Borderline issues

British Columbia's proposed northwest transmission line may mean more economic development in Alaska. According to a video produced by an industry-backed coalition promoting the line, the state "has an abundance of green energy waiting to be developed. Holding it back is a way to transmit that energy to the lower states. So, for Alaska, connecting to the northwest transmission line means a complete change in their economics too." But a Washington State-based environmental group has expressed concern about what such hydroelectric projects could mean for the region's border rivers.

In a letter sent to British Columbia's environmental assessment office, Rivers Without Borders has called on the provincial government to put in place measures that will preserve the watercourses' "significant long-term conservation values...before Southeast Alaska's lobby curries favour with Canadian policy makers."

In addition, the group stated the possibility of powering up the region has reignited Wrangell, Alaska's interest in "becoming the industrial route for goods and services between northern BC and its Asian trading partners."

That's a problem because it could mean the construction of a road connecting a deep water port near the city to British Columbia's newly-electrified Highway 37 - a project that could have "major detrimental economic and environmental impacts."

As a result, Rivers Without Borders is calling on the environmental assessment office to "evaluate the possible economic and environmental consequences of a tie-in to Alaska" as part of its review of the northwest transmission line.

The following is a complete copy of the aforementioned letter.

Rivers Without Borders public comment on the northwest transmission line

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