Cou­ple camp out at Nal­cor to protest Muskrat Falls

The Aurora (Labrador City) - - Editorial -

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.

JOE GIB­BONS/THE TELEGRAM

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.

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