Metro
    Next Score View the next score

    Photos: The Betsiamites River in Québec

    Deep beneath a granite mountain in the vast, snow-covered wilds north of the Saint Lawrence River, a frigid torrent surges through a massive, man-made tunnel, its white water propelling eight powerful turbines that generate electricity for hundreds of thousands of people.

    Within two years, a significant amount of that power, along with hydroelectricity from other plants in this Canadian province, could be exported to Massachusetts, providing the state with a long-awaited influx of renewable energy.

    This week, state officials are expected to announce whether they intend to buy more hydropower as part of the Baker administration’s energy plan. But in and around this old paper mill town about 400 miles northeast of Montreal, the indigenous peoples of the region harbor major concerns about the environmental impact of the project, complicating the quest for climate-friendly power.

    Advertisement

    BAIE COMEAU, QUEBEC, CANADA - 1/20/2018: Hydro-Quebec... The Betsiamites River winds through forests and mountains up to the Bersimis-1 dam (David L Ryan/Globe Staff ) SECTION: METRO TOPIC 28quebecpic
    David L. Ryan/Globe Staff
    The Betsiamites River winds through forests and mountains up to the Bersimis-1 dam.

    BAIE COMEAU, QUEBEC, CANADA - 1/20/2018: A wolf runs on the frozen Bersimis reservoir in northern Quebec. (David L Ryan/Globe Staff ) SECTION: METRO TOPIC 28quebecpic
    David L. Ryan/Globe Staff
    A wolf runs on the frozen Bersimis reservoir.

    The Bersimis-2 dam on the Betsiamites River.
    David L. Ryan/Globe Staff
    The Bersimis-2 dam on the Betsiamites River.

    Members of the Pessamit community talked about the river, dams, and the power company.
    David L. Ryan/Globe Staff
    Members of the Pessamit community talked about the river, dams, and the power company.

    Power plants on Quebec’s rivers can clash with native ways of life, such as ice fishing ont he Outardes River.
    David L. Ryan/Globe Staff
    Power plants on Quebec’s rivers can clash with native ways of life, such as ice fishing on the Outardes River.

    BAIE COMEAU, QUEBEC, CANADA - 1/20/2018: ( NOTE important to story ) Hydro-Quebec... Wildlife along the dams, rivers and forest is still present... A pack of timber wolves brought down a moose on the frozen Bersimis reservoir. Here a single wolf remans with the carcass along with some northern ravens waiting their turn. (David L Ryan/Globe Staff ) SECTION: METRO TOPIC 28quebecpic
    David L. Ryan/Globe Staff
    A pack of timber wolves brought down a moose on the frozen Bersimis reservoir.

    A moose near the Betsiamites River region makes its way through deep snow.
    David L. Ryan/Globe Staff
    A moose near the Betsiamites River region makes its way through deep snow.

    The Bersimis-1 outflow canal feeds into the Betsiamites River below a mountin 50 miles north of the St. Lawrence River.
    David L. Ryan/Globe Staff
    The Bersimis-1 outflow canal feeds into the Betsiamites River below a mountain 50 miles north of the St. Lawrence River.

    Marie Anne Hervieux of the Pessamit community believes her descendants could lose their culture.
    David L. Ryan/Globe Staff
    Marie Anne Hervieux of the Pessamit community believes her descendants could lose their culture.