July 2, 2014 9:25 pm

Province gives green light for northern hydro dam

WINNIPEG-A $6 billion project has been given the green light.  The Province announced Wednesday, it granted an environmental license for the Keeyask Generating station, located 725 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg, on the lower Nelson River near Split Lake.

Minister Stan Struthers said Wednesday, “Government will take action on all recommendations and authorize building Keeyask immediately.”

The environmental license comes with 165 conditions, including protecting lake sturgeon, wetlands, area wildlife and setting up a mercury monitoring program.

The Province is also constructing a transmission line, up the west side of Lake Manitoba, running into the United States.

“The special NFAT review panel recommended proceeding with immediate construction of Keeyask to meet hydro and export requirements,” said Struthers.  He added, “We need to be investing in the infrastructure so that we sign long term contracts with our neighbours.”

The provincial opposition say they are concerned taxpayers will end up footing the bill for Manitoba Hydro’s northern dams.

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“The government has been pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into the project long before approval, official approval was ever granted.  So we’re not surprised they’ve given it the official green light.” Martin said Wednesday.

“They’re out to get the big splash as they move towards the next election.  They don’t give a care about what happens to the taxpayers down the road who are on the hook for this bill” Martin added.

The Province also announced Wednesday, while one project is going forward, the brakes have been put on for a $10 billion hydro dam.

Conowapa Generating station is officially frozen, until more export sales are confirmed and an improved business case is complete.

The Province hopes to start construction on the Keeyask Generating Station this summer.  Service could begin in 2019.

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