By The Canadian Press on January 24, 2024.
MONTREAL – A Quebec environmental group is in court today against Swedish manufacturer Northvolt, arguing that work on its future electric vehicle battery plant was allowed to begin without proper analysis of the impact on the area’s biodiversity.
The Centre québécois du droit de l’environnement began presenting its case in Quebec Superior Court, where it’s seeking two injunctions to suspend work on the site of the future $7-billion facility southeast of Montreal.
The group’s lawyer presented a number of documents, including one that she described as an assessment from a government biologist who said the information provided by Northvolt was insufficient to evaluate the impact on wildlife on the site.
Lawyer Jessica Leblanc says it was “unreasonable” for the province’s Environment Department to have authorized Northvolt to begin work on the site because it didn’t have enough information on the environmental impacts.
She said the authorization was also given on the condition that Northvolt propose a compensation plan to mitigate the impacts of the biodiversity loss, but that it was given three years to do so.
The company started felling trees on its 170-hectare site, which straddles the municipalities of McMasterville and St-Basile-le-Grand, but stopped late last week after the injunction request was filed by the environmental group and three citizens.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 24, 2024.