As the "Labrador Three" made their court appearance in Supreme Court in Happy Valley-Goose Bay this morning, opponents of Nalcor's Muskrat Falls hydro project held events in Ottawa, St. John's, and Halifax. Eldred Davis, Marjorie Flowers and Jim Learning were all released today; the two latter will remain under house arrest because they, as APTN reported today, "refused to sign an undertaking to stay one kilometre from the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric dam."
The "Labrador Three" just outside the Happy Valley-Goose Bay Supreme Court following their release today. (Photo: APTN)
Several media outlets came out for the media conference in Halifax, held outside of Nova Scotia Power's Head Office (Emera is the parent company) which was chosen for the occasion due to Emera's Maritime Link project, the cable that connects energy from the Muskrat Falls project to outside markets including the north eastern US. The media release and photos from the conference are available, and a few news articles have been released (a pre-event piece from News 95.7, Canadian Press - also translated into French - and one of Robin Tress' tweets from the Halifax event was used in a CBC piece here),
The Labrador Land Protectors demands, reiterated in Halifax today, "In light of the devastation caused by the Muskrat Falls dam and the multiple Elders and land defenders arrested for protesting its construction, we are calling on PM Justin Trudeau, NL Premier Dwight Ball, NS Premier Stephen McNeil, and Emera CEO Chris Huskilson to:
"1. Instruct Nalcor, a crown corporation, to drop charges against Marjorie Flowers, Jim Learning, and Eldred Davis, and end the injunction against land defenders.
"2. Honour the methylmercury agreement signed by government and indigenous leaders in October 2016 by lowering water levels and clearing vegetation from the land. Methylmercury must be mitigated to the lowest possible amount for people downstream depending on traditional foods.
"3. Initiate an independent review on the stability of the North Spur. Many experts question the stability of this natural dam, and worry that up to 1000 lives could be lost if the dam fails.
"4. Begin a public inquiry including forensic audit of Nalcor - now, not after the damage is done. There are billions of federal and provincial dollars at stake. This audit is critical."
APTN also reported, "Learning and the others will appear in court again at the end of August. Fifty land protectors are facing civil charges. Thirty-seven people are also facing criminal charges related to protests at Muskrat Falls.
"The hydro project has been criticized for its impacts on the environment, skyrocketing costs now over-budget at $12-billion, and a lack of consultation."
Overall opposition to the project is building, both in Labrador and across Eastern Canada, as people learn more about the project and it's implications, as well as the handling by Nalcor Energy (Newfoundland and Labrador's crown corporation) and the NL government. Despite the terrible management of taxpayers money, we still believe one person's life is worth more than the money put into this project.
Media conference outside of Nova Scotia Power Incorporated, an Emera Company, in Halifax today (Photo: Robin Tress)