Since 1974, the West Coast Environmental Law Association (WCELA) has provided legal services to members of the public who are concerned about threats to the environment. WCELA and the West Coast Environmental Law Research Foundation provide legal representation, promote law reform, provide legal education, conduct research and maintain a library of environmental legal materials.
West Coast Environmental Law Association has long promoted integrated environmental and energy planning in B.C. In 1986, WCELA represented the Peace Valley Environmental Association in a submission on federal regulation of electricity exports.
The decision on electricity exports should be deferred for the following reasons.
1. The B.C. Energy Council should first develop a comprehensive provincial energy plan which will provide a framework for decisions on individual issues such as electricity export.
2. Other laws and policies currently being developed by the provincial government will affect resolution of the question of whether new electricity projects should be developed for export. These policies include: a land use strategy; settlement of native land claims; and reform of some key provincial environmental laws. A decision on electricity export should be delayed until these laws and policies are in operation.
3. New federal and provincial environmental assessment laws should be fully operational before any new electricity export projects are approved. These assessment processes should be used to assess the full cumulative environmental impact of proposed, long term firm electricity exports.
4. Trade treaties have the potential to dramatically affect environmental regulation of dedicated energy projects. A decision should not be made until we are assured that the trade treaties will not compromise our ability to protect the environment.