NunatuKavut Going to Court to Try to Stop Muskrat Falls Dam
The NunatuKavut Community Council is going to federal court to try to block the construction of the dam at Muskrat Falls.
President Todd Russell announced Thursday that the group had voted to challenge a permit issued by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans allowing Nalcor to build the Muskrat Falls reservoir. Russell argues the permit is issued illegally because his group was not properly consulted or accommodated.
“This is a project on aboriginal land, a project that is proceeding without the proper consultation and accommodation of our aboriginal rights and interests, and we feel the major permit that Nalcor has just received was issued by DFO illegally,” Russell said.
NunatuKavut represents people of Inuit and European descent in southern Labrador. It has been trying for decades to achieve a land claim, which includes the area where the dam is being built.
Russell says the application will be filed within 30 days.
“It has the possibility of quashing a major permit that would not allow Nalcor to proceed to dam the Muskrat Falls, which they intend to do in October,” he said.
Meanwhile, former premier Brian Peckford is raising concerns about the project again. He wrote a letter to Premier Kathy Dunderdale and released it to the media on Thursday.
“If you have legal opinions that the Quebec action is really frivolous then I think you have an obligation to make these opinions public,” Peckford wrote.
Peckford says the government needs to provide more clarity to the public after this week’s legal challenge by Hydro-Quebec and the ruling on the Maritime Link by the Utilities and Review Board in Nova Scotia.
“So we need a full and comprehensive statement,” Peckford said in an interview. “If that’s not forthcoming, then obviously it seems to me that the next step would be to halt the project and to do a complete review given all of these developments that are going on.”
A group of lawyers that has raised concerns about Muskrat Falls in the past will be weighing in again on Friday. The 2041 Group will hold a news conference focusing on the ruling for the Maritime Link.