Canada’s Big Dams Produce Clean Energy, and High Levels of Mercury, New York Times ($)

By Ian Austen • Nov. 10, 2016

The construction site of the hydroelectric facility at Muskrat Falls in Labrador in July. Muskrat Falls will probably be just the first of a series of fights over mercury in Canada, where dams now supply about three-fifths of the country’s electricity. (Credit: Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press, via Associated Press)

OTTAWA — Protests. Hunger strikes. Sit-ins that disrupt construction. At the immense Muskrat Falls hydroelectric dam project in a remote and rugged part of Labrador, the indigenous people who live nearby have been raising louder and louder alarms.

But it is not about the dam itself. The controversy is over what will flow from it.

The protests are focused on a mostly overlooked side effect of hydroelectric projects all over Canada: The reservoirs behind the dams tend to develop high levels of methyl mercury, leading to mercury poisoning among people who eat fish or game caught downstream. MORE>>


𝐒𝐎𝐔𝐑𝐂𝐄 𝐀𝐑𝐓𝐈𝐂𝐋𝐄: https://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/11/world/canada/clean-energy-dirty-water-canadas-hydroelectric-dams-have-a-mercury-problem.html