US Army Corps of Engineers, New England District
Attention : Mr. Jay Clement
442 Civic Center Drive, Suite 350
Augusta, ME 04330

August 27, 2020

Subject : Clean Water Act permit for NECEC Project NAE-2017-01342

Dear Mr. Clement,

On behalf of the Canadian Innu First Nation of Pessamit, the Atkamekw First Nation of Wemotaci, and the Anishnabek First Nation of Pikogan, all based in the province of Quebec, we write to ensure the record reflects our strong opposition to the New England Clean Energy Connect Project (NECEC), as well as its Quebec counterpart des Appalaches- Maine Interconnection project. We urgently request that the ACOE deny the NECEC application for a section 404 permit.

Currently, 36% of the total hydroelectric power installed by Hydro-Québec comes from Innu, Atikamekw, and Anishnabek traditional territories, protected by ancestral and treaty rights that have never been respected. In total, 33 production structures, 130 dams and dikes, 10,400 km2 of reservoirs, and tens of thousands of kilometres of transmission, distribution, and road lines have been illegally installed on our lands and waters.

Our First Nations cannot stand by in silence while Hydro-Québec financially benefits from our heritage. The government of Quebec and Hydro-Québec have never had and still do not have the moral or constitutional right to operate 33 of the 63 hydroelectric production structures on our traditional lands as they have never consulted or compensated the First Nations concerned. They have even less right to sell this electricity in the United States when 13,200 MW, or 36% of the installed capacity in Quebec out of a total of 36,700 MW, has been usurped from First Nations.

By allowing Hydro-Québec to occupy our traditional territories and monetize our natural resources, the Quebec government has destroyed traditional family units and upended the socio-economic stability of the communities of Pessamit, Wemotaci, and Pikogan. These facilities have eliminated critical wildlife habitat, undermining our capacity to find food from our lands and waters. Our traditional fishing, hunting, and trapping grounds have been lost, making our communities reliant instead on social welfare payments. Our First Nations have shouldered the impacts of Hydro-Quebec’s industrialization of our territories; development which has benefited the quality of life of other Quebec citizens, but left our communities’ well-being indicators comparable to those of third-world countries.

Truly yours,

Gérald Hervieux
Pessamit councellor

Guy Laloche
Wemotaci councellor

Amy Kistabish-Jérome
Pikogan political attaché

To view the letter in pdf format: Testimony to the US Army Corps of Engineers