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NunatuKavut Community Council fights Muskrat Falls dam project

The Globe and Mail reports, “An aboriginal group says Ottawa’s stand that economic benefits from the Muskrat Falls hydro project offset environmental effects is a slap in the face. The NunatuKavut Community Council, representing about 6,000 Inuit-Métis in southern Labrador, says it will keep fighting the $7.7-billion project.”

Transmission route

The Muskrat Falls hydroelectric dam project, that would be operational by 2017, includes a 32-metre high north dam and a 29-metre south dam. The Lower Churchill Project would see the construction of two large hydroelectric dams on the Grand River in Labrador, including a dam at Muskrat Falls. Power from Muskrat Falls would be brought to Newfoundland and then to Nova Scotia through a sub-sea link.

Newfoundland and Labrador’s Nalcor Energy and Halifax-based Emera plan to construct the $2.1 billion ‘Labrador-Island Transmision Link’ from Muskrat Falls in central Labrador to Soldiers Pond on the Avalon Peninsula of south-east Newfoundland. Emera will also construct and own the $1.2-billion underwater ‘Maritime Transmission Link’ from Newfoundland to Nova Scotia, which will enable future electricity exports to the Maritime provinces and the United States.

In the Blue Planet Project report Dam Truths: A compilation of case studies about popular struggles against dams, Meera Karunananthan writes, “Nalcor, the power utility of Newfoundland and Labrador, is forging ahead with a project that would comprise of two hydroelectric generating stations on the lower Churchill River despite tremendous opposition by the Nunatsiavut Inuit people, the NunatuKavut and Quebec Indigenous groups, as well as environmental organizations like the Sierra Club.”

Today’s news report highlights, “NunatuKavut president Todd Russell says transmission lines will cut across aboriginal lands, affecting hunting grounds and wildlife habitat. He says his people were never properly consulted and won’t receive electricity from the project.”

“Russell and his supporters have protested the development and have launched related legal challenges.” The Telegram adds, “The NunatuKavut Community Council said, ‘the council has not ruled out any course of action at this point and is taking a few days to decide on a specific course of action’.”

Further reading
Harper backs Muskrat Falls dam for cheap power for mining companies
Major dams prompt concerns around the world