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2nd Legal Update to Site C Litigation

Intervener applications

Three parties have applied to intervene in the legal challenges to the government approvals of the Site C project. Interveners generally give brief submissions to the Court to assist the Court in understanding the context and broader implications of key issues that are before the Court in a particular case.

1) The BC Public Interest Advocacy Center has asked to intervene in support of

PVLA on behalf of five anti-poverty and seniors’ groups to represent the interests of low and fixed income residential ratepayers.

2) The Canadian Geothermal Energy Association (CanGEA) has also sought intervener status in support of PVLA.

3) Amnesty International has applied for intervener status in support of the BC Treaty 8 First Nations in their legal challenges.

BC Hydro and the federal and provincial governments are opposing all of the applications to intervene in the Site C cases.

- The judge has now set aside a full day, Monday, March 30, 2015 to hear all the intervener applications for both the PVLA and First Nations BC Supreme Court cases.

- The Federal Court applications to intervene will be determined based on written submissions, without an oral hearing.

Proposed Interveners

BC Public Interest Advocacy Centre (BC PIAC)

- BC Hydro and the federal and provincial governments are opposing the application by BCPIAC (on behalf of several anti-poverty and seniors’ groups) to intervene in support of the PVLA challenges in BC Supreme Court and Federal Court of the approval of BC Hydro’s Site C Project.

- The groups are asking for one hour of time in the PVLA’s BC Supreme Court case in order to explain how the flaws in the Site C approval process could result in significant rate increases to low-income ratepayers who are already having difficulty paying electricity bills.

- “We plan to focus on the need for a thorough review by the BCUC of the need for and cost of the Site C Project, as recommended by the federal/provincial Joint Review Panel, to ensure that low-income people, including seniors and people with disabilities, aren’t required to pay unnecessary costs for electricity service,” said Sarah Khan, a lawyer with the BC Public Interest Advocacy Centre who is representing the groups. (See BC PIAC press release:

Canadian Geothermal Energy Association (CanGEA)

- CanGEA has applied for intervener status in support of the PVLA legal challenge to approval of Site C in the Supreme Court of BC.

- CanGEA presented both a written and oral presentation to the Joint Review Panel for the Site C dam. In the Report from the JRP, there was express reference to the CanGEA evidence, and the longstanding failure of both the BC Government, and BC Hydro to conduct adequate research into geothermal energy as an alternate energy source.

“The Panel concludes that a failure to pursue research over the last 30 years into B.C.’s geothermal resources has left BC Hydro without information about a resource that BC Hydro thinks may offer up to 700 megawatts of firm, economic power with low environmental costs.”

- CanGEA has asked for half an hour during the week scheduled for hearing to address the Court.

Amnesty International

- Amnesty International has applied for intervener status in both the Federal and BC Supreme Court proceedings brought by BC Treaty 8 First Nations.

- AI wishes to make submissions to the Court regarding the international law standards that require respect for Indigenous rights in state decision making about resource development projects.

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