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CREES OPPOSE 800-MEGAWATT CONTRACT BETWEEN HYDRO-QUEBEC AND NEW YORK STATE

 OTTAWA, Jan. 30 /PRNewswire/ -- Grand Chief of the Council of the Crees, Matthew Coon Come, today issued the following:
 Hydro-Quebec and the New York State power authority are now proposing a contract for 800 megawatts of power to be imported from Quebec. This contract is a variable power contract, unlike the firm power contract that was canceled in 1992. 800 megawatts is the equivalent of the production from two (2) medium size hydro electric projects in the North of Quebec. The revenues from this contract will be used to help finance the Hydro-Quebec development plan which foresees the construction of the Great Whale River and Nottaway, Broadback and Rupert's hydro electric complexes. This contract is presently being reviewed by the New York State Public Service Commission which will assess the environmental, social and economic impacts of the contract and alternatives to it.
 "The Canadian Ambassador to the United States has given his assurance that Canada will have the power to stop the Great Whale Project and that the environmental review process will be complete. However, in the Canadian courts, Canada, Quebec and Hydro-Quebec are waging a fierce legal battle which has had the effect of undermining Canada's legislative authority to stop the Great Whale River Complex. We, as Native People in Canada, see that Canada once again fails to protect the environment and native peoples. You, the citizens of the United States, should not trust the governments of Canada or Quebec to protect the environment. Environmental restrictions should be put in the North American Free Trade Agreement to ensure that the environment is one part of North America is not degraded or destroyed for the benefit of people living in another part of North America," stated Grand Chief Matthew Coon Come.
 The proposed Great Whale River Complex will cut the flow in four major rivers in northern Quebec (the Great Whale River, the Little Whale River, the Boutin River, the Coates River). The project will flood prime river and lake edge habitat and replace natural areas with reservoirs that cover more than 2,000 square miles. The project will cause mercury contamination of the fish and wildlife dependent upon the fish. It will have impacts in Hudson Bay and will disrupt the hunting and fishing activities of the Cree and Inuit people living in that area. The Great Whale Project is the first phase of the James Bay Phase II Project. The second phase involves the construction of the Nottaway, Broadback and Rupert's complex which is approximately three times the size of the Great Whale Complex now under consideration.
 "Hydro-Quebec has circulated materials to the State legislature in which it claims that in 1975, the Crees accorded them the right to go ahead with the projects in James Bay Phase II. The Canadian Federal Court of Appeal has stated that in 1975, the Crees only consented to the La Grande Complex, or James Bay Phase I. These are wholly different projects. Hydro-Quebec has also stated that the Crees have dropped all law suits against the project and that we have been negotiating with Hydro-Quebec since 1988. These statements are not true. We presently have a case before the Supreme Court against the exportation of electricity under the existing licenses. We remain solidly opposed to the Great Whale River Project. I am here in New York State to ask for the help of our supporters and to announce that we oppose the 800 megawatt contract which is now under consideration by the State government. Energy conservation and private power alternatives exist within the State which I strongly encourage you to consider," stated Chief Coon Come.
 -0- 1/30/93
 /CONTACT: Grand Chief Matthew Coon Come, 518-458-7250, or Brian Craik, 613-267-5465, both for the Grand Council of the Crees/


CO: Grand Council of the Crees (of Quebec) ST: Ontario IN: SU:

MA -- NYSA001 -- 1061 01/30/93 09:03 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jan 30, 1993
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