Liberal Government’s “Approve Now Let the Courts Decide” Approach to Environment Deeply Concerning




For immediate release

8 July, 2021


NL NDP Environment Critic James Dinn has concerns about the government commitment to environmental protection after yet another aquaculture project was allowed to skirt environmental impact assessments, opening up the province to challenges in court, again. If it were not for the action of concerned citizens in the area, Dinn worries that an estuary ecosystem would already be irreparably destroyed.


“We have been here before, the Liberal Government has tried this and the courts have had to set the record straight and demand an environmental assessment for a previously approved aquaculture project,” said Dinn. ”I can only assume the Liberal government continues with this approach hoping that those impacted won’t be able to afford the legal challenges,” Dinn said today. “The answer here is plain and simple, do the right thing – do an environmental impact assessment of the estuary and mitigate the impacts before over two hectares of a marine ecosystem is infilled.”


The dispute centres on the province’s identifying the waterway as an estuary, which would require an environmental impact assessment before any work is carried out. The federal government definition of an estuary is quite clear: “The tidal areas where saltwater and fresh water meet are called estuaries”. In a report submitted by the Citizens Representative, they recommend – the province must accept that this waterway may be considered an estuary, rescind their approval of the project from 2018, face the consequences of their haste decisions, and define estuary in the legislation to avoid future disputes with private business developments, and citizens.


“Citizens in CBS identified yet another example of the Liberal Government skirting environmental assessments; this is becoming a bit of a pattern that concerns me, and I have to ask why certain projects are allowed to avoid these assessments which time and time again prove to be a legal requirement,” said Dinn. “These environmental impact assessments are not a check box on the road to development. Every time a delicate ecosystem is in jeopardy, we must do our part to mitigate the impact,” Dinn said today. “Future generations depend on us to ensure they are not left with yet another environmental crisis to clean up because government prioritized private development projects spearheaded by their supporters over the environmental stewardship which will define the future in which our children and grandchildren must live.”


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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


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