Environmental injunction request suspends Northvolt EV plant construction

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Now construction of a multi-billion dollar electric vehicle battery plant in Quebec has been temporarily halted Sweden’s northvolt says it stopped the work because of a court case brought by an environmental group concerned about nearby Wetland Marina Von stackelberg explains the Quebec Center for environmental law says the province is

Applying a double standard the Environmental Group has successfully been granted an injunction that will halt construction of a massive electric battery Factory east of Montreal until at least Tuesday the company northv began cutting down trees earlier this week after it got the go-ahead from Quebec’s environment Ministry it is

Building a massive factory and is getting billions of dollars in provincial and federal money to make it happen but environmental groups say proper environmental assessments for the project have not been done the experts of the ministry of environment in their refusal of the previous project in the

Same place mentioned how how these are habitats of Rich biodiversity including atrisk species these are wetlands that are now rare in the region that really have important ecological functions so these same areas should be protected in our opinion when we’re dealing with similar impacts for the environment that

Previous project was to build housing it did not get the go-ahead from The Province over concerns it could harm sensitive species including birds and Turtles the land used to also be the location of an explosives Factory now despite all all of this last fall Quebec’s Premier said the northvolt

Project would not have to undergo an evaluation from the province’s environmental Watchdog he said it didn’t meet the threshold based on the scale of the battery production but that threshold was changed just months before the project was announced the Quebec government has denied doing that to accommodate northvolt this Factory is

One of several electric vehicle manufacturing projects Canada is pouring money into the federal environment minister says it will be up to the court to decide whether Quebec’s laws have been followed and he can’t comment on the case I can’t obviously comment uh a cause that is in front of the tribunals

Right now when it comes to the the complaint by the S and and nordv the tribunals will will decide whether or not Quebec claws have been abided uh by North fol says it voluntarily stopped work on the site when it heard an injunction was being brought forward the

Company says its projects meet some of the highest standards in the world and it will continue to comply with environmental regulations calling itself a Pioneer in sustainable battery manufacturing Marina Von stackelberg CBC News Ottawa just now you heard in that piece from Mark Bai he is a lawyer at the

Quebec environmental law center it’s also known as the cqd and was at the hearing this morning Mark it’s good to speak with you hello so you were at court uh this this was day one of the discussions with nort volt uh did you hear what you were hoping

To well uh the hearing this morning was postponed until Tuesday and in the meantime work has been suspended on the site so that is at least some rest fite for the biodiversity that’s present what’s the end goal um for your group for your organization

Here uh there are many one of them is of course to have some significant public participation and of course to get some transparency which has been lacking so far there is a registry of public uh environmental information that has been mandated in the law uh for over six

Years now and we’re still waiting on that it’s still not available online which means that citizens have to go through access to information requests these can sometimes take weeks sometimes longer and in the meantime work had already begun on Monday so we felt it was urgent to seek an injunction from

The court specific to this Wetland site uh can you can you can you tell us about this particular area why it is so environmentally sensitive it’s so sensitive that uh the previous housing project on the same site was refused by the minister of environment only months ago less than a

Year ago according to the ministry’s own experts these wetlands are among the last ones in the region they provide precious ecological functions they provide habitats for Rich biodiversity including at risk species such as the least bit which is listed as threatened and as well as quote an impressive

Diversity of bird species so when that previous project was uh refused and this current project is accepted on the same site that really made us question whether there might be a double standard at work here not that this needs to be a case of

One or the other but it is uh you know when I first read into this story we’re talking about the building of electric vehicle batteries arguably that is uh to the advantage of the environment that is something to to move forward with and I assume that your group would be um

Supportive of efforts like that are you concerned about the fact that you’re you’re delaying that from happening well of course we are for a transition but a transition that is democratic that involves public participation uh one that is transparent where we uh can know and understand what

Is happening and of course have a say so really these are what we consider reasonable requests these kinds of processes in Quebec take only a few months whereas some of these impacts on itive areas on Rich biodiversity can last for a long time some of them are permanent according to the documents of

The company itself so we consider it quite reasonable do you have any thoughts as to why that um the housing project on this particular area of of land was denied but the north volt uh EV battery plant was not well that’s exactly what we’re asking the courts to shine a light on

And explain uh why exactly when one project was uh proposed in the same site it was refused and another one now is accepted uh when we look at the actual surface area of wetlands uh in the previous project was about half as big as the ones that will be impacted by the

North Pole project so uh there’s a lot of question marks and that’s one of the main uh impetuses of why we’re doing this is to have a better clearer picture on what’s Happening so right now uh work on the the northfold project is delayed until 5:00 P p.m. on Tuesday state to

Respect what’s going on in the courts uh according to the company company also saying that they plan to continue to abide by the environmental rules that are in effect uh come Tuesday when you’re back uh in the court what will your group be presenting what do you hope

Happens well we will be seeking this injunction so it has only been postponed uh we’re relieved that there’s been suspension of the work until then but we will ask the court for at least 10 days of suspension so that we can uh have a chance to go before the court and ask

For uh really a proper understanding of what’s going on with this project versus the previous one Mark Bai a lawyer at the Quebec environmental law Center good to talk to you tonight thank you thank you

Work on the construction of Northvolt’s massive, multibillion-dollar plant east of Montreal is on hold until next Tuesday, pending a court ruling on an injunction request filed by an environmental group. Marc Bishai, a lawyer from the Quebec Environmental Law Centre, discusses the urgency of the injunction due to the lack of transparency surrounding construction.

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8 COMMENTS

  1. Someone clearly can't see the forest through the trees as it were… It's not like this was a pristine site, it was a former explosives factory… Some people really need to pick their battles…

    Edmonton faced the same nusance lawsuits over the Tawatina Bridge by flaky eco-fascists who objected to trees being removed from a former coal mine/garbage dump site even though they weren't rare or even that old… They wanted people to use diesel buses instead… This is the kind of lunacy we're still dealing with on both sides of the political spectrum just to get progress… Shame!

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