There’s been a lot of talk about Northvolt in recent months. Because this battery plant project had no environmental assessment or public consultation, the debate has snowballed and people are up in arms. And rightly so.
But let's go to the root of the problem. The Quebec government weakened regulations in order to exempt the Northvolt project from certain public participation mechanisms. It has done so for dozens of other projects as well, especially for highway extensions, and will continue to do so unless we make it stop.
Nothing can justify expediting development at the expense of the environment. Nothing can justify depriving Quebecers of public consultations.
Major decisions - with far-reaching consequences for the future of Quebec society - are currently being discussed behind closed doors.
The government has grand aspirations of industrial development, propelled by Quebec’s renewable energy. Through a green economy branding lens, it sounds good... But we need to be careful because there are some major issues at stake.
At a time when a large number of industrial projects are on Minister Fitzgibbon's desk, and given that our production capacity is limited, the fact that the government is weakening our environmental protection and public consultation mechanisms is extremely concerning.
Équiterre is of course in favour of the energy transition, but not at any cost. Not without public consultation. Not without environmental assessment. And above all, not without a coherent long term vision, an energy strategy and an industrial strategy, aligned with democratic principles.
The Quebec government must do better for the environment, in a more consistent, transparent, participatory and responsible way. We must demand it.
Le gouvernement doit respecter nos mécanismes de participation publique et de protection de l’environnementTell the government