Labrador Land Protectors Support the Muskrat Falls Independent Experts Advisory Committee’s Recommendations

The Labrador Land Protectors (LLP) are calling on the NL government to commit to the Independent Expert Advisory Committee’s (IEAC) recommendations for Muskrat Falls.

According to a press release from the LLP, the IEAC has made four recommendations.

The LLP is calling on NL Premier Dwight Ball and NL Minister of Municipal Affairs and Environment Eddie Joyce in particular to commit to the recommendations.

The IEAC was formed as part of an agreement that resulted from actions of the Make Muskrat Right movement in October, 2016, with elected leaders, including Premier Dwight Ball, Nunatsiavut President Johannes Lampe, NunatuKavut President Todd Russell, and Innu Nation Leader Anastasia Qupee, coming to the agreement on October 26, 2016.

The four recommendations include the following:

  • A public information campaign that, based on scientific evidence, current practices related to consumption of country food and water are safe.
  • An independent body to oversee the design and implementation of a monitoring program for the Lower Churchill Project.
  • The Province, Nalcor Energy, Indigenous Groups, and local populations negotiate an Impact Security Fund prior to full flooding.
  • Nalcor Energy undertakes targeted removal of soil and capping of wetlands in the future reservoir area before impoundment (filling of the dam). Three of the four voting members voted in favour of this recommendation; the Innu Nation supported covering the wetlands.

Here is the LLP press release in its entirety:

“In October 2016, Labradorians of all cultures came together under the Make Muskrat Right banner. Clearing the reservoir was paramount to protect the culture and traditional foods downstream from the Muskrat Falls project. Hundreds rallied together in Labrador, St. John’s, Ottawa, and across Turtle Island. Labradorians went on hunger strikes, faced arrests, and occupied the main Muskrat Falls work site to demand justice. This led to a marathon meeting between NL Premier Dwight Ball and the elected Indigenous leaders of Labrador. After 11 hours, they struck an agreement. This agreement ensured that science and traditional knowledge would inform the measures needed to mitigate the methyl mercury contamination from Nalcor’s Lower Churchill hydro project. This led to the creation of the Independent Expert Advisory Committee (IEAC). We must never forget that history. Now, after many months of intense work, the IEAC has brought forward its four recommendations.

It is in honouring this history and the work of the IEAC that the Labrador Land Protectors support the four recommendations. We believe that the NL Government, in particular Minister Eddie Joyce and Premier Dwight Ball, must without any delays commit to all IEAC recommendations. There should be no hesitation, no undue pressure from outside parties or invested partners, and no other opinions needed to make this decision. The IEAC was put together to give government clear direction on how to ensure as little impacts as possible on the food web and way of life of those living downstream in Lake Melville and Rigolet. They have done their work and now Government must do theirs.

We urge the NL Government to honour these recommendations to their entirety as soon as possible. No more time can be used to consider what should be done. All peoples downstream are impacted, not just certain groups. All of us face the consequences of the decisions you make today so we are imploring you to act. Heed the words of the IEAC and complete the tasks that were placed upon you. Finish the agreement that all elected leaders committed to on the evening of October 26, 2016. Honour those who put their lives in harm’s way to ensure the next generations can fully enjoy their culture in central Labrador. We support all four recommendations and expect nothing less from the Government who has forced this project and its risks upon us.

The Labrador Land Protectors continue to have great anxiety and concerns regarding the Muskrat Falls hydro project. Our requests for an independent review of the North Spur have been ignored, leaving our lives at risk every day in the created flood zones. The Public Inquiry does not include culture, environment, and the injustices felt by Labradorians standing up against this project. None of the government actions that have led us to our current situation have honoured the true nature of “Duty to Consult” and “Free, Prior, and Informed Consent” as outlined in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. We will continue to take the necessary actions to protect water, land, lives, and cultures for the next generations of Labradorians.”

-Labrador Land Protectors