Hydro-Quebec was caught red-handed and red-faced when they admitted to doing work last summer without a proper permit.

An April 24 CBC News report said that Hydro had performed certain remedial works on the Rupert River before the giant hydroelectric project was given an official green light.

These works included tree cutting and dynamiting along the Rupert River corridor. The Quebec government was not aware of these works and they sent a letter to tell Hydro to halt the work, which had already been completed.

“We admit that that permit was not in our pockets,” media representative Sylvain Théberge told the Nation. “This doesn’t mean at all that we have started the Rupert diversion. It’s only works done with the Crees under the James Bay Convention.

“But there was small works along the corridor of the river that wasn’t covered by the convention, such as the dynamiting,” he continued. “We needed a permit from the Quebec Environment Minister and we didn’t think that was the case.”

Théberge said the dilemma has been cleared up and there won’t be a need for more permits in the future if the project goes through.

“The commissioners will give their recommendations next September or October and then we’ll wait for the government decision. We still hope to begin the Rupert diversion by the end of 2006.”