Northvolt mega-factory on the South Shore | Citizens denounce the start of the work

(Montreal) A group of citizens deplores the government authorization obtained Monday by Northvolt, which will allow the battery manufacturer to start construction work on the future factory in McMasterville and Saint-Basile-le-Grand.

“The Citizen Action Committee mobilized against the Northvolt project” finds it “very worrying” that the Ministry of the Environment authorized, on Monday, the start of construction work which will cause the destruction of “13 hectares of wetlands”.

These citizens denounce “the lack of transparency from the government and have been demanding, for weeks, an investigation by the Bureau d’audiences publique sur l’environnement (BAPE) into the entire Northvolt industrial megaproject.”

In a press release, the group indicates that “these wetlands, increasingly rare in Montérégie, are natural filters and carbon sinks essential to countering climate change.” According to him, the government is ignoring the “precautionary principle” and citizen participation.

“Public meetings had been planned with the citizens of McMasterville and Saint-Basile-le-Grand, but these were canceled at the last minute. We expected much better from our political leaders,” the statement read.

“Ensuring that the Northvolt project is not subject to the BAPE process, by modifying the criteria behind closed doors, is outrageous,” wrote the Citizen Action Committee mobilized against the Northvolt project.

The Ministry of the Environment, the Fight against Climate Change, Wildlife and Parks (MELCCFP) judges that “the project does not involve any significant encroachment in the environments considered more sensitive on the site, namely: all rivers and their banks; all flood-prone areas; wetlands which constitute a potential breeding habitat for certain species such as the least bittern.”

In a press release published Monday, the Ministry indicates that “in order to mitigate the impact on wildlife habitats, the company is committed to creating, restoring or conserving natural environments over an area to be determined, which will be equal ecological value”.

Northvolt’s future lithium battery factory will receive $7.3 billion in provincial and federal aid.

A regulation was modified last February by Quebec allowing the Northvolt project to escape BAPE examination, according to information first relayed by Radio-Canada.

Its production capacity would be 56,000 metric tons, while the Regulation relating to the evaluation and examination of the environmental impacts of certain projects was modified so as to avoid a BAPE evaluation for battery factories that produce 60,000 metric tons or less.


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