02/13/2012 07:26 EST | Updated 04/14/2012 05:12 EDT

B.C. and Ottawa to conduct joint environmental assessment of planned hydro dam

OTTAWA - The federal and provincial governments have formally announced a joint environmental review of BC Hydro's plan to build the Site C dam on the Peace River in northeast B.C.

Provincial Environment Minister Terry Lake originally announced the joint assessment last fall, but it's now been approved by his federal counterpart, Peter Kent.

Lake says the joint panel will hear public submissions about the project and review its technical aspects.

The project would include an earthen dam, an 83-kilometre long reservoir, an 1,100-megawatt hydroelectric generating station and two 77-kilometre transmission lines connecting Site C to the existing provincial power grid.

Lake says it will take about three years to analyze the effects the proposed dam may have on the Peace River region.

The $8 billion project would flood hundreds of hectares of land and is opposed by several First Nations and other local residents.