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St. John’s chapter supports call for independent review of North Spur at Muskrat Falls dam

The Council of Canadians St. John’s chapter participated in a petition delivery to the Newfoundland and Labrador legislative building today regarding the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric dam. Chapter activist Marilyn Reid was there to express solidarity with land defenders calling for an independent review of the project.

The outreach for the rally noted, “On Tuesday, May 9, supporters of Grand Riverkeeper Labrador and the Labrador Land Protectors will deliver their petition signed by over 1000 Labradorians to demand an independent review of the North Spur. Following the reading of statements, the petition will be delivered to government.”

The Muskrat Falls hydroelectric dam project would see two large dams – a 32-metre high north dam and a 29-metre south dam – on the lower Churchill River in Labrador. The dams are being built on Innu territory, but the Inuit also claim part of the lands that would be affected by the project as their traditional territory.

The CBC has explained, “The North Spur is a jut of rock and deep soil in the Churchill River on the north side of Muskrat Falls. The upstream side of the spur will take the full weight of the reservoir that will be created by the hydroelectric complex.”

If the North Spur were to collapse, an analysis done by the Town of Happy Valley-Goose Bay found that 250 properties and 15 kilometres of road would be affected totalling at least $60 million in damage. The flood zone would also include the town’s water system and its wastewater treatment plant.

The outreach adds, “While Nalcor [the provincial energy corporation] has conducted its own review of the safety of the North Spur, the government has yet to answer to a longstanding call for an independent review. Now, Labradorians are using their voices in the thousands to ensure their health and safety is protected. Lets add our voices in St. John’s and ensure the government answers to the demands of this petition.”

The Muskrat Falls dam is expected to be operational by 2019-20. The Council of Canadians has been raising concerns about this project since November 2012.