OTTAWA - Today, the Green Party of Canada expresses deep concern about the Northvolt battery plant project, which involves construction on a heavily contaminated site along the Richelieu River. The party stresses the risks associated with the lack of a proper environmental assessment, and calls for immediate action to ensure environmental protection.
During construction of the plant, which would involve moving large quantities of soil, there is a high risk that contaminants from the soil will seep into the water table and poison watercourses. This poses a serious threat to local wildlife, including two endangered species, the copper redhorse and the St. Lawrence beluga whale.
"The announcement of $1.37 billion in federal funding for the Northvolt project raises major concerns about the environmental impact on the Richelieu River and its ecosystems," says Leader Elizabeth May. "We urge the federal government to order public environmental assessment hearings to ensure transparency and protect our natural resources."
The Green Party of Canada points out that the Northvolt plant site, inherited from Canadian Industries Limited (CIL), is contaminated by a variety of hazardous substances, including hydrocarbons, cadmium, chromium and phenolic compounds. The potential implications of this contamination for the health of the Richelieu and St. Lawrence rivers underscore the need for a thorough assessment.
"Protecting our rivers and ecosystems is an absolute priority," emphasizes Deputy Leader Jonathan Pedneault. "We call on Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault to work with François-Philippe Champagne to ensure that the Northvolt project meets the highest environmental standards. It's absolutely ridiculous to hear them say that because it's a Swedish company, it will do a good job of respecting the environment. Reputation is not a substitute for reality. You don't need an IKEA manual to figure that out. The government is offering neatly packaged promises instead of the environmental assessment that is needed.
"The argument that this is a project that will save the environment simply doesn't hold water when you consider the risks involved in building this plant."
"When the federal government invests taxpayers' money in infrastructure, the federal Environmental Assessment Act requires it to assess and prevent the environmental impacts of its actions," notes Daniel Green, the Green Party's critic on environmental issues. "Especially since the fish of the Richelieu River and the belugas of the St. Lawrence are protected by the federal Fisheries Act and the federal Species at Risk Act."
The Green Party of Canada reaffirms its commitment to environmental protection and insists on the need for a thorough environmental assessment of the Northvolt project.
For more information or to arrange an interview :
Fabrice Lachance Nové