March 26, 2008 / 9:48 PM / 12 years ago

Western Canada hydro-electric project dealt blow

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (Reuters) - British Columbia dealt a potential death blow on Wednesday to a proposed hydro-electric project that highlighted the environmental costs of going green.

The government of the West Coast Canadian province will oppose a proposal to adjust a park boundary to allow Run of River Power Inc to run transmission lines to its proposed project on the scenic Pitt River near Vancouver.

Environment Minister Barry Penner cited public opposition to the plan as well concerns raised by his own staff that the proposal did not meet needed environmental criteria. The boundary change would have required legislative approval.

The company says the 161-megawatt project is green technology that will allow the province to meet increasing energy demand while at the same time meeting its pledge to cut greenhouse gas emissions 33 percent by 2020.

But critics said the project created its own environmental problems by endangering salmon that breed in the waterway, and the 42-km (26-mile) power line would destroy the pristine wilderness of surrounding Pinecone Burke Provincial Park.

Run of river-type hydro facilities divert water into pipes that make it flow through turbines, but do not use large dams or reservoirs to store water.

Reporting Allan Dowd, Editing by Peter Galloway

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