Lower Churchill Panel Report Shows Risks not Balanced by Need for Project

September 1, 2011


St. John’s, NL– Sierra Club Atlantic is calling on the federal and provincial Ministersto reject the Lower Churchill project in response to the final report of the environmental assessment panel for the Lower Churchill project.

“We were disappointed that the Panel did not state the obvious and give clear advice to government,” according to Bruno Marcocchio, who participated as an expert at the Panel Hearings, “However, the fact that Nalcor could not demonstrate the need for the Lower Churchill means both governments should be taking a big step back and puttinga halt to this project before we get in any deeper.”

“The assessment panel report states that Nalcor did not demonstrate that the project was needed to meet local energy demand or reduce ghg emissions, and that Nalcor had not evaluated alternative energy sources, such as energy efficiency and wind power,” according to Fred Winsor, Conservation Chair of the Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter. “The need to develop local energy that will benefit local communities is something we have been pushing for for years. Perhaps now Nalcor will listen.”

The Panel questioned estimates made by Nalcor regarding income from the sale of power to Maritime provinces and New England states and Nalcor’s projections of the costs offset from shutting down Holyrood power plant.  The Panel also found that the project would impact fish communities, threaten theRed Wine caribou herd, and could elevate mercury levels in fish and seals hundreds of kilometres downstream. The Panel stated unsafe mercury levels could significantlyaffect hunting, fishing and harvesting of country food.

“The Panel states that cultural and spiritual landscape created by the river would be lost forever if the project proceeds,” according to Gretchen Fitzgerald, “If no economic case and no clear evaluation of the alternatives to the project could be made at this the highest level of environmentalassessment in the country, we question whether such a case can be made. “


Backgrounder: Joint Review Panel Report for  Lower Churchill Hydroelectric Project

For more information, please contact:

Bruno Marcocchio: 902-567-1132

Fred Winsor, Conservation Chair, Sierra Club Atlantic: 709-738-3781

Gretchen Fitzgerald, Director, Atlantic Canada Chapter – Sierra Club Canada: 902-444-3113 or 902-444-7096 – gretchenf @sierraclub.ca


in the news:


Radio-Canada: (story begins at approximately 12 minutes)

Halifax Chronicle Herald


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