If the proposed hydroelectric project Eastmain-1A passes the environmental assessment phase, non-natives in Eeyou Istchee stand to gain $310 million.

Quebec Premier Jean Charest announced a 50-year economic development fund for the Municipality of James Bay January 28.

The fund would kick in if the province begins construction on the dam. The money is intended to help the 16,000 Quebecois residents of the region.

Charest also said Quebec “favours” energy exports to the United States. But he cautioned that significant increases in electricity exports won’t develop until at least 2011.

The $4 billion Eastmain project is scheduled for completion in 2010 and will require the diversion of the Rupert River.