March 15, 2004

NEB turns down Sumas 2 project Canadian section

The National Energy Board (NEB) has denied an application by Sumas Energy 2 (SE2) to construct the Canadian portion of an 8.5-kilometre international power line originating at the Canada-U.S. border near Sumas, Washington and running to BC Hydro's Clayburn substation in Abbotsford, British Columbia.

The line would have enabled SE2 to transport electricity from a proposed power plant to be constructed in Sumas to the substation. The natural gas-fired combined-cycle power plant would generate 660 megawatts of power for sale in both sides of the border. It was approved by the Washington State Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council in August 2002.

Having determined and evaluated the benefits and burdens in Canada of the proposed power line and generating facility, the NEB concluded that, on balance, the burdens of the power line outweigh the benefits. The Board's ruling said the project would not necessarily serve the Canadian public interest nor would it be required for current and future public convenience and necessity.

Even if the benefits of the power line and power plant were all realized, these would not accrue substantially to Canadians or to the local and regional communities, the Board added. Its decision deemed the burdens in Canada associated with the proposed transmission and generation facilities to be many and real. The local and regional communities would have to bear most of these burdens, while the benefits would either be of little value to them or would be gained by other parties, said the NEB.

The application was the subject of 39 days of public hearings in Abbotsford. More information, including the Reasons for Decision EH-1-2000 and the Environmental Screening Report are available on the Board's Web site, Copies may also be requested from the NEB Publications Office, 444 Seventh Avenue SW, Ground Floor, Calgary T2P 0X8; 403/299-3562, FAX 403/292-5576, E-mail

British Columbia Premier Gordon Campbell called the NEB's decision a major victory for residents of the Fraser Valley which will help protect air quality.

"We said all along that this was the wrong plant for the wrong airshed, and the National Energy Board decision confirms that," Campbell stated.

Over the past five years, the province has spent $1 million in its effort to stop the project, including obtaining intervenor status at review hearings by both the NEB and the Washington State Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council, filing appeals with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Washington DC, and direct lobbying of Washington Governor Gary Locke by Premier Campbell.

Table of Contents  | Top of Page

Ecolog Network