Couple camp out at Nalcor to protest Muskrat Falls
Matthew and Alicia Della Valle set up camp in St. John’s near Nalcor Energy’s headquarters Monday and plan to be there until Sept. 3 in protest of the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project.
Among their demands are that work be halted on the dam to give the Indigenous and nonindigenous people who live downstream the ability to give their informed consent to the project, and that all civil and criminal charges be dropped against those arrested in the past during occupations in protest of the project.
The couple says they want to unite the people of the province in the fight to get answers and resolve all issues surrounding the Muskrat Falls hydro development.
“In an environment, of a solutions-based approach, of goodwill, and open and honest conversation that solves and gives way to a legally binding agreement that will see all the following issues resolved in the best interests of the people of this province and that the provincial and federal governments fulfill agreements and obligations that have been agreed to in the past,” they stated in a news release, citing support from the Labrador Land Protectors and Free NL.
They said their demands include that Nalcor reverse its refusal to disclose contractor information;
Indigenous rights, and consult Indigenous groups on decisions related to their traditional lands; assurances in writing that no one will be arrested for access to lands constitutionally protected; have an independent that Nalcor respect study completed and an inquiry review of the North Spur; and to immediately implement the
findings of a study conducted by Harvard University in 2016.
They want complete or partial removal of topsoil, trees and vegetation from the reservoir area, and the capping of the wetlands to prevent the bioaccumulation of a severely debilitating neurotoxin known as methylmercury.
They also want a rate migration plan from Nalcor, Newfoundland Power, Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro, and the provincial and federal governments, and they want the Public Utilities Board be the overseer of that plan.
The couple also wants Nalcor, as a Crown corporation, overhauled or disbanded and a new transparent corporation established.
In a statement to The Telegram, Nalcor said it is aware of a protest occurring at Hydro Place, and will not ask the couple to leave as long as the protest is peaceful.
“Consistent with Nalcor’s values, we respect the public’s desire to voice their opinions and provide for a safe opportunity for peaceful protest on Nalcor and NL Hydro property, as long as it’s done in a peaceful and safe manner.
“We understand and appreciate the public’s right to protest, but safety is our number one priority. It is critical that we ensure a safe work environment for our employees, contractors and protesters,” Nalcor stated.
Matthew Valle and his wife, Alicia Della, at their campsite protesting the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project, Monday on the corner of Captain Whalen Drive and the entrance leading into Nalcor Energy in St. John’s.