The Clean Environment Commission (CEC) report on Manitoba’s Hydro’s Bipole III transmission project was released today by Conservation and Water Stewardship Minister Gord Mackintosh. The report contains the CEC’s expert review as well as findings from public hearings that included a wide cross-section of the public and important stakeholders.
“The report is very thorough and provides a number of recommendations that will benefit all future project reports in Manitoba,” said Mackintosh. “I commend all the commission members and everyone who participated in the public hearings. Your diligence will ensure a sustainable province today and for future generations.”
The minister emphasized the report’s recommendations will be considered as part of the licensing decision along with a report on the Crown’s consultations with Aboriginal communities for the project, as required by the Constitution, which is ongoing.
The report recommended the provincial government issue Manitoba Hydro an environmental licence to build Bipole III with a number of specific conditions, while identifying several opportunities for the province to improve advance work for future project reports including working with environmental assessment practitioners to improve the province’s environmental assessment process. The minister said that work has already begun and that public consultations on new protocols for environmental assessments will be fast tracked to start this winter. The consultations were first announced last year in TomorrowNow – Manitoba’s Green Plan.
As a first step in improving environmental assessment processes in Manitoba, the minister also announced the province will create an online public registry with powerful search capabilities for all environment act licence applications, environmental impact statements and licence decisions. Automatic email notification of future licence applications and decisions will also be available to subscribers. These online enhancements will not affect the current advertising requirements for licence applications or the provision of hard copy documents to communities that request them.