NunatuKavut says done with link assessment

Ashley Fitzpatrick
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Todd Russell. — Telegram file photo

The NunatuKavut Community Council (NCC) is no longer participating in the environmental assessment of the Labrador-Island Link, the second major piece of the Lower Churchill hydro development.

As The Telegram reported Saturday, the transmission link that will carry Churchill River power between Labrador and the island of Newfoundland has not yet been released from environmental assessment by the provincial government.

“NCC entered into the environmental assessment process as the aboriginal group that is most seriously and directly affected by the transmission link, which cuts through its territory,” reads a statement issued today.

It says the group has no faith in the process.

“We have raised our concerns with the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency and the Newfoundland and Labrador government time and time again,” states Todd Russell, president of the NunatuKavut Community Council.

“They fail to provide scientific information or adequately respond to our concerns. What information is given is not being disclosed in a timely fashion. We are given inadequate timelines to comment on information — especially compared to the time given to the project proponents. We lack the resources to fully participate in the process and are continuously denied any sort of negotiation or accommodation of our rights and title.”

 The NunatuKavut Community Council was part of a failed Federal Court challenge to the environmental assessment of the dam at Muskrat Falls.

The group is currently pressing an appeal to a court injunction directing its members to stay away from the work site.

The statement today puts the project at risk, the group suggests, as the federal loan guarantee for the project stipulates aboriginal consultation must be completed to the satisfaction of the federal government.

To date, the NunatuKavut Community Council does not have a land claim accepted for negotiation by the federal government.

Project proponent Nalcor Energy formally began the assessment process for the Labrador-Island Link back in 2009.

As of the end of 2012, all documentation on the link requested by the provincial Department of Environment had been submitted, according to a project lead and Nalcor vice-president Gilbert Bennett.

Documentation includes a detailed environmental impact statement and about 20 additional "component studies" looking at how the project might affect everything from caribou populations to wilderness views.

Full documentation is available at:

Organizations: NCC, The Telegram, Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency Department of Environment

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, Churchill River, Island of Newfoundland

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Recent comments

  • canadian
    May 27, 2013 - 05:47

    What does nunatkavut mean?? have asked few elders here in Norhern Lab, but they said it has no meaning!

  • JimBO
    May 24, 2013 - 14:06

    For Todd Russell and the NCC.... go listen to the song Muskrat Love!!!

  • Observer
    May 23, 2013 - 15:27

    Environmental studies are easily manipulated and usually tell the sponsor of the study what they want to hear. Todd Russell is doing us a favor by exposing the trampling and bad faith. The more we see this corporate sponsored regime in action, the more likely the public will kick out the government and cut its losses in MF. It isn't just the natives that are being trampled, the rest of us are going to pay for this misguided projects. On a cynical note, perhaps they should just give $5000 per head from the children's trust fund to bribe them.

  • Jay
    May 23, 2013 - 08:15

    Boo Hoo. It says a lot when the people of Labrador booted Russell out in favor of Peter Penashue. The legitimate aboriginal groups aren't walking away. Todd Russell "leads" a group which doesn't have any legitimate standing or land claims, but he still thinks they have some credibility. Believe me, the Federal government doesn't recognize you, even if they give you a little bit of money.

  • darrell
    May 22, 2013 - 17:21

    Todd Russell.....just go away please, just go away. You have made no progress no matter what job you held.

  • Tony Rockel
    May 22, 2013 - 14:05

    The NunatKavut people will be trampled on just like anyone else who gets in the way of this corporation-worshiping government of brown-nosing toadies. Environmental studies are just a joke to this bunch of evil clowns.