Nothing green about an Atlin dam

Nothing green about an Atlin dam During Yukon Energy Corporation's recent energy charrette, one project mentioned was to dam the Atlin River to make Atlin Lake a reservoir. As YEC well knows, Atlin is opposed to that storage concept because of the envir

During Yukon Energy Corporation’s recent energy charrette, one project mentioned was to dam the Atlin River to make Atlin Lake a reservoir.

As YEC well knows, Atlin is opposed to that storage concept because of the environmental, ecological and property damage we anticipate from holding the lake at a high water level, and from drawing it down below its natural lows. A petition opposing the project is being circulated in British Columbia. PALS paid membership is more than 300, and growing rapidly.

The potential damage to Atlin Provincial Park Ð a Class A park Ð and to the largest natural lake in BC nullifies the argument that this would be a “green” project.

The erosion, siltation, soil saturation, flooding, fisheries impacts and property damage potentials, as well as the dangers for river and ice travel during the winter, render it completely unacceptable.

Furthermore, the mere two megawatts of power generated Ð and that only in late winter Ð would be insignificant compared to the Yukon’s estimated future requirements. Much larger projects appear essential.

Yukon Energy wants to “see the science” with which to justify the project. In our view, no studies of an existing natural lake can accurately predict the full effects of

this sort of water impoundment.

Mitigation of most effects appears impossible. One prime example would be the destructive effects of major wave action during the artificially prolonged impoundment of highest water into the autumn season of high winds. Natural high water peaks and immediately subsides in August.

Another would be the ecological effects of shoreline soil saturation due to months of abnormally high water. Shoreline trees and other vegetation and littoral species would unavoidably be affected. Other potential adverse effects are too numerous and detailed to list here.

At this preliminary stage, YEC has an opportunity to be a socially and environmentally responsible corporation by acknowledging the clear community consensus against this concept and withdrawing it from further consideration.

The proposed project is clearly in contravention of provisions of the BC Park Act, and YEC will inevitably have to confront this legislation.

The BC government has been apprised of the problems. Withdrawal now will obviate the need for further wasted expenditure and effort as well as eliminating cross-border conflict.

Yukon Energy has publicly described a number of viable clean-energy alternatives within the Yukon, most of which would provide far more power; indeed, multiples of the two megawatts hypothesized from the Atlin River concept. We encourage and support YEC’s development of these alternatives.

We have respectfully requested YEC to cease to pursue the Atlin River Storage Concept, and any future hydro development for the Atlin River.

We hope that YEC’s energy charrette has been successful in identifying and planning for the early development of genuinely productive and truly “green” energy alternatives within the Yukon.

Wayne Merry, president

Protect Atlin Lake Society

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