About us

The North American Megadam Resistance Alliance is a volunteer-led a coalition of grassroots groups and individuals dedicated to protecting rivers and their communities by resisting megadams and their transmission corridors. 

We are not funded by the fossil fuel industry or any corporations but rely upon donations from our allies and individuals. Please contribute on our donations page to help us fund front-line community members who are resisting hydro dams and struggling to get their voices heard by decision-makers.

We arose from the 40-plus year struggle in Plymouth, Massachusetts to shut down Entergy’s Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station. In 2017 we learned that Emera wanted to replace the closing nuclear facility with megadam hydro from Muskrat Falls in Labrador via a subsea cable from Nova Scotia to Plymouth (the ill-fated Atlantic Link).

We immediately connected with front-line communities in Labrador to find the truth behind Emera’s slick marketing campaign portraying Canadian hydro as “carbon-free” and “green.” It was just too good to be true. Indeed, what we found was a story of devastation, human rights violations and the destruction of the Mistashipu (Churchill) River, a sacred spiritual place and one of Canada’s largest and most wild and free flowing rivers. We found methylmercury poisoning of wild foods relied upon by Indigenous communities and their allies, flooding, economic and social injustices and more.

To fight the Emera hydro project, in 2017, we invited Indigenous community members and their allies to Plymouth to speak at the Day of Mourning on Thanksgiving Day just across the Bay from Pilgrim nuclear to tell the story of where the hydro was coming from. It was a turning point. Emera’s subsea cable is off the table and now we have joined with allies to fight the New England Clean Energy Connect, Champlain Hudson Power Express and Clean Energy Link. Our goals are to stop the new dams that Hydro-Quebec and Nalcor are building and planning, to cut off markets for destructive dirty Canadian hydro, to bring forward the voices of front line communities and move toward a just, fair and equitable energy future – not one that destroys rivers, people, ways of life and ecosystems.

We will:

  1. Debunk the myth that Canadian hydropower is “clean” and renewable energy, and
  2. Shut down markets for dirty Canadian hydropower by stopping transmission corridors to the U.S.
Ottawa, Canada: June 2019: Indigenous community members from Labrador Land Protectors, Pimikicimak Cree Nation in Manitoba and allies speak directly to delegates at the International Coalition of Large Dams (ICOLD) annual meeting. NAMRA joined front line voices to tell ICOLD about the negative human, environmental and social impacts of large dams. More at Events page on this site and our blog: Groups Protest at Annual Dam Conference in Ottawa  waterkeeper.org/news/page/2

Our alliance works with many groups and individuals to spread awareness about the impacts of Canadian hydro, such as Wa Ni Ska Tan at the University of Manitoba. www.hydroimpacted.ca

We seek alternatives to fossil fuels that are not false solutions like destructive hydro dams. We encourage reducing consumption and conservation and efficiency, shovel-ready alternatives that are inexpensive and benefit local economies.

Photo: Romaine River, before being dammed by Hydro-Quebec. As of 2019, HQ is building a 4th dam on the Romaine to be completed in 2021. More information about this devastating project and efforts to stop it: www.allianceromaine.wordpress.com

From 2004 to 2015, HQ built more a dozen new hydro facilities, adding 5,000 MW of capacity for export to the U.S. HQ’s profitability depends on U.S. exports due to the higher prices it can charge.

The former Grandes Chutes on the Romaine River dammed by Hydro-Quebec. Photo: A. Lathem  

Large and megadam projects facilities have far-reaching and long term harmful impacts on human rights, the environment, and the economy.

Calling megadam hydropower “clean and green” and importing it to meet “renewable energy” mandates in the U.S. is an environmental and social injustice.  In the U.S., megadams on the scale of what is being built in Canada would never be allowed due to the unacceptable human, environmental and social costs.

Using Canadian hydropower makes consumers complicit in the cultural and environmental genocide of Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities and the planet’s ecosystems.  

As stated by leading scientists from Michigan State University in a peer-reviewed journal: “Large dams seem to be everything that one should not try to build if one cares about sustainability. To move toward sustainability, future hydropower development needs to give more attention to how climate change may affect hydropower production and make greater efforts to reduce the environmental and social costs borne by people near the dams. In addition, those harmed by the dams need to be adequately compensated, the number of people that must be resettled should be reduced, and most importantly, innovative technologies that reduce all of these negative outcomes should be developed, especially instream turbines and other forms of renewable energy. 

Hydropower has been the leading source of so-called “renewable energy across the world, accounting for up to 71% of this supply as of 2016. This capacity was built up in North America and Europe between 1920 and 1970 when thousands of dams were built. Big dams stopped being built in developed nations, because the best sites for dams were already developed and environmental and social concerns made the costs unacceptable. Nowadays, more dams are being removed in North America and Europe than are being built. The hydropower industry moved to building dams in the developing world and since the 1970s,…”  https://www.pnas.org/content/115/47/11891

Read more: https://commonwealthmagazine.org/opinion/quebec-hydro-isnt-a-good-fit-for-mass/

The free-flowing Romaine River, still pristine in 2008. Indigenous peoples depended upon the river for millennia, with no negative impacts.

Additional Sources:

Bronsom W. Giscom et.al. “Natural climate solutions,” PNAS, September 5, 2017, https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1710465114

Leah Burrows, “Human Health Risks from Hydroelectric Projects,” Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Nov. 9. 2016. https://www.seas.harvard.edu/news/2016/11/human-health-risks-from-hydroelectric-projects

“Canada Largest Contributor To Deforestation Worldwide: Study,” The Huffington Post Canada. www.huffingtonpost.ca/2014/09/05/canada-deforestation-worst-.

Global Forest Watch. Hydropower Developments in Canada: Number, Size and Jurisdictional and Ecological Distribution. https://globalforestwatch.ca/sites/gfwc/files/publications/20120118A_Hydro1_Number_Size_Distribution.pdf.

Kate Horner. “Hydropower is not the answer for climate resilience,” https://www.devex.com/news/opinion-hydropower-is-not-the-answer-for-climate-resilience-91523.

“Hydroelectric dams emit a billion tonnes of greenhouse gases a year, study finds.” The Guardian. Nov. 14, 2016. https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2016/nov/14/hydroelectric-dams-emit-billion-tonnes-greenhouse-gas-methane-study-climate-change

Hydro Quebec Strategic Plan. http://www.hydroquebec.com/data/documents-donnees/pdf/strategic-plan.pdf

McKinsey Institute. “Fueling sustainable development: The energy productivity solution,” Oct. 2008, http://tinyurl.com/5ae9wn.

Andrew Nikiforuk, “Megadams Not Clean or Green, Says Expert,” The Tyee. Jan. 24, 2018. https://thetyee.ca/News/2018/01/24/Megadams-Not-Clean-Green/.

David Roland-Holst. “Energy Efficiency, Innovation, and Job Creation in California,” http://tinyurl.com/6gujnf

“The Power of Negawatts: Efficiency: The Greenest Energy Source.” https://www.internationalrivers.org/sites/default/files/attached-files/energyfactsheet.pdf.

Alexis Lathem. “Rage On, Sweet Romaine.” Alternatives Journal, Jan. 2014.www.alternativesjournal.ca

Ossie Michelin. “The Mighty Fight for Muskrat Falls,” Briarpatch. May 1, 1017. https://briarpatchmagazine.com/articles/view/the-mighty-fight-for-muskrat-falls