Nu­natsi­avut still wait­ing on methylmer­cury rec­om­men­da­tions

Pres­i­dent Jo­hannes Lampe says it will soon be too late

The Aurora (Labrador City) - - Saltwire Homes - BY EVAN CA­REEN

The Nu­natsi­avut Gov­ern­ment (NG) sent a let­ter to the Premier three months ago ask­ing when the prov­ince is go­ing to re­spond to the rec­om­men­da­tions of the In­de­pen­dent Ex­pert Ad­vi­sory Com­mit­tee (IEAC) to ad­dress health con­cerns of the Muskrat Falls Project and they have yet to re­ceive a re­ply.

NG pres­i­dent Jo­hannes Lampe told The Labradorian he has fol­lowed up with Premier Dwight Ball by send­ing an­other let­ter and they are con­cerned about the lack of re­sponse.

“We haven’t re­ceived a re­ply or re­sponse on what it is that the prov­ince is go­ing to do be­fore they shut the gates and the wa­ter lev­els will rise up and the project will be com­pleted,” he said. “Ice will come after and again flood­ing within Mud Lake or Happy Val­ley-Goose Bay, that will be­come a con­cern again. We want to make sure that a re­sponse will be given be­fore the project is com­pleted.”

NG has been try­ing to find out if the prov­ince will im­ple­ment the four rec­om­men­da­tions of the IEAC, cre­ated fol­low­ing an agree­ment be­tween area gov­ern­ments Jo­hannes Lampe, pres­i­dent of the Nu­natsi­avut Gov­ern­ment, says they still have not re­ceived a re­ply from the prov­ince on the rec­om­men­da­tions of the In­de­pen­dent Ex­pert Ad­vi­sory Com­mit­tee (IEAC) to ad­dress health con­cerns of the Muskrat Falls Project.

at a marathon meet­ing at Con­fed­er­a­tion Build­ing in St. John’s on Oct. 25, 2016. One of the rec­om­men­da­tions, which did not achieve con­sen­sus among all vot­ing mem­bers, was that Nal­cor En­ergy un­der­take tar­geted re­moval of soil and cap­ping of wet­lands in the fu­ture reser­voir area be­fore im­pound­ment.

With im­pound­ment of the reser­voir com­ing in early 2019, Lampe said they are con­cerned

that the prov­ince will take too long and it will be a moot point. He noted in an in­ter­view with The Labradorian in Au­gust that he be­lieves the prov­ince is de­lib­er­ately drag­ging its feet on the rec­om­men­da­tions un­til it’s too late to im­ple­ment them.

The Labradorian reached out to the De­part­ment of Mu­nic­i­pal Af­fairs and En­vi­ron­ment about the rec­om­men­da­tions and was told in an emailed state­ment a de­ci­sion on the rec­om­men­da­tions should be com­ing soon.

“The Provin­cial Gov­ern­ment has taken the con­cerns re­lated to methylmer­cury as­so­ci­ated with the Muskrat Falls Project very se­ri­ously and is com­mit­ted to en­sur­ing that the health and safety of res­i­dents is pro­tected,” the state­ment read. “The De­part­ment of Mu­nic­i­pal Af­fairs and En­vi­ron­ment con­tin­ues to re­view the IEAC’s fi­nal rec­om­men­da­tions and an­tic­i­pates re­spond­ing to the rec­om­men­da­tions in the near fu­ture.”

The IEAC’s com­mit­tee made four rec­om­men­da­tions in to­tal and the other three were agreed upon by all vot­ing mem­bers. Those were that a pub­lic in­for­ma­tion cam­paign be un­der­taken; an in­de­pen­dent body over­see the de­sign and im­ple­men­ta­tion of a mon­i­tor­ing pro­gram for the Lower Churchill Project; and the prov­ince, Nal­cor En­ergy, Indige­nous groups and the lo­cal pop­u­la­tions ne­go­ti­ate an Im­pact Se­cu­rity Fund prior to full flood­ing.

The com­mit­tee was com­prised of four vot­ing mem­bers — the Innu Na­tion, the Nu­natsi­avut Gov­ern­ment, Nu­natukavut Com­mu­nity Coun­cil and the Af­fected Mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties, as well as non-vot­ing rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the provin­cial and fed­eral gov­ern­ments and Nal­cor. The Innu Na­tion did not agree with the rec­om­men­da­tion that Nal­cor En­ergy un­der­take tar­geted re­moval of soil and cap­ping of wet­lands in the fu­ture reser­voir area be­fore im­pound­ment.

When asked by The Labradorian what the Nu­natsi­avut Gov­ern­ments next step would be if the prov­ince does not im­ple­ment the rec­om­men­da­tions, Lampe said they will not stop.

“We will cer­tainly con­tinue to write let­ters and to make sure that the prov­ince is re­spon­si­ble for ac­tion or in­ac­tion,” he said. “We will not stop look­ing for a re­sponse un­til what we are look­ing for is given to us.”

NG was one of the driv­ing forces be­hind the Make Muskrat Right cam­paign and the sub­se­quent protests in 2016. Lampe was hes­i­tant to say if Nu­natsi­avut would call mem­bers to the picket lines again.

“We did that in Rigo­let and here at the site,” he said, re­fer­ring to the protests. “We were not able to cross and go in but a num­ber of peo­ple crossed the lines and so were is­sued court pa­pers and had to ap­pear be­fore the judge and so it’s a dif­fi­cult is­sue to look at right now.”

EVAN CA­REEN – THE LABRADORIAN

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