Monday, May 10, 2010

Innu seek to block Romaine hydro project

Innu seek to block Romaine hydro project

Quebec native groups have filed a motion seeking an injunction to block Hydro-Québec's plans to dam the Romaine River in the province's North Shore region.

Electric transmission lines running from the $6.5-billion hydroelectric project near Havre-Saint-Pierre will run through the heart of ancestral lands, Innu leaders of Uashat and Maliotenam said during a news conference in Montreal on Friday.

"It is not a question of money, it is a question of principle and it is also a question of recognition," said council chief Georges-Ernest Grégoire.

"Our community is against this project, our Aboriginal title is threatened and, today, we rely on the courts to stop any development of the territory without our consent. Hydro-Quebec has not left us much choice," he said in a statement.

Despite opposition from environmental groups, the project was approved by Quebec's environmental assessment board in March 2009.

But the Innu community near Sept-Îles said the ruling did not take into account the impact of the power lines.

Hydro-Québec's offer of $4 million in compensation for the 500 kilometres of lines has been rejected by community officials.

The band council's lawyer acknowledged the battle could be a lengthy one.

"Hydro-Québec is arrogant, acts as a colonial power," said James O'Reilly. "The Government of Quebec is extremely arrogant. The Government of Canada runs the other way."The $6.5 billion project on the Romaine River is expected to be completed by 2020.The $6.5 billion project on the Romaine River is expected to be completed by 2020. (CBC)

The utility declined to comment on the injunction on Friday.

Construction on the 1550 MW project was launched in May 2009 and is expected to continue through 2020. The first of four dams is expected to be operational by 2014.

The motion for the injunction will be heard in Quebec Superior Court on July 6.

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Posted By: Anthony Jay Henhawk Jr.
To: Members in First Nations & Aboriginal Rights

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