Grieg Aquaculture project in court amid protests


Grieg Aquaculture project in court amid protests

Tara Bradbury tara.bradbury@thetelegram.com

The Telegram

Published: Dec 14 at 10:46 a.m.

Updated: Dec 14 at 12:21 p.m.

Protesters on both sides of an aquaculture project proposed for Placentia Bay are outside the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador Court of Appeal in St. John's today (Thursday).

Inside the courthouse, a panel of judges is hearing an appeal of the decision to require the province to complete a comprehensive environmental assessment before allowing the project to begin.

Grieg NL has proposed a salmon farm for the Placentia Bay area, with 11 sea cage sites. The province approved it without a comprehensive environmental assessment; a decision that was struck down by Supreme Court Justice Gillian Butler.

The province is appealing Butler's ruling, saying she failed to see it was reasonable to release the proposal from further assessment, since provincial and Fisheries and Oceans Canada legislation would prevent the project from causing environmental damage.

A group of about 20 Burin Peninsula residents came to St. John's by bus this morning for the protest. They say they are satisfied with the measures already taken to ensure environmental safety and point to the benefits to the local economy. The project is expected to create hundreds of jobs, they say.

On the other side, Brendan Kelly and Katie Kennedy say the province is irresponsible to approve the project without a full environmental assessment, noting potential issues like sea lice and infectious salmon anemia. The pair say they aren't against the project and recognize the economic benefits, but suggest an assessment is necessary before it goes ahead.

Earlier story:

Protesters were outside the Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court of Appeal today (Thursday) demanding Grieg Aquaculture undergo a full environmental impact statement for its Placentia Bay salmon operation, while others support the project.

While some protestors are demanding the impact statement, a group of about 20 people from the Burin Peninsula are in town to advocate for the project and its economic benefit to the region.

This summer the provincial government was ordered by the Newfoundland Supreme Court to get a full environmental impact statement after the Atlantic Salmon Federation went to court seeking a judicial review of the decision, and won.

Government is appealing that decision.

Then-environment minister Perry Trimper gave Grieg the green light to begin its project in 2016.