Environmentalists and the US leaders from Quebec met with New York Governor David Paterson and other state leaders to discourage the state from buying hydropower from Hydro Quebec. The controversy is over whether Hydro Quebec can build four dams along the Romaine river in the northeast part of the province. The plan is opposed on the grounds of destruction of the river. The state and the province have been talking for years about an agreement to sell power back and forth.

Quebec’s peak demand is in winter while New York’s peak demand is in the summer.

We don’t want New York to buy the energy because of the impact it would have on our community,” Uashaunnuat Chief Georges-Gregoire said.

Annie Wilson, energy committee chairwoman of the Sierra Club, said that New York would be better off emphasizing conservation and other sources of renewable energy to meet its needs rather than looking to import hydropower.

New York Power Authority Spokeswoman Christine Prichard said that state officials have been meeting with Hydro Quebec representatives, but that the talks have been very preliminary.”

However great our need for cleaner energy, it can never be so great that it violated the rights of indigenous peoples,” Sierra Club’s Aaron Mair said.

New York Power Authority has been close agreeing with Hydro Quebec for power purchase before. An agreement was imminent in 1994 until then-Power Authority President David Freedman cancelled the $5 billion, 20-year tentative deal, saying it was too expensive and that New York did not need the power and that there were unresolved environmental issues” in Canada.