Quebec Innu are asking the Federal Court to reverse approval given by the federal government for the construction of new hydroelectric dams on the Lower Churchill River in Labrador.
The group says the federal government largely ignored the August 2011 advice of a review panel.
“A federal-provincial review panel concluded, after an environmental assessment that the project proposed by Nalcor Energy would have several significant adverse environmental effects on the aquatic and terrestrial environments, culture and heritage,” said a news release from the Innu of Ekuanitshit.
According to the panel, “the project would be unlikely to deliver benefits to aboriginal communities in Quebec and the project’s impact on their current use of land and resources for traditional purposes would be adverse.”
The Quebec Innu group said the proposed hydroelectric dam at Muskrat Falls would create a reservoir 60 kilometres long and would flood an additional 36 square kilometres.
The Innu of Ekuanitshit, who live at the mouth of the La Romaine River in Quebec, said that ”since time immemorial” they have used a territory extending to the Churchill River in Labrador.
“We hunt the caribou as a community regardless of borders which we did not create,” said Chief Jean-Charles Pietacho in the news release.