11/28/2013 04:48 EST | Updated 01/28/2014 05:59 EST

Environmental green light for hydro project is 'slap in the face': native group

HAPPY VALLEY-GOOSE BAY, - An aboriginal group says Ottawa's stance that economic benefits from the Muskrat Falls hydro project offset environmental effects is a slap in the face.

The NunatuKavut (noon-ah-TWO'-ha-voot) Community Council, representing about 6,000 Inuit-Metis in southern Labrador, says it will keep fighting the $7.7-billion project.

Federal Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver announced this week that the Muskrat Falls transmission link to Newfoundland has cleared environmental review.

The development has yet to be approved under other federal laws, including the Fisheries Act.

NunatuKavut President Todd Russell says transmission lines will cut across aboriginal lands, affecting hunting grounds and wildlife habitat.

But he says his people were never properly consulted and won't receive electricity from the project.

Russell and his supporters have protested the development and have launched related legal challenges.

The provincial government says aboriginal groups including Russell's were consulted, and transmission routes were modified to reflect their concerns.

America Votes
The latest polls, breaking news and analysis on the U.S. election from HuffPost’s Washington, D.C. bureau