The Rupert and Kipawa Rivers deserves international attention according to Earthwild International Rupert Reverence, the environmental group composed of both Quebecers and Cree, are applauding the news of the nomination of the Rupert (and its neighbour, the Eastmain) and the Kipawa as the most endangered rivers in Canada by Earthwild International, a conservation organization in British Columbia.
Both rivers have been slated for development after Premier Bernard Landry gave Hydro-Quebec the go-ahead for a massive expansion of the province’s hydroelectric system. At least 22 other rivers will be affected.
“Quebec should not be allowed to sacrifice magnificent wild rivers like the Rupert and the Kipawa to feed the insatiable American appetite for energy,” said David Boyd, Chair of the Canadian Endangered Rivers Review Committee. “The claim that hydroelectricity provides clean energy ignores compelling scientific evidence about the impacts on fish, wildlife, and the health of Aboriginal people.” His views were strongly backed up by Eric Gagnon and Lisa Petagumskum, co presidents of Rupert Reverence.
“It is very sad news that the magnificent Rupert is considered the number one endangered river in Quebec and Canada, but it has become imperative that the entire world knows what is going on here. Hydro-Quebec, with the approval of Quebec and Cree politicians, is ruining the environment and national heritage, all the while sabotaging sustainable development in Northern Quebec. We are left with only international opinion to save the last great virgin rivers of Quebec,” said Gagnon.
Combined, the EM-1 and EM-1A projects will divert up to 92 per cent of the Rupert River (enough to fill an Olympic-sized pool twice per second) into the Eastmain (100 km further north), five dams, 81 dykes, 1,000 square km of affected territory, 51,000 m3 of cement, without counting the alteration of three other rivers as well as over 100 other bodies of water, according to Hydro-Quebec’s web site.
Rupert Reverence accuse Hydro-Quebec of holding a monopoly on public information. They say that few Quebecers know that hydroelectricity is no longer considered by the scientific community as a durable mode of renewable energy production – and this is how Hydro-Quebec likes it.
Other rivers featured in the CMER report are: the Okanagan and Fraser Rivers (British Columbia); the St. Lawrence River (Quebec); the Detroit River (Ontario); the Peel River (Yukon and the Northwest Territories); the Berens and Albany Rivers (Manitoba and Ontario); the Petitcodiac River (New Brunswick); the Main River (Newfoundland); and the Cornwallis River (Nova Scotia).
“Few countries owe more to their rivers than Canada and yet, our waterways face an array of threats,” said Mark Angelo, Vice Chair of the Canadian Endangered Rivers Review Committee.
“Consequently, there’s a need for all levels of government to develop new and more extensive strategies to better care for our rivers.” To see the CMER report go to: www.earthwild.ca