However, the Peace Valley Environmental Association says that number is no where near what will be needed to hire experts to effectively review B.C. Hydro's studies. Andrea Morison, Coordinator for PVEA, says, "This will cost us tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars, something we, as a small, largely volunteer group, cannot afford."
Others believe this is intended to "hobble" those who oppose the project. Tria Donaldson, of the Wilderness Committee adds, "the paltry funding CEEA has set aside for non-profits is totally insufficient – it appears clearly designed to silence the very valid and very serious concerns of non-profit groups."
However, Annie Roy, spokesperson for CEAA, says the funding is limited, and not meant to cover all of their expenses.
"The amount is based on the consultation activities that will occur during the process."
She added the amount was based on other projects they have done, and for a project this size the amount is standard. Each proposal will be reveiwed by a committee, and the amount given will vary.
In addition to the $140,000 in funding available to the public, there is approximately $850,000 available for Aboriginal groups to take part. The CEAA has identified approximately 50 Aboriginal groups who will potentially be impacted by the project. The cap on their funding will be between $17,800 and $32,000.
The CEAA has extended the deadline for those interested to apply to participate in the review process, after many groups wrote in asking for more time to better coordinate their funding request. The deadline is now December 7, 2011. The deadline for the public to send in their comments has already passed.
Roy says those selected to take part in the process will find out early next year.