The option to appeal the Bipole III environment licence carried a deadline of September 13. So far the Manitoba Metis Federation and Manitoba Wildlands have stated publicly they appealed the licence. Other participants may have also filed appeals.
Recently Manitoba Conservation has stopped putting appeals to environment licences in the public registry. This makes it is more difficult to track appeals, or to know their outcome. An example of this change in operational standards under the Environment Act is the numerous appeals of 2011 peat mine licences. None of these were made public, none are in the public registry.
The Minister is required to review licence appeals, and formally respond; that is acknowledge receipt of the appeal, and then formally (written response) give reasons for either upholding the appeal, or dismissing the appeal.
Manitoba Wildlands letter of appeal cites a range of problems with the Bipole III proceedings, and the licence itself. Notable among these is the licence being based on the Bipole III EIS. The EIS was found to be deficient by the Clean Environment Commission. Numerous commitments regarding Bipole III were made by Manitoba Hydro during the CEC hearings. These are missing from the licence. The licence is precedent setting in a number of ways. The clauses in it include a range of steps Manitoba Hydro must take before construction. And Minister Mackintosh sent a letter with the licence to the utility indicating that CEC recommendations that are not regulatory must also be fulfilled.
View September 13, 2013 Manitoba Wildlands Bipole III letter of appeal
Clean Environment Commission (CEC) hearings regarding the Manitoba Hydro 1400 km long dc transmission system called BiPole III ended March 15, 2013.
After 9 weeks of hearings, with a 3 month adjournment to prepare environmental statement for three BiPole III route changes, common ground among hearing participants were obvious.
Several concerns were clear:
- Most Manitoba Hydro conclusions based on desk studies and existing data, little field work done
- First Nation and Aboriginal communities rejected Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge findings
- Cumulative environmental assessment incomplete
- Valued Environment Components selected for self assessment incomplete
- Concern for woodland caribou and moose grew based on proponent's assumptions and presentations
- EIS appears incomplete, as if the utility assumed a licence would be issued
- Little content regarding drainage, water safety, aquifer safety
- First Nation land selection hampered, funding for First Nation community capacity insufficient
- Problems with Manitoba Hydro community engagement, and consultations by Manitoba government
- Inconsistent, and varying BP3 impact zones in Hydro technical work, leaving confusion about various impacts beyond the 66 meter right of way
- Lack of acknowledgment of the long term impacts from the corridor on farm operations, homes, and businesses in southern Manitoba
Participants asked the CEC to not recommend a licence until insufficiencies and problems in Manitoba Hydro technical work are deal with.
The CEC has 90 days to prepare its report for the Conservation Minister. The Chair indicated its report would be made public 10 days after delivery to the Minister.
View March 12, 2013 Gaile Whelan Enns, Director, Manitoba Wildlands, closing statement in Bipole III hearings
View Manitoba Wildlands Bipole III Events, Decisions, Documents Chart
Click below for a short summary of Manitoba Clean Environment Commission (CEC) Bipole III proceedings and hearings.
- Proceedings Update: June 2012
- Proceedings Update: August 30, 2012
- Proceedings Update: September 15, 2012
- Hearings Week 1: October 1-5, 2012
- Hearings Week 2: October 10 & 11, 2012
- Hearings Week 3-4: October 15-26, 2012
- Hearings Week 5: October 29 - November 1, 2012
- Hearings Week 6: November 5-8, 2012
- Hearings Week 7: November 13-15, 2012
- Hearings Week 8: November 19-22, 2012
- Proceedings Update: January 25, 2013
- Proceedings Update: February 22, 2013
- Hearings Week 9: March 4-7, 2013
Manitoba Wildlands is providing access to news coverage, op eds, etc concerning the Bipole III proceedings, hearings, reviews and licensing decision below. Feel free to forward coverage we have not yet posted.
- November 14, 2012, No stretch to think bipole hearings a sham, Winnipeg Free Press
- November 14, 2012, Environmental hearing could delay Bipole III, Brandon Sun
- November 13, 2012, Hydro to file supplemental environmental assessment on revised Bipole III route, Winnipeg Free Press
- November 13, 2012, Métis group wins small victory over Bipole III route, CBC News
- November 13, 2012, Environmental review ordered for Bipole III, Winnipeg Sun
- November 13, 2012, Bipole III route concerns, CBC News
- November 9, 2012, Hydro's new power line faces delay, Winnipeg Free Press
- November 8, 2012 Manitoba Bipole line could face delay due to proposed environmental changes, iPolitics
- November 7, 2012, Bipole III: $4-billion political chicanery, Winnipeg Free Press
- November 1, 2012, Study on Bipole's impact on wildlife lacking, chief says, Winnipeg Free Press
- October 1, 2012, Eight weeks of hearings into Bipole III underway, Winnipeg Free Press
- September 20, 2012, Hydro CEO sees crisis if $20-billion plan stalls, Winnipeg Free Press
- September 18, 2012, Manitobans kept in dark on Hydro plans: Tories, Winnipeg Free Press
Preparations for the Clean Environment Commission hearings regarding BiPole III have started, with registration of participants, and requests for participant funding filed. The CEC intends to begin its proceedings soon, with a conference to set the schedule mid May, 2012. There will be at least one round of formal written questions to Manitoba Hydro regarding this transmission project, starting in May. The schedule for hearings begins in late August, 2012 and is likely to continue through to the end of October. Several northern and rural communities are being identified as location for hearings, with the primary public hearings being held in Winnipeg.
Responses to the public review of the Environmental Impact Statement for the Bi Pole III Transmission Project were filed in March 2012. In late April the director of licensing for the Manitoba Environment Act determined that Manitoba Hydro will be asked to provide supplemental EIS information and file that information as part of the Bi Pole III EIS under the Environment Act. Until notification has been sent to Manitoba Hydro the schedule for response and review will not be known. All EIS filings and responses are part of the public registry under the Environment Act.
It is apparent that the Clean Environment Commission (CEC) schedule will run beside the schedule under the Environment Act, regarding the proposal to build BiPole III. The CEC maintains its own archive of evidence, transcripts, and other materials. The CEC will provide its BiPole III report and recommendations to the Minister of Conservation soon after the hearings end.