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Peguis First Nation filed a motion August 8, 2012, which was heard by the CEC August 16, 2012. Peguis First Nation argued there has not been meaningful consultation on the project as mandated under section 35 of Canada's Constitution, and that an adjournment was needed to fulfill the Crown's obligations regarding consultation and accommodation with Peguis First Nations.
On August 31, 2012 the CEC released its decision on Peguis First Nation's Motion. The motion for adjournment was dismissed.
Manitoba Hydro originally filed their Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) in December 2011. Since that time numerous pieces of supplemental information and supplemental reports have been filed. Manitoba Conservation and Water Stewardship (MCWS) Environmental Approval Branch (EAB) has been reviewing this information and requested additional information on May 17, 2012, August 8, 2012 and August 29, 2012.
Even though the last request from MCWS EAB to Manitoba Hydro was dated August 29, 2012, on August 31, 2012 Tracey Braun, Director of EAB issued a letter to Terry Sargeant, Chair of the CEC, copied to all participants in the CEC process. a letter indicating: "The EIS and related filings are considered sufficient for the purposes of proceeding to a hearing."
As part of the CEC proceedings participants ask the proponent Manitoba Hydro written questions, or information requests, in advance of the hearing.
There have been two rounds of information requests (IRs).Round 1:
Various first round information requests were sent to Manitoba Hydro between May 18, 2012 and July 20, 2012. Manitoba Hydro was to have answered all of these information requests by July 31, 2012, but responses were received as late as August 22, 2012.Round 2:
At the prehearing conference on July 19, 2012 a second round of IRs was announced. The original deadline for participants to submit second round IRs was August 17, 2012. The August 17, 2012 deadline was extended to August 24, 2012 at the August 16, 2012 motions hearings because of the late and continuing IR responses. Manitoba Hydro was also given a one-week extension to provide responses to second round IRs by September 7, 2012.
The CEC chairman also made ad-hoc changes to IR procedures at the end of the August 16, 2012 motions hearing. The second round information requests would not be vetted by the CEC. Any dispute over a non-answered IR is to be dealt with by way of Motion.
Changes in the IR process were not provided when the second round of IRs was announced at the July 19, 2012 prehearing conference.
On August 24, 2012 participants, including Manitoba Wildlands, submitted second round information requests to Manitoba Hydro.
Manitoba Hydro provided a package with responses to second round IRs September 7, 2012.View September 7, 2012 Manitoba Hydro Response Package #7 (Round 2 IRs) (PDF)
Due to the changes in the IR process Manitoba Hydro has refused to answer many of the questions asked by claiming that the questions did not stem from a Round 1 IR.
The third, and likely final, prehearing conference was held September 11, 2012 at the Winnipeg Convention Centre. Prehearing conferences are intended to deal with procedural issues. At the September 11, 2012 pre-hearing conference the September 17, 2012 deadline for participants to submit an outline of the presentations, and the witnesses/experts they intend to call is required.
September 17, 2012 is also the deadline for any submission of any motions on any substantive motions. Motions on procedural matters will still be accepted throughout the hearing.
A Manitoba Metis Federation (MMF) motion was scheduled following the September 11, 2012 pre-hearing conference, but the MMF indicated that it will not file this motion until September 17, 2012.
CEC proceedings for Bipole III Transmission project started in May 2012. Hearings are scheduled to start October 1, 2012 and continue until November 22, 2012, with a final report issued in 2013. The majority of the hearings will take place in Winnipeg, with some hearing dates also scheduled for the Manitoba communities of Gillam, Thompson, The Pas, Dauphin, Portage la Prairie, and Niverville.