March 2008 there was a single inadvertent
machinery incursion into a buffer zone. While supervisory and communications
deficiencies were identified and rectified, there was no trespass nor were any
significant habitat impacts identified relative to blue-listed or other
species. The regulatory response was a $175 ticket for straying outside a
licence-to-cut boundary, involving about 10 m(3) of timber.
Bridge construction - Two fully authorized bridges were constructed along
a transmission-line route (authorized by Cloudworks' water license and by an
additional DFO permit, in the case of one located at a fish-bearing crossing).
Although some work at one crossing was mistakenly initiated without proper
regulatory notification in spring 2008, this neither negated the authorization
nor resulted in habitat impacts or sanctions.
Landslides - In spring 2008 three small landslides occurred along a
single stretch of existing forest-service road that was being re-activated. In
response, the contractor involved implemented improved procedures and slope
stabilization was done. Again, no significant habitat impacts were identified,
nor were any regulatory sanctions imposed.
Andrews said that Cloudworks cannot comment directly on an additional
allegation of inadequate staffing within government agencies. But he noted
that the scope of Cloudworks' interaction with regulators assigned to these
projects - sufficient to generate hundreds of pages of documents - indicates
"The conclusions the wilderness committee claims to have come to simply
aren't supported by a review of the full record," says Andrews. "Their
statements are misleading at best, and an example of knee-jerk opposition to
energy generation in even its greenest forms. This is the very approach that's
been widely condemned by environmentalists and many others."
The projects in question are within the traditional territory of the
In-SHUCK-ch Nation, which has worked closely with Cloudworks on their
development. "We would never have supported and participated in these projects
if we weren't fully confident in the environmental standards being applied,"
said In-SHUCK-ch Chief Negotiator Gerard Peters. "These projects are part of
the development strategy for our communities and we resent ill-informed
interference like we're seeing from the wilderness committee."
Andrews adds that Cloudworks welcomes not only required regulatory
oversight, but constructive engagement with a range of stakeholders, with
respect to the development of its projects. "When WCWC is ready to begin
dealing in facts and full context - and to define what it means when it talks
about the 'right way' to develop green energy - we'd welcome them to the
table," he said.
For further information:
For further information: Nick Andrews, (604) 633-9990, (604) 761-5292;
Gerard Peters, (604) 970-7891