March 4th, 2024

Quebec environmental group denied court injunction against Northvolt EV battery plant

By The Canadian Press on January 26, 2024.

A Quebec Superior Court judge has refused to grant an injunction to halt tree cutting and other preparatory work at the site of a future electric vehicle facility southeast of Montreal. Security guards the entrance to the construction site of the new EV battery plant, Northvolt, in Saint-Basile-le-Grand, east of Montreal, Quebec, Friday, Jan. 19, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christinne Muschi

MONTREAL – A Quebec Superior Court judge has refused to grant an injunction to halt tree cutting and other preparatory work at the site of a future electric vehicle facility east of Montreal.

Justice David Collier said today that the environmental group and the citizens who were seeking the order did not meet the high bar of evidence to show the province’s Environment Department and a municipality acted unreasonably in granting Northvolt a permit.

The Centre québécois du droit de l’environnement had sought an injunction suspending work on the 170-hectare site, arguing that the province allowed work to begin without proper analysis of the impact on the area’s biodiversity.

They also argued that the town of St-Basile-le-Grand – where the facility is to be partly located – gave a permit to cut down trees based on an “unreasonable interpretation” of rules protecting wetlands.

Collier wrote in his decision that governments have wide discretion when it comes to making decisions, and the court can only invalidate them in very limited circumstances.

He said the plaintiffs failed to demonstrate that the province was abdicating its responsibility or giving Northvolt a “blank cheque” to build the factory without a plan to remediate the environmental impacts.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2024.

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