May 13, 2003

Protesters to warn Fortis shareholders of cracks in rainforest dam plan

(St. John’s, NL) For the third year in a row, protesters at the Annual General Meeting of Fortis Inc. on May 14, will raise questions about the risks associated with the company’s plans to build a hydroelectric dam in the Macal River Valley in Belize. Writer, actor, and activist Greg Malone also plans to question Fortis CEO Stan Marshall from the floor of the shareholder meeting. Malone was a key player in the successful effort to block Fortis from taking over Newfoundland Hydro, and has also led local opposition to the dam.

Critics say the project would be disastrous for wildlife and the environment in this small central American country, and would be a costly mistake.  The project would provide only 2.9 Megawatts of capacity and would replace less expensive sources of electricity at a net loss of $2 million/year for the country.  The safety of the dam has also been questioned by the council and mayor of San Ignacio, a town of 12,000 downstream from the proposed dam.  They are asking for public hearings on the project, and expressing concerns about the possibility of dam collapse due to faulty engineering, saying “Our lives and future are at stake.” Fortis’ Belizean subsidiary has nonetheless said it plans to begin construction on the project this month.

“This would only increase shareholder risk,” said Greg Malone. He points out that two ongoing lawsuits in Belize’s courts have held the project back, and that another will be filed soon.  “Belize’s courts have ordered a public hearing on the project. The lawsuits are strong, and I’m confident that the Belizean groups will win their appeal to the Privy Council. I am also confident that if shareholders take a sober look at the risks of this project, they’ll choose a better option.”

Many Fortis Inc. customers in Newfoundland questioned the company’s practices at home and overseas during two months of public hearings of the Public Utility Board on rate increases requested by Fortis subsidiary Newfoundland Power.  Many Newfoundlanders have also joined in calling for Fortis to cancel the dam, as part of an online petition at .

For more information contact
Greg Malone
Ph  (709)722-7775

Shareholder Meeting Date: May 14, 2003 11:00am, Delta Hotel, St. John’s, NL

 Fortis Inc will be broadcasting the Shareholder’s Meeting live on its website.

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