In October 2016, leaders met and achieved what is now known as the Methylmercury Agreement. There was nothing done in writing, however the verbal agreement between leaders of the Innu Nation, the Nunatsiavut Government, NunatuKavut Community Council, Newfoundland and Labrador and a representative of the Federal Government included:
· Multiple engineering reports regarding initial reservoir impoundment were provided to the Indigenous leaders, who would immediately undertake to have the reports independently reviewed within days. If independent assessment confirmed the timing and rationale of initial impoundment, water levels would be raised to the minimum acceptable level.
· Following initial impoundment, Nalcor will release water from the reservoir in the spring of 2017 to its natural flow, as ordered by the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador. This would facilitate the opportunity for additional mitigation measures, which may include clearing trees, vegetation and/or soil from the reservoir.
· An Independent Expert Advisory Committee would be established, mandated to seek an independent, evidence-based approach to mitigate methylmercury concerns.
On behalf of the Council, I wrote to all leaders in late June to request an update on this agreement, and to express concerns that nothing has been communicated to their respective constituencies as of yet. This despite flooding at Mud Lake, arrests at the main gate to Muskrat Falls and on the project site, and what is now considered a police state with an influx of approximately 300+ RCMP officers to the area to protect the eight transformers making their way one by one from Cartright to Happy Valley-Goose Bay.
Just this morning, over one month since the original letter was sent, I sent another letter to follow up due to a near complete lack of response (other than, ‘thanks for your letter’). This is unacceptable.
Demands from the Labrador Land Protectors, who have been leading the frontline opposition, are as follows:
- Free the “Labrador Three”
- Provide a progress report on the methylmercury agreement
- Initiate an independent review of the North Spur stability
- Begin a forensic audit and public inquiry of Nalcor
The Labrador Three, arrested July 20th, clockwise from top: Jim Learning, Marjorie Flowers, Eldred Davis.
For daily updates, please follow the Labrador Land Protectors on facebook.
 “Provincial Government and Indigenous Leaders Make Significant Progress on Muskrat Falls Issues,” Newfoundland and Labrador Government media release, Oct 26 2016 http://www.releases.gov.nl.ca/releases/2016/exec/1026n01.aspx