It cost $400 million and was 5,000 pages long, but Hydro-Quebec’s environmental-impact study of the proposed Great Whale project is incomplete, admits the giant utility. Hydro-Quebec agreed to provide $450,000 to fund a Cree-designed study of the social impacts of the $ 13.3-billion project after Crees refused to fill out a simple questionnaire about the project. The Grand Council of the Crees called the questionnaire a joke. Hydro-Quebec issued the questionnaire after the utility was criticized for not incorporating local residents knowledge of their environment into the study.

“Hydro caved in,” said Bill Namagoose, executive-director of the Grand Council of the Crees. “It’s a major admission that their way of consultation was not proper.” The report is expected to be released by May. A 130-day public-comment period on Hydro’s impact study is to start in January.