Environmental groups launch court challenge over Lower Churchill hydroelectric project

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Canada 3/20/12 (PennWell) — The 3,064-MW Lower Churchill hydroelectric project is under fire from environmental groups just days after receiving approval from the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency.

According to a press release issued by the Sierra Club Canada, “the Government of Canada’s endorsement of the Lower Churchill Generation Project  is unlawful and will be challenged in the Federal Court.”

The Sierra Club — in conjunction with Grand Riverkeeper Labrador Inc. — has filed a judicial review application with the Federal Court on grounds that the initial environmental assessment is incomplete. The groups are being represented by Ecojustice.

As such, the review application seeks to block the government from issuing any permits or financial guarantees to project owner Nalcor Energy until the assessment is completed “in full”. It also asks the court to overturn the federal government’s endorsement of the project.

“We want the panel to finish the job it was tasked to do, and until that happens, we believe the federal government does not have the legal right to support the project with permits or funding,” says Lara Tessaro, Ecojustice staff lawyer.

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Environmental groups band together to expedite dam removal

A coalition of environmental groups that are not satisfied with the pending plan to remove four dams on the Klamath River in Oregon and California are proposing legislation they say will expedite the process.

The coalition, called the Klamath Conservation Partners, has drafted legislation that separates the plan to remove the dams from another plan that includes provisions to restore the river basin and to improve fish habitat.

The existing legislation is called the Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement.

The coalition wants a plan for removal of the dams to be submitted to congress by 2012, which is eight years earlier than originally proposed.

An agreement to remove the dams from the river in Southern Oregon and Northern California is expected to be signed next month.

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