February 21, 2005

Hydro-Quèbec's Romaine power project referred to EA review panel

Hydro-Quèbec's proposed Romaine hydroelectric complex project has been referred to a review panel for an environmental assessment (EA). The decision by federal Environment Minister StÈphane Dion responds to a request made by the responsible authorities, Fisheries and Oceans Minister Geoff Regan, and Transport Minister Jean Lapierre.

The Romaine River complex is subject to an EA under both the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and the EA provisions of Quebec's Environmental Quality Act (Loi sur la qualitÈ de l'environnement). "The Romaine project will be assessed within the framework of the Canada-Quebec Agreement on Environmental Assessment Co-operation," Dion noted.

Hydro-QuÈbec plans to build a 1500-megawatt complex on the Romaine River, in the lower north shore region, north of the municipality of Havre-Saint-Pierre. This complex will include four generating stations and the creation of reservoirs covering a total area of approximately 275 square kilometres. The project will also include the construction of an access road approximately 160 km long, to link highway 138 to the complex.

As a result of this decision, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency has established a participant funding program for the Romaine project. The program will make available up to $200,000 to allow interested parties to take part in the public review of the proposal.

Funding will be available in two phases. The first phase will provide up to $50,000 to help the public review and comment on the draft guidelines that Hydro-QuÈbec will use to develop the project environmental impact statement (EIS). Applications for this phase of funding are due by March 11, 2005.

The second phase will provide up to $150,000 for the review of the EIS and preparation for and participation in the public hearings. As the EIS will not be made public before the fall of 2006, the deadline for funding applications for this phase will be announced later.

More information on the project and the participant funding program (including an application guide and form) may be found on the Agency's Web site, www.ceaa-acee.gc.ca. Details on the panel review process are available from project manager Marie-France Therrien at the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, 613/957-0748, FAX 613/957-0941, E-mail marie-france.therrien@ceaa-acee.gc.ca.

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