British Columbia says it won’t participate in China’s $50-billion Three Gorges Dam project, saying it doesn’t support mega-projects.

Premier Michael Harcourt said there is a strong environmental ethic in B.C. “We don’t allow uranium exploration or uranium mining or nuclear power,” said Harcourt in a Globe and Mail story.

“For that, and other reasons, we are putting B.C. Hydro in those directions [small and medium hydro dams].”

B.C. Hydro had considered joining Ontario Hydro and Hydro-Quebec in a consortium seeking large hydro-electric contracts in China. Instead, Harcourt said B.C. Hydro will concentrate on small and medium-sized projects.

His decision split a Canadian trade mission to China that included Prime Minister Jean Chretien, nine premiers, two territorial leaders and two mayors.

Earlier on that mission, both Chretien and Ontario Premier Bob Rae spoke positively about Three Gorges, saying Canadian and Ontario businesses have the technology to grab many of the contracts on the project.

The project would force more than 1 million people out of their homes. But Rae argued that the series of dams would reduce flooding on the Yangtze River, one of the largest in the world.