People, Nature, Economy: How NB Power studies the impacts of the future of Mactaquac
April 22 2016, 09:43 AM
We have a big decision to make about the future of the Mactaquac Generating Station. The station is nearing the end of its life, and NB Power is considering what to do next. Whatever is decided will have a big impact on the environment and the people who live and work near the station. That’s why NB Power is working with experts and the public to find out what those impacts might be, and how to lessen them. NB Power will recommend a path forward in 2016.
NB Power has committed to two reports that will help determine the impacts each option for Mactaquac can have on people, the environment and the economy. One is the Social Impact Comparative Review, which studies the social consequences – intended and unintended, positive and negative – of planned developments. The other, the Comparative Environmental Review, examines how each of the potential future options for Mactaquac might affect people, the economy and the environment. It also looks into how each impact could be minimized in such a way to make each option environmentally acceptable. NB Power will use these two reports and several ongoing studies to guide its decision regarding the preferred option for Mactaquac.
The Social Impact Comparative Review (SICR)
The SICR has already 15 key issues of concern, five of them relate directly to construction, while the remaining ten might be a consequence of drawing done the headpond. While the SICR mostly looks at communities around the headpond, it also studies the effect each option could have on tourism and recreation.
The SICR analyzes impacts that include changes to:
- People’s way of life,
- their culture,
- their community,
- their interaction with their environment,
- their health and well-being,
- their personal and property rights, and
- their aspirations for their community.
The Comparative Environmental Review (CER)
The CER is the first process of its kind ever undertaken in New Brunswick. It is a unique undertaking led by NB Power in consultation with an external committee of experts. It is a voluntary process, not a legal requirement. It is a transparent and robust way of gathering information.
The CER examines 13 aspects of the environment that have scientific, social, cultural, economic, historical, archeological, or aesthetic value to society. This list (which you can find on page 8 here) was created with help from stakeholders and the public.
These key issues of concern would be required to be assessed under a formal environmental impact assessment (EIA) of the preferred option, once it has been selected. The EIA is a legal requirement for certain development projects, due to their potential environmental, social and socio-economic repercussions. In most cases, the EIA process is the first and only opportunity to study the impacts of a large project.
Send your feedback to the Mactaquac Project team
Anyone can contribute to the final reports on impacts on New Brunswickers, the environment and the economy. NB Power is welcoming comments from the public to make sure all potential issues are uncovered before a decision is made. You can submit comments on either report before May 31, 2016.
What do you think? What impacts are the most important aspect of the Mactaquac Project for you, social, environmental or economical? Tell us about it in the comments below.
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