NDP applauds aquaculture environmental assessment decision

NDP Leader Earle McCurdy says yesterday’s judgement requiring Grieg Aquaculture to provide a full Environmental Impact Statement before proceeding with a proposed massive project in Placentia Bay is a significant victory for everyone who has been calling for such an assessment. The only disappointment, he says, is that the provincial government didn’t order the EIS last year, when it was so obviously the right thing to do, thereby delaying the project for a year.

The NDP has been one of many voices demanding the EIS. Before former Environment Minister Trimper made his decision last summer, both NDP Leader Earle McCurdy and Environment Critic Gerry Rogers (MHA, St. John’s Centre) spoke about the importance of doing a full Environmental Impact Statement assessment before the Grieg Aquaculture-OCI project begins.

In a March 16, 2016 letter to the then Environment Minister, McCurdy urged the him to “order a full provincial Environmental Impact Statement” and requested a Cabinet-appointed Environmental Assessment Board to conduct public hearings.

Rogers reiterated these requests in a May 17, 2016 letter, and addressed the subject of aquaculture’s environmental impact several times in the House of Assembly in the most recent session. On March 30, as the court case launched, she asked why government had released the project from a full EIS when “experts in the Department of Health, the Fish and Wildlife Division, and the federal DFO” had all requested the EIS.

McCurdy says the EIS process should include public hearings and full participation by federal agencies concerned with the environment and fisheries. 

“We need jobs and development, but not at any cost,” he said.

“If aquaculture is in fact to be a major source of employment in this province in future years, then we must make sure we do it right. The government ignored EIS Joint Review Panel recommendations in the Muskrat Falls development; let’s not make the same kind of mistakes here.”

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