NationTalk: (Kahnawake – 23, Tsothohrhkó:wa – The Mohawk Council of Kahnawà:ke (MCK) wishes to inform the community that a lawsuit has been filed with the Quebec Superior Court to demand orders requiring the provincial and federal governments to engage in consultation with the Mohawks of Kahnawà:ke regarding the Northvolt battery plant project in the Montérégie region.
Works to fill wetlands at the project site have been suspended since last week, when an NGO (non-governmental organization) and three citizens filed a request for an injunction to halt the works.
The MCK is seeking a declaration that both Quebec and Canada have breached the duty to consult, both with respect to their decisions to fund the project and, in the case of Quebec, by authorizing the destruction of wetlands without completing consultation. The MCK is also challenging the legislation that governs work in wetlands, arguing that these laws fail to consider, let alone respect, Indigenous rights.
“This situation fails on all levels by Canada, Quebec, and the project proponents,” stated Indigenous Rights and Research Portfolio Lead Ross Montour. “As dictated by our traditional responsibilities to act as stewards to the environment and our obligations to protect it through the Ohén:ton Karihwatéhkwen, we are not prepared to let this decision go unchallenged.”
The Northvolt plant development is taking place on a site with a high diversity of habitats and wildlife within a region that is primarily agricultural and urban. The site contains some of the highest quality wetlands in the region. Wetlands are essential ecosystems, serving as critical habitat for fauna and flora, and providing multiple ecosystem services such as cleaning water, storing carbon, and retaining and redistributing water during major storm events, helping to prevent flooding.
“Given the importance of wetlands to our environment and their role in helping to mitigate the effects of climate change, we fully support the decision to file this lawsuit,” added Director of the Kahnawà:ke Environment Protection Office, Benjamin Green-Stacey. “Additionally, failure to mitigate the effects of this construction will result in the senseless loss of many species at risk in the area.”
For further information and details on environmental impacts, a link to some Frequently Asked Questions can be viewed here.
The MCK will keep the community informed of any developments on this matter.
Political Press Attaché
450- 632-7500 ext. 63251