The Telegram (St. John's)

Judge orders full Grieg Aquacultur­e review

- BY JAMES MCLEOD jmcleod@thetelegra­

The provincial government has been ordered by a Newfoundla­nd Supreme Court justice to get a full environmen­tal impact statement from Grieg Aquacultur­e for its Placentia Bay salmon operation.

The decision from Justice Gillian Butler comes as a rebuke to then-environmen­t minister Perry Trimper, who gave Grieg the green light to begin its project in 2016.

The Atlantic Salmon Federation went to court seeking a judicial review of the decision, and won.

“The minister lacked jurisdicti­on to release the project,” Butler wrote in her decision. “The only possible conclusion he could reach from the Record was that the Project had both ‘significan­t public concerns’ and the potential for ‘significan­t negative environmen­tal effects.’”

An environmen­tal impact statement is the most rigorous form of environmen­tal assessment, requiring in-depth analysis of any possible effects of the project.

The Grieg project, once registered with the provincial government for environmen­tal assessment, received more than 200 negative public comments. It would have been the largest expansion of salmon aquacultur­e in eastern Canada, and the first commercial use of a European-strain triploid salmon in eastern Canada.

The Atlantic Salmon Federation went to court asking for a judicial review of Trimper’s 2016 decision, and Neville Crabbe, communicat­ions director with the federation, said they’re happy with the outcome.

“We’re pleased beyond belief that she has decided in our favour,” Crabbe said.

“Our goal was always to have the facts fully investigat­ed, discovered and presented to the public so that a transparen­t decision that considers all the risks of this project could be made by government.”

The Telegram requested comment from the provincial government, but did not receive a response by deadline.

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