ST. JOHN'S, N.L. - The Federal Court has dismissed a request for a judicial review of the environmental approval process used to clear the way for the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project.
The Sierra Club Canada, one of the groups that launched the challenge, said it will get legal advice on what other steps it can take, but executive director John Bennett said it's doubtful it will continue the battle in the courts.
In an interview Friday, Bennett said the environmental group will keep raising public awareness because the federal and provincial governments are "rolling the dice on a huge gamble" both financially and environmentally on Muskrat Falls.
The Sierra Club, Grand Riverkeeper Labrador and the NunatuKavut Community Council argued a federal-provincial panel didn't complete its assessment of Muskrat Falls.
The environmental review panel acknowledged in August 2011 that damage to fish and wildlife habitat would be extensive, but the environmental group said the panel failed to study the need for the dam and power station or possible alternatives.
Crown corporation Nalcor Energy's plan with private Nova Scotia utility Emera (TSX:EMA) is to bring hydro power from the lower Churchill River in Labrador to Newfoundland and Nova Scotia using subsea cables.
The federal government has already given a loan guarantee to the $7.7-billion project.
The NunatuKavut Community Council, which represents the Inuit-Metis of southern Labrador, has said the province failed to adequately consult its people or include them in Muskrat Falls benefits.
Nalcor Energy applauded the Federal Court decision.
“We are very pleased that the Federal Court confirmed the lawfulness of the panel’s report and the decisions made by the government of Canada following the release of the report,” Gilbert Bennett, vice-president for the Lower Churchill project, said in a statement.