On December 7, 2001, Manitoba Hydro filed Environment Act Proposal Forms to initiate a formal process under the Manitoba Environment Act for the 200-megawatt Wuskwatim Generation Project and the Wuskwatim Transmission Project. The generation station site is on Wuskwatim Lake and Burntwood River.
According to Manitoba Hydro, in order to arrive at a planned in-service date of 2009, construction for the proposed Wuskwatim projects had to begin before the winter road season (January-February) in 2004. See Manitoba Hydro web site for general scheduling details for these projects. This schedule required Manitoba Hydro to secure an environmental licence for the two proposed projects by December 2003. This has not occurred, and the in-service date for Wuskwatim has been pushed back to 2010 (at the earliest). Environmental license, and federal permits were issued in June 2006.
In January 2002, the Government of Manitoba announced there would be Clean Environment Commission (CEC) public hearings in accordance with subsection 6(5) of the Environment Act for the Wuskwatim projects (see page 3 of the final EIS guidelines). These hearings were triggered by a written reference from the Minister of Conservation.
In April 2002, following Clean Environment Commission (CEC) public meetings, a joint federal/provincial regulatory committee issued final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) guidelines for each of the two projects. For details, see Schedule 2 of the Guidelines for the Preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement for the Wuskwatim Transmission Project (April 26, 2002) and/or Section 2 of the Guidelines for the Preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement for the Wuskwatim Generation Project (April 29, 2002).
On April 3rd, 2003, the Government of Manitoba cancelled its January 29th, 2002 promise to hold a public review process through the Public Utilities Board (PUB) with respect to the 'justification, need for the project and alternatives to' the proposed projects. See January 29, 2002 Manitoba government news release for details. The Government of Manitoba then mandated the CEC to also review the 'justification, need for and alternatives to' the Wuskwatim projects.
On April 30th, 2003, Manitoba Hydro released its EIS for the proposed Wuskwatim projects. Manitoba Conservation then administered a 60-day public comment period. In response to comments received from the joint government Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), Manitoba Wildlands - CNF) and others, Manitoba Hydro released a supplementary EIS filing August 8, 2003. A further supplemental submission was filed in September 2003.
On August 28th, 2003, the CEC released its draft schedule for the Wuskwatim hearings (scheduled for February-March 2004) as well as important pre-hearing activities.
The Manitoba government also directed participant assistance funding for 15 communities, organizations, and intervenors to support their participation in the hearings.