Coalition of Indigenous tribes in Quebec file lawsuit to stop construction of Hydro-Quebec power line

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A coalition of Quebec First Nations tribes is suing the provincial government to stop construction of a controversial power line that would carry electricity from government-owned dams through Maine to the New England grid.

Maine residents are familiar with the fight for Central Maine Power, the plan launched to build 145 miles of new and improved transmission lines this side of the border. On the Quebec side, a coalition of native tribes are suing to stop the construction of about 64 miles of new transmission line needed there to connect the Hydro-Quebec system to that of Maine, near Jackman.

“We say ‘enough is enough and you must respect the rights of our people’,” said Lucien Wabanonik, spokesperson for the Five Tribes Coalition and member of the Anishnabeg Nation.

The other tribes in the coalition are the Lac Simon, Kitcisakik, Wemotaci (Atilamekw Nation) and Pessamit (Innu Nation), representing about 7,000 people, Wabanonik said.

He said that while the Canadian transmission line would not cross tribal lands directly, more than a third of the dam system providing power for the project is on land that the tribes never ceded to. Province.

Wabanonik said that to service the contracts, Hydro-Quebec was increasing the production capacity of its reservoirs, which would likely increase pressure on the ecosystems the tribes depend on for their livelihoods.

“And it’s something they’ve been investing in for a few years now. But there was no consultation, no accommodation or compensation for our people because of the impacts,” Wabanonik said.

In an emailed statement, a Hydro-Quebec spokesperson says the challenge is invalid because the route of the transmission line is away from tribal lands and will not require changes to minimum or maximum reservoir levels. . She also said “no new generation facilities are needed” to provide the additional energy supply to the United States.

This article appears through a media partnership with Maine Public.

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