FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — The West Moberly and Prophet River First Nations say the threat of an interim injunction caused BC Hydro to stop work on a transmission line that would connect the Site C dam’s generating station to the rest of the provincial grid.

Back on January 15th, the two First Nations filed in BC Supreme Court alleging that Site C infringes their Treaty rights, and asking the court to terminate the project. That was followed by the filing of an interim injunction application on January 31st aimed at suspending construction on the dam until a decision is made in the court case.

According to a press release from the two First Nations, BC Hydro initially wrote to the First Nations on February 9th with intentions to continue all previously scheduled work. But the First Nations say that after their legal team warned Hydro that continuing to work in “critical areas” identified by the First Nations would prompt an “interim, interim injunction,” BC Hydro reversed its position.

On February 16th, they say that contractors that were in the process of logging three stretches of old growth forest in critical areas approximately 29 kilometres long and 80 metres wide were sent home. The clear-cutting and road-building were part of a 75-kilometre transmission line required for the project.

The Globe and Mail is reporting that BC Hydro says the delays will result in substantial new costs to build Site C. However, one of BC Hydro’s lawyers Mark Andrews told the Globe that the Crown Corporation could seek financial restitution for the delays.

“I am advised that stopping the clearing and road building work will result in substantial increased cost to BC Hydro,” stated Andrews. “BC Hydro reserves the right to seek recovery of that cost from [the West Moberly First Nation] in the future.”

The First Nations say their injunction hearing has been scheduled to take place over ten days this summer, and will likely commence July 23rd.

WIth files from The Globe and Mail: