Federal Court rules in favour of Nalcor

Ashley Fitzpatrick
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Natural Resources Minister Jerome Kennedy. — Photo by Joe Gibbons/The Telegram

Nalcor Energy is applauding a Federal Court ruling, released Thursday, dismissing a challenge of the lawfulness of the environmental review for the Lower Churchill hydro dams.

The Grand Riverkeeper, Sierra Club of Canada and the NunatuKavut Community Council had filed the challenge, claiming the work of the joint provincial-federal environmental review panel had not properly assessed alternatives and had failed to look at cumulative environmental effects.

In filing the case, the trio of groups were attempting to halt the first stage of the Lower Churchill project — the dam at Muskrat Falls — in its tracks.

NunatuKavut Community Council president Todd Russell also said the federal loan guarantee and other advancements on the project from the point of the environmental review should not have been issued and are unlawful, as far as his organization is concerned, pointing to the stated claims.

The Federal Court has now responded. According to a statement released by Nalcor Energy, Justice David Near concluded: “the Panel reasonably fulfilled its mandate to consider, gather information, and report on the need for, alternatives to, and cumulative effects of the project, the applicants' prayer for relief is denied.”

“We are very pleased that the Federal Court confirmed the lawfulness of the (environmental review) panel’s report and the decisions made by the Government of Canada following the release of the report,” stated Gilbert Bennett, Nalcor Energy vice-president and Lower Churchill project lead.

The decision Bennett is referring to is the decision to release the project from further environmental assessment.

“We are also pleased that the (Federal) Court addressed the numerous allegations of the NunatuKavut Community Council and concluded that there were no infringements of NunatuKavut’s rights through the environmental assessment process. The court found that they were given every opportunity to be heard, were treated fairly and that there was no infringement of procedural fairness as alleged,” Bennett stated.

The Telegram has yet to see the ruling, but will have more in tomorrow’s print and digital editions.

Meanwhile, in the House of Assembly Thursday evening, provincial Minister of Natural Resources Jerome Kennedy spoke about the objections of the NunatuKavut Community Council to the project.

“Mr. Chair, the Crown has fulfilled, continues to fulfill, and will continue to fulfill its obligations in respect to consultation with NunatuKavut Community Council. I just want to make that clear for the record,” Kennedy said.


Organizations: NunatuKavut Community Council, Nalcor Energy, Federal Court Sierra Club of Canada

Geographic location: Canada

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Recent comments

  • I can hear the lips a smacking and hands a clapping over all the go-ahead signals already given on Muskrat Falls.
    December 22, 2012 - 18:16

    I think I see one prominent name on this commentary page, who is probably rubbing his hands with glee now, while waiting for a piece of the Muskrat Falls development pie. For God's Sake Opposition please make sure that there is an anti-corruption commission established to oversee the development of Muskrat Falls or we, Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, are probably doomed economically forever.

  • Tim Jamison
    December 22, 2012 - 09:57

    Called it

  • Since all Green Lights have been activated on the fo-ahead of the Muskrat Falls, now an "Anti-Corruption" Commission needs to beestablished
    December 22, 2012 - 07:29

    Since all of the Green Lights have been activated as a "go-ahead" for the Muskrat Falls Project and the electorate/hydro consumers of Newfoundland and Labrador have been appointed as the only mortgage payers on the Project, we must now demand that an "Anti-Corruption" squad be appointed to oversee the project. We cannot, any longer, allow "unchecked authority" by our politicians, to be the over-lords on the development of our natural resources. We have seen too many of them already get dispensed, with the only ones from Newfoundland and Labrador benefitting being the Politicians, who had unchecked authority to oversee the development and the Corporations who lobbied them to have the resources developed for their benefit. All because of the corrupt political system we that we have no choice but to accept and live under. That system, too, has to change. It is very dysfunctional for a province like Newfoundland and Labrador, but then again our politicians have to rebel against that system, it is due to get worse with the addition of another 30 seat to the Ottawa Parliament with not one for the province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

  • ICU
    December 21, 2012 - 23:22

    This is not about business sense and what's right. It's all about politics and maintaining the legacy of November, 2010. Emotion rules. NL electorate provided a strong mandate to the existing government in 2011; and alternative parties were weak. What else is there to say? Final cost: probably closer to $10b. Enjoy the show if you must; but it's better to turn nay-sayer's energy to the next provincial election.

  • John Smith
    December 21, 2012 - 18:29

    ...from reading coldfuture's comments we can see people still just don't get it...Muskrat falls is not a cash cow,,,it's not Hebron, or some other means to make gobs of money....no more than you would expect to make gobs of money going to costco and buying a generator if you need power. Sure, we may make a little money, and we will get a much needed connection to the mainland...but always asking...how does it benefit us? It benefits us by providing us with power....that's it...that's all it is supposed to do. Gull Island will be a money maker...not muskrat,,,no more than Bay d'espoir, or the oil burning plant in holyrood are ment to...

  • Eli
    December 21, 2012 - 15:42

    But at what price Brian? Jeeez, we don't even need the shaggin' power in Newfoundland. This government and Nalcor are disgustedly drunk on power.

  • Robert
    December 21, 2012 - 12:42

    Yes COLD FUTURE! Somedays it doesn't matter what one says or does Good will happen! Happy New Year or is that wishful thinkung!

  • Cold Future
    December 21, 2012 - 09:32

    Everything seems to be conspiring to let this boondoggle happen. Can't help feeling this will end in yet another millstone around our necks. If everybody outside newfoundland stands to gain so much, how can it be any benefit to us????

    • Brian
      December 21, 2012 - 12:28

      Seeing as the joint federal-provincial review does include extensive cumulative effects (asides from the transmission lines), and how spurious the claim that alternatives were not investigated is, this ruling is hardly a surprise and shouldn't be seen as some sort of conspiracy. Newfoundland and those outside gaining from a project are not mutually exclusive. A electrical project of this scale can be expected to have regional benefits, indeed for the price tag it should be expected.