Quebec does not exclude the possibility of further Hydro for violations of environmental laws

Québec n’exclut pas de poursuivre Hydro pour atteintes aux lois environnementales

Photo: Olivier Zuida The Duty
The ministry of the Environment of the criticisms of Hydro-Québec interventions not permitted on streams and damage to wetlands in the Laurentian mountains.

The ministry of the Environment does not rule out hanging around Hydro-Québec before the courts of law for many violations of environmental laws committed in the construction of the line Big-Burned–Derivation Saint-Sauveur, in the Laurentians.

A criminal investigation in this case is “still ongoing” to the ministry to assess whether it will drag the case before the courts, has confirmed the ministry the Duty. The role of a survey is to check if any violations of criminal provisions of environmental legislation have been committed and, if necessary, to collect the necessary evidence for prosecution. The survey, however, can last for years, precise-t-on.

With a length of 42 kilometres, the new line of high voltage of 120 kilowatt-hours, was intended to meet the growing demand for electricity in the Laurentians.

Hydro-Québec and its sub-contractors have received no less than 18 notices of non-compliance of the ministry of the Environment on the project these past few years. In the spring of 2019, the minister has published an order to enjoin the State corporation to implement all measures to prevent new offences and accountability to him for three years. In ten years, this is the only time where Hydro-Québec has been the subject of such an appeal.

The department criticized the company for having been negligent and have not taken enough precautions to prevent the construction, resulting in significant sludge and sediment deposits in the lakes nearby. Added to this are interventions that are not permitted on streams and damage to wetlands.

At Hydro-Québec, it is estimated to have done everything possible to rectify the situation. “We believe we have taken all the possible measures — drastic measures — to minimize the phenomenon of sedimentation,” said his spokesman, Maxence Loonie-Lefebvre. In addition, a study commissioned by the organization showed that the damage caused by the sludge in the lakes had not caused any permanent damage, he says.

Moreover, even if the high voltage line Grand-Brûlé–Saint-Sauveur is in service since may 2019, Hydro-Québec is still present on the site to rehabilitate.

“Lessons” for Hydro

On the 18 notice of non-compliance received, 3 are, which occurred after the publication of the ordinance last year. Gold at Hydro-Québec, it contends that this project has been particularly problematic because located in the area steep.

“When we started the project in 2018, it was found that the management of waste water, sediment, and interventions in a humid environment would be much more complicated than previously thought,” says Benoît Gagnon, the head of the division “projects and environmental assessment” at Hydro-Québec.

His organisation has also “learned” from what happened, ” he stressed. “For the project Micoua-Saguenay, which is currently (editor’s NOTE : another site slope), construction of roads has been completely revamped to avoid sedimentation “.

From the outset, “instead of waiting for the method of work of our entrepreneurs,” it “provides” a “plan of waste water and sediment,” he says. Finally, a monitoring environment will be present on the site permanently.

In addition, the department has been most severe on the construction site of the Laurentides region than elsewhere. The folder has also been more publicized and led to a strong mobilization of citizens, he noted.

However, the residents who have put pressure on the folder are now wondering what would have happened without their intervention. “If we had not been there, it is sure that there would still be mud flowing into the lakes “, argues Georges Bégin, one of those who have followed the site since the beginning.

“If the minister Benedict’s Cart had not issued a prescription, I can’t imagine the disaster that could have assisted” note about it Sarah Perreault, advisory committee, Saint-Adolphe-d Howard, referring to permanent damage in the lakes.

The Large project-Burned-Saint-Sauveur has cost 119,1 million, 21 million more than what was expected in 2018.

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