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Press release  •  1 min

Energy transition: The government must "change its attitude”

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Montreal, March 18th, 2024 - Environmental groups and local citizen groups are denouncing the Quebec government's harmful approach to industrial development, and are concerned about the implications for compliance with environmental regulations and public consultation mechanisms. The Northvolt project is the most recent example.

All groups are reiterating their demand that the project must be subjected to an environmental assessment process, including a BAPE (Bureau d'audiences publiques sur l'environnement) for the entire mega-battery factory project, in order to restore public confidence and answer the many legitimate questions that are being asked.

They are also concerned about the government's intention, as recently communicated by the Minister of the Environment, to review the modalities of the BAPE.

According to a recent Pallas poll, the public is worried about the government's approach to developing the battery industry. 62% said they were "concerned" or "very concerned" about the impacts of battery development on Quebec's forests, wetlands, farmlands and waterways.

A heavy and harmful trend

Beyond the Northvolt project, the groups are particularly concerned about the government's tendency to weaken environmental regulations and limit opportunities for public consultation. The groups reiterate the importance of respecting the rights of Indigenous peoples, and in particular their right to free, prior and informed consent.

"Northvolt has been the focus of recent attention, but our organizations have denounced numerous other projects throughout Quebec in recent years. Projects that benefitted from shortcuts and flexibilities allowed by this government," say the environmental groups, including Équiterre, the David Suzuki Foundation, Greenpeace, Nature Québec and the Société pour la nature et les parcs (SNAP Québec), citing among others the Loi concernant l’accélération de certains projets d’infrastructure adopted in 2020 for post-pandemic recovery, which is still in force.

Danger for the transition and social dialogue

Our organizations support and are working towards accelerating the energy transition, but the transition must be carried out coherently and in compliance with the law.

"The means chosen for the energy transition must not contribute to worsening the crisis by destroying natural or agricultural environments. These strategic environments, which are becoming increasingly rare, have great economic, social and ecological value and are important to the health and safety of the population.”

"The government must stop taking an uncoordinated, short-sighted approach, making one-off decisions for certain clients. In the long run, this approach has the potential to harm rather than help the transition by polarizing and limiting social dialogue," say the groups.

Respecting democratic processes and taking the time to do things right will help restore public confidence. It will also offer greater predictability, both for the public and for project promoters, whose projects - if deemed environmentally, socially and economically acceptable - will ultimately be improved by respecting the processes.

For more information:

Nature Québec

Gabriel Marquis, Director of Communications ; 581-307-8613


Anthony Côté Leduc, Media Relations ; 514-605-200

Fondation David Suzuki

Charles Bonhomme, Manager, Public Affairs and Communications ; 438-883-8348

Greenpeace Canada

Patrick Bonin, Climate and Energy Campaigner ; 514-594-1221