Groups claim environmental review panel failed in its duties
Construction of a dam at Muskrat Falls is one piece of the Muskrat Falls project. The project also includes building a new backbone line for power along much of the province and a power link between the island and Labrador, across the Strait of Belle Isle. - Telegram file photo
Despite the release of the Lower Churchill project from environmental assessment Thursday, there is still a Federal Court challenge to the project outstanding.
The groups who have filed the challenge are reminding all parties this morning. They include Grand Riverkeeper Labrador, the Sierra Club of Canada and NunatuKavut Community Council, the latter representing Métis in Central and Southern Labrador.
In their Notice of Application — filed in December 2011 and included as part of a news release today — the groups claim the Government of Canada and specifically the joint provincial-federal environmental review panel working on behalf of the Canada Environmental Assessment Agency failed “to assess or incorrectly or unreasonably assessed” several key points in regards to the project.
Specifically, they highlight potential cumulative effects of the dam projects at Muskrat Falls and Gull Island, when considered with other elements of proponent Nalcor Energy’s plans for supplying power to the province. These additional elements would include new transmission lines.
The groups also claim potential alternatives to the hydro power plans have not been presented or considered.
“The report concluded that the Lower Churchill Generation Project would result in significant adverse environmental effects. However, as a result of the Joint Review Panel’s failure to complete an assessment of alternatives to the project, the report failed to provide an informed rationale or conclusion regarding whether these significant adverse environmental effects would be justified in the circumstances,” the application reads.
The groups also claim a “failure to hold hearings in a manner that offered the public an opportunity to participate in an assessment of cumulative environmental effects and of alternatives to the project” and that the panel “failed to take into account relevant considerations and took irrelevant considerations into account.”
More in tomorrow’s Telegram.