Grieg ap­peal re­jected by New­found­land and Labrador gov­ern­ment

Depart­ment of En­vi­ron­ment main­tains the en­vi­ron­men­tal as­sess­ment for the project was ‘ro­bust,’ amid con­cerns from ad­vo­cates

The Southern Gazette - - Front Page - BY DAVID MA­HER BUSI­NESS ST. JOHN’S, N.L. david.ma­[email protected]­gram.com

The pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment has dis­missed another ap­peal of the Grieg NL Pla­cen­tia Bay Aqua­cul­ture Project, this time from the At­lantic Salmon Fed­er­a­tion.

The ap­peal was based on three pri­mary grounds: that the en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact state­ment (EIS) re­ceived in May was “pa­tently de­fi­cient,” that the min­is­ter could not ac­cept a de­fi­cient EIS and that the min­is­ter could not re­lease a project from en­vi­ron­men­tal as­sess­ment if the EIS was not up to par.

In a let­ter dated Nov. 23, the Depart­ment of Mu­nic­i­pal Af­fairs and En­vi­ron­ment out­lined its rea­son­ing for re­ject­ing the At­lantic Salmon Fed­er­a­tion’s ap­peal.

The fed­er­a­tion as­serted that the eval­u­a­tion of po­ten­tial en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pacts was not “rig­or­ous, rea­son­able, bal­anced or trans­par­ent” and there­fore could not have reached rea­son­able con­clu­sions.

The Depart­ment of En­vi­ron­ment, in a let­ter signed by Min­is­ter Gra­ham Letto, as­serts that the le­gal process was “strictly fol­lowed,” and had a “rig­or­ous eval­u­a­tion of po­ten­tial im­pacts.”

The At­lantic Salmon Fed­er­a­tion fur­ther raised con­cerns about the fol­low-up en­vi­ron­men­tal mon­i­tor­ing pro­grams for the project.

The depart­ment’s let­ter cites more than three dozen stud­ies of wildlife im­pacts, so­cio-eco­nomic im­pacts, ice dy­namic stud­ies, and ocean cur­rent stud­ies cited in the de­vel­op­ment of the project.

The let­ter out­lines eight ar­eas that fu­ture en­vi­ron­men­tal ef­fects mon­i­tor­ing plans will fol­low, in­clud­ing the per­for­mance of the sea cages, in­ter­ac­tions of es­caped farmed salmon and wild salmon, and wa­ter qual­ity at the hatch­ery. The depart­ment states the gov­ern­ment will also mon­i­tor the plans sub­mit­ted by Grieg. The com­pany will have to pub­licly re­port on its en­vi­ron­men­tal mon­i­tor­ing an­nu­ally.

The depart­ment fi­nally as­serts that the en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact state­ment of the Greig de­vel­op­ment was “sub­jected to a ro­bust ex­am­i­na­tion, in­clud­ing scru­tiny by a fed­er­al­provin­cial en­vi­ron­men­tal as­sess­ment com­mit­tee.”

“The min­is­ter at the time (Perry Trimper) was of the opin­ion, based on all the in­for­ma­tion pre­sented to him, that the EIS was not de­fi­cient, and I agree with his po­si­tion on that,” reads the let­ter from the depart­ment.

Based on the depart­ment’s de­ci­sion that the en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact state­ment and en­su­ing de­ci­sion by the min­is­ter

The depart­ment fi­nally as­serts that the en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact state­ment of the Greig de­vel­op­ment was “sub­jected to a ro­bust ex­am­i­na­tion, in­clud­ing scru­tiny by a fed­er­al­provin­cial en­vi­ron­men­tal as­sess­ment com­mit­tee.”

was ac­cept­able, it dis­missed the At­lantic Salmon Fed­er­a­tion’s ap­peal.

The Pla­cen­tia Bay aqua­cul­ture project will see a hatch­ery lo­cated in the north­ern part of Pla­cen­tia Bay. By Year 8, the project is ex­pected to pro­duce seven mil­lion salmon per year. A hatch­ery for the project will be lo­cated at the Marys­town Marine In­dus­trial Park, while the ocean-based farms will be in Pla­cen­tia Bay.

Con­cerns over the es­cape of farmed salmon were ex­ac­er­bated in re­cent months af­ter Cooke Aqua­cul­ture’s sea farms on the province’s south coast saw be­tween 2,000 and 3,000 farmed salmon es­cape in Au­gust. The es­cape was at­trib­uted to hu­man er­ror, and not the fail­ure of equip­ment.

PAUL HERRIDGE – THE SOUTH­ERN GAZETTE

Work is un­der­way at the fu­ture site of Grieg NL’s At­lantic salmon hatch­ery in Marys­town’s marine in­dus­trial park.

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