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Wind-Hydrogen Approval Lacks Guarantees for Local Benefits and Protections


For Immediate Release

12 April, 2024


NDP MHA Jordan Brown (Labrador West) says the Liberal’s focus is getting the industry up and running with no guarantees that Newfoundlanders and Labradorians will receive the maximum benefits from the industry. The concerns of the NDP have been submitted to the Liberal government in a letter sent by Brown today.

 

“Since the announcement of Project Nujio’qonik GH2 we have been concerned about the process of environmental assessment,” said Brown. “The NDP Caucus has consulted with a number of groups to request their opinions regarding the Project. We have reviewed their concerns in addition to our own research and we now present the following concerns for your consideration and response. Our request to Government is as follows:

 

  • Prohibit development in the areas designated as Limestone Barrens, to preserve the unique ecosystem, and endangered flora found within.

  • Ensure that the Proponent reports on flooding are evaluated by qualified experts.

  • Collaborate with provincial environmental groups to ensure a thorough understanding of the impacts of this project, and require meaningful mitigation measures from the proponent.

  • Impose public consultation requirements above the minimum on the Proponent, i.e., require meetings in the more rural areas to ensure adequate time and opportunity for all voices to be heard.

  • Transparently negotiate community benefits agreements that offset the social costs the host communities will be subjected to by the Project.

  • Leverage industry to partner with public sector education to make NL a research and innovation hub. Encourage our public educational institutions to provide training for locals to enter the industry.

  • Establish an expert’s panel to navigate how to maximize the benefits of the emerging wind-hydrogen industry.

  • Strengthen the EIS process to make it into a legal tool to ensure detriments and benefits are fairly assessed and balanced, rather than the non-transparent piecemeal process that currently exists between government departments.”

 

A full transcript of Brown’s letter to the Liberal government follows.

 

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For further information, contact Eddy St. Coeur, Director of Communications, NDP Caucus at 729-2137 (o), or eddystcoeur@gov.nl.ca

 

 

 

Bernard Davis, Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Province of Newfoundland and Labrador

P.O. Box 8700

Confederation Building

St. John’s, NL A1B 4J6


April 12, 2024


Dear Minister Davis,


Further to the concerns raised by my letter dated September 21, 2023, the NL NDP has long been a proponent for a just transition plan which we consider a blueprint to diversify our economy, foster growth of green industry, and shelter our population from the uncertainty of the oil industry. Any undertaking in this province must provide a net benefit to the province at large, improve the quality of life and provide benefit to the workers and residents adjacent to the development, and must also be undertaken in a way that safeguards the environment.


Since the announcement of Project Nujio’qonik GH2 we have been concerned about the process of environmental assessment. We were disappointed in the decision that the Project did not merit assessment under the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada, as the onus to identify and weigh the effects this project will now fall entirely on the Department of Environment and Climate Change. The lack of an EIA lends credibility to the view that the review process as undertaken is simply cover for a decision that’s already been made.


The Project will constitute the largest wind farm built in Canada to date, and unlike its relatively isolated predecessors, it will take place in very close proximity to communities. Large scale construction and development can have social impacts. The influx of workers will exacerbate the ongoing housing and health care crisis. The mitigation of costs should be a part of the benefits agreement.


The NDP Caucus has consulted with a number of groups in addition to our own research and here is a summary of our requests to government:


  • Prohibit development in the areas designated as Limestone Barrens, to preserve the unique ecosystem, and endangered flora found within.

  • Ensure that the Proponent reports on flooding are evaluated by qualified experts.

  • Collaborate with provincial environmental groups to ensure a thorough understanding of the impacts of this project, and require meaningful mitigation measures from the proponent.

  • Impose public consultation requirements above the minimum on the Proponent, i.e., require meetings in the more rural areas to ensure adequate time and opportunity for all voices to be heard.

  • Transparently negotiate community benefits agreements that offset the social costs the host communities will be subjected to by the Project.

  • Leverage industry to partner with public sector education to make NL a research and innovation hub. Encourage our public educational institutions to provide training for locals to enter the industry.

  • Establish an expert’s panel to navigate how to maximize the benefits of the emerging wind-hydrogen industry.

  • Strengthen the EIS process to make it into a legal tool to ensure detriments and benefits are fairly assessed and balanced, rather than the non-transparent piecemeal process that currently exists between government departments. 


The NDP would be pleased to meet with you on these issues.


Sincerely,

Jordan Brown,

M.H.A for Labrador West

 


NR 12042024 Wind-Hydrogen Approval Lacks Guarantees for Local Benefits and Protections
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