Massive aquaculture project needs environmental scrutiny
As the province’s Supreme Court considered a challenge on the provincial government’s decision to release Grieg Aquaculture from an additional environmental assessment, NDP Environment Critic Gerry Rogers (MHA, St. John’s Centre) was asking questions in the House of Assembly.
“Grieg’s Aquaculture Project will be the largest in Canadian history, creating much needed jobs for the region. A project this massive requires due diligence to ensure its success and benefits for the people of the province, the economy and the environment,” she said in Question Period. “Experts in the Department of Health, the Fish and Wildlife Division, and the federal DFO all asked the former Minister of Environment to undertake a full Environmental Impact Statement.
“I ask the Premier, with the stakes this high, why did government release this project from a full Environmental Impact Statement against the recommendations of the Minister’s own Assessment Committee?”
Grieg Aquaculture is based in Norway, where regulations are much more stringent. “Would Norway’s regulations permit Grieg to do in their home country, what Grieg is proposing to do here?” she asked.
She also asked for a full Environmental Impact Statement to be conducted. “Will the minister do the right and responsible thing and impose a full EIS for Grieg’s project to protect the investment and ensure the project is environmentally sustainable and will not harm our wild salmon stock?” she asked.
There has been some public discussion about a potential provincial government investment of $45 million for the Norwegian company’s operation. Rogers wonders if that money would come from the recently-announced $100 million federal-provincial fisheries fund that replaced the federal government’s original commitment of $280 million to offset fisheries losses caused by CETA.