Vermonters certainly view Hydro Quebec's dams as an asset, in terms of power production. On Sunday, we learned the U.S. State Department thinks the provincial utility's dams, and the utility itself, are critical pieces of foreign infrastructure.
Both the James Bay Power Project and Hydro Quebec were listed in a sweeping diplomatic cable released by Wikileaks on Sunday. The cable noted HQ provides "critical irreplaceable source of power to portions of Northeast U.S."
The list was compiled as a companion to the domestic National Infrastructure Protection Plan (NIPP), which was established post-9/11 by the Department of Homeland Security to list critical infrastructure and key resources (CI/KR).
"The overarching goal of the NIPP is to build a safer, more secure, and more resilient America by enhancing protection of the nation's CI/KR to prevent, deter, neutralize or mitigate the effects of deliberate efforts by terrorists to destroy, incapacitate or exploit them; and to strengthen national preparedness, timely response, and rapid recovery in the event of an attack, natural disaster or other emergency," the cable notes.
"In addition to a list of critical domestic CI/KR, the NIPP requires compilation and annual update of a comprehensive inventory of CI/KR that are located outside U.S. borders and whose loss could critically impact the public health, economic security, and/or national and homeland security of the United States."
Also listed as a critical piece of infrastructure was the port of entry at Champlain, New York.