About us

The North American Megadam Resistance Alliance is a coalition of organizations dedicated to protecting rivers and their communities by resisting megadams and their transmission corridors. NAMRA was formed in 2017 in the wake of the Grand River Keepers and Labrador Land Protectors New England speaking tour. Our goal is to raise awareness about the devastation caused by large dams, and the ongoing struggles of northern communities to halt the destruction of their rivers and forests.

NAMRA seeks to: 

  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 9 and 10, 2019: Labrador Land Protectors and allies speak directly to International Coalition of Large Dams at their annual meeting on the negative impacts on Indigenous communities from hydropower dams in Canada. More at Events page on this site and our blog: Groups Protest at Annual Dam Conference in Ottawa  waterkeeper.org/news/page/2

We work with a wide variety of organizations and allies to spread awareness and oppose harmful Canadian hydropower. Here at NAMRA we believe that there is an alternative to a continuing reliance on fossil fuels, on the one hand, and a reliance on large hydro, or industrial wind farms covering our mountain ridges, on the other – and that is to use less energy. That is the most shovel ready alternative, the least costly solution, and the one that will have the most benefit for local economies.

Romaine River, before being dammed by Hydro-Quebec in Canada.

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