A major decision is now pending which could dramatically change the environmental, economic and social future of North-western British Columbia. The BC Government is proposing to extend BC Hydro’s electricity transmission line from Meziadin Junction to Bob Quinn Lake, with a potential plan to further extend the grid as far as Dease Lake. The Government has announced that it is willing to subsidize the building of this new transmission line with a subsidy of $242 million in taxpayer money.

The BC government’s stated objective with the project is to electrify the northwest. Government messaging has highlighted the desire to get rural, mostly-native communities in the region off diesel power generation. However, research reveals that there are a variety of much less expensive options to reducing the carbon footprint of diesel-dependent communities in the region.

The BC government’s main interest in building the new transmission line is to facilitate the delivery of sufficient electricity to make several prospective mining projects proposed for the region economical.  Discussions about the new transmission line really are about rapid large-scale industrial development in the region. Therefore, the proposed transmission line extension has many implications for the First Nations and existing communities and businesses of the Northwest Region.  Approval of the project would usher in a much more rapid pace of development than in the past.

Below you can download our Citizens Guide to the Northwest Transmission Line which was release in the fall of 2008.  This Guide is designed to inform affected First Nations and communities about the Northwest Transmission Line (NTL) Project, its potential impacts and how First Nations and communities may intervene in the transmission line approval process to ensure that their interests are protected.  The Guide also identifies opportunities for the reform of specific laws to achieve this same purpose.

The creation of this report would not have been possible without the generous support of our funding partners at The Law Foundation of British Columbia.  Thank you so much for your continued support.