Judge or­ders full Grieg Aqua­cul­ture re­view

The Western Star - - Close To Home - BY JAMES MCLEOD SALTWIRE NET­WORK

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.”

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

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