Stewart Phillip and Ben Parfitt:
Few environmental messes inherited by the new B.C. government rival the unregulated free-for-all that has unfolded in the province’s northeast where companies that frack for natural gas have built nearly 60 unlicensed dams.
Not only do some of those dams show distressing signs of failing, but the companies that built them ” and the government agencies that regulate them” consistently failed to honestly consult with First Nations about their intentions.
First Nations were never told that proposed water storage facilities on their traditional lands were actually large dams. Nor were they told that the companies shouldn’t build them without first obtaining water licences and submitting engineering reports to provincial dam safety officials, neither of which happened.
Now, in an unprecedented application before B.C.’s Environmental Assessment Office (EAO), Progress Energy, a subsidiary of the giant Malaysian state-owned corporation Petronas, is asking the province to exempt from retroactive review two massive dams that it built without first obtaining proper authorizations.