NGO Takes Newfoundland Government to Court Over Grieg's Environmental Pass

Above: Little Harbour East on Placentia Bay, NL


Apr. 19, 2017

NGO Takes Newfoundland Government to Court Over Griegís Environmental Pass

Govít defends its decision to release Grieg Aquaculture from Environmental Assessment without an Environmental Impact Statement

The Atlantic Salmon Federation's (ASF) court challenge to the government of Newfoundland and Labrador regarding its decision to release Grieg Aquaculture from Environmental Assessment (EA) will continue in Supreme Court on April 17.

This is the first time that a decision made by a Newfoundland and Labrador Minister of Environment to release a project from EA has been challenged in court. Perry Trimper made his decision to release Grieg's aquaculture proposal for Placentia Bay from EA without requiring an Environmental Preview Report (EPR) or an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) in August 2017.

The plaintiffs are Owen Myers, a practicing lawyer and ASF. They said that "open net pen salmon aquaculture has been determined to have significant negative impacts on wild Atlantic salmon including gene pollution through interbreeding between escaped farm salmon and wild salmon and also disease and sea lice transmission to wild salmon populations.

"SCNL -Salmonid Council of Newfoundland and Labrador (SCNL), the Regional Council for the ASF in Newfoundland and Labrador] feels that the NL government is rushing headlong into old-tech marine net-pen aquaculture without providing sufficient protection for either wild salmon or the marine environment," said SCNL Vice President Leo White.

"In doing so it is losing a chance to do aquaculture properly. Other jurisdictions like Norway are developing and embracing new technology based on closed containment systems."

The case is being tried in NL Supreme Court. Grieg also has standing in the case and a full day has been set aside to hear from Grieg and Government.

According to White, "the issue for the case is not whether Grieg's project should be approved and built as proposed by Grieg but whether or not Minister Trimper was acting properly within his discretion in making his decision."

ASF has argued that Grieg did not register the entire project, a practice known as project splitting and that the Minister used his discretion to defeat the purpose of the Act.