08/08/2013 02:21 EDT | Updated 10/08/2013 05:12 EDT

Labrador Inuit groups ask for judicial review of Muskrat Falls hydro project

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. - Two Inuit groups in Labrador are challenging a key part of the Muskrat Falls hydro project now under construction on the lower Churchill River.

The Nunatsiavut (noon-AHT'-see-ah-voot) Government and the NunatuKavut (noon-ah-TWO'-ha-voot) Community Council have filed requests for judicial review in Halifax.

They're asking the Federal Court to revisit a decision by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to grant permission to begin work on a dam without properly consulting them.

Nunatsiavut president Sarah Leo says the project will damage recognized Inuit lands and cause potential health issues.

She says such concerns were recognized by a federal-provincial environmental assessment panel but have not been accommodated.

NunatuKavut president Todd Russell, whose group has no federally recognized land claim, says the province has failed to adequately consult his members.

The authorization to start building the dam was granted to provincial Crown corporation Nalcor Energy, which declined comment as it reviews the court applications.

No one from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans or Natural Resources Canada could be immediately reached for comment.