Panel calls on Province to Reject Inco's Advanced Infrastructure Bid

Saul Chernos (schernos@freenet.toronto.on.ca)
Tue, 17 Jun 1997 16:14:12 -0400 (EDT)


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Forwarded by Saul Chernos schernos@torfree.net

---------- Forwarded message ---------- Date: Tue, 17 Jun 1997 16:24:24 -0400 From: Larry Innes <innuenv@web.net> To: INNU-L@YORKU.CA Subject: Panel calls on Province to Reject Inco's Advanced Infrastructure Bid

<bigger><bigger>Panel calls on Province to Reject Inco's Advanced Infrastructure<fontfamily><param>Geneva</param> Bid

</fontfamily></bigger></bigger><fontfamily><param>Geneva</param>===================================================

The Panel reviewing the Voisey's Bay Project called on the province to reject the Voisey's Bay Nickel Company's bid to build a road and airstrip at the Voisey's Bay site this summer.

In a letter to the Presidents of the Innu Nation and the Labrador Inuit Association, and the Ministers of Environment for Canada and Newfoundland, Panel Chair Leslie Griffiths stated:

<paraindent><param>right,right,left,left</param>"Many people in the communities we visited made it clear that they would view the approval of the Exploration Support Works as a signal that the Undertaking is going ahead, regardless of the current environmental review process. While the Voisey's Bay Nickel Company has tried to draw a distinction between their Exploration Support Works and the proposed Undertaking, it was obvious to the Panel that residents in adjacent communities see little if any difference between the environmental impacts of the airstrip and road proposed in the Exploration Support Works document and those of the airstrip and road proposed in the "Description of the Undertaking" (Schedule 2 of the MOU) that continue to be the subject of Panel's deliberations.

If approval were given to the Exploration Support Works, the Panel believes that the credibility of the review process would be called into question and that some communities or individuals would discontinue their participation. This would obviously damage the Panel's ability to carry out an effective and timely review of the Undertaking."

</paraindent>The Innu Nation welcomes the Panel's intervention into this matter. The Innu Nation and the Labrador Inuit Association fought earlier attempts by the Voisey's Bay Nickel Company, a subsidiary of Inco, to proceed with construction at the site, and successfully negotiated a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Canada and Newfoundland which was intended to ensure a single, comprehensive environmental review of the Voisey's Bay Project. The MOU provides for a more rigourous examination of the issues associated with this project than would be the case under Canada or Newfoundland's EA legislation, and defines a more appropriate and accessible process for Innu and Inuit participation in the examination of the full scope of environmental, cultural and social effects which may result from the large large nickel mine that is being proposed on Innu and Inuit land.

Despite the fact that the assessment process is well underway, and that last fall, the company itself agreed that the entire project-including the infrastructure-should be subject to a comprehensive environmental review, Voisey's Bay Nickel has now submitted a separate registration for the infrastructure under the provincial environmental assessment process on 21 May 1997. They have reversed their deci arguing that their proposed infrastructure was not contemplated or included in the mine/mill project that was submitted under the current environmental assessment process being conducted under the MOU. According to the company, this new infrastructure proposal is merely intended to support advanced exploration activities by providing improved access to the site. However, the proposed road and airstrip are to be located in the same locations and are only slightly smaller than the permanent road and airstrip being assessed under the MOU!

The Innu Nation believes that Voisey's Bay Nickel is once again attempting to undermine the environmental assessment process and the work of the Environmental Review Panel under the MOU in order to accelerate the development of the mine and meet their ambitious production objectives. Innu objectives, which include the settlement of a land rights agreement with government, the conclusion of an impact-benefits agreement with the company, and the completion of a comprehensive environmental assessment of the environmental and social impacts of the project are being undermined by Inco's desire for quick profits.

Support the Innu Nation's fight against the advanced infrastructure proposal and the fragmentation of the comprehensive environmental review process by:

1) Writing to the Newfoundland Minister of the Environment, Mr. Kevin Aylward, and the Canadian Minister of the Environment, Mr. Sergio Marchi, urging them to maintain the integrity of the current comprehensive panel review of the Voisey Bay project. Ask them to reject any attempts by the company to undermine the assessment process.

Hon. Kevin Aylward

Minister of the Environment

Confederation Building

PO Box 8700

St. John's, NF A1B 4J6

tel: (709) 729-2574

fax: (709) 729-1930

Hon. Christine Stewart

Minister of the Environment

Terrace de la Chaudiere

10 Wellington St.

Hull, PQ K1A 0H3

tel: (819) 997-1441

fax: (819) 953-3457

2) Submit public comments on the 21 May 1997 registration of "Exploration Support Works"filed by Voisey's Bay Nickel under the Newfoundland <italic>Environmental Assessment Act.</italic> Call for a rejection of the registration on the basis that it accepting it would violate the terms and conditions of Newfoundland's participation in the MOU, which requires a single, comprehensive assessment of the entire project-including the road and airstrip described in the May 1997 Registration.

To be formally considered, your comments must be submitted to the Newfoundland Minister of the Environment, Kevin Aylward, no later NO LATER than 21 June 1997. Comments may be sent by fax.

3) Calling, writing or faxing the Voisey's Bay Nickel Company and Inco to express your concerns:

Dr. Steward Gendron

President

Voisey's Bay Nickel Co.

Suite 700, 10 Fort William Place

St. John's NF A1C 6K3

tel: (709) 758-8888

fax: (709) 758-8899

Mr. Michael Sopko

President and CEO

Inco Limited

145 King St. W, Suite 1500

Toronto, ON MS4 4B7

tel: (416) 361-7511

fax: (416) 361-7782

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Innu Nation

PO Box 119

Sheshatshiu, Labrador A0P 1M0

tel: (709) 497-8398 fax: (709) 497-8396

internet:: innumine@web.apc.org

PO Box 13

Davis Inlet, Labrador A0P 1A0

tel: (709) 478-8943 fax: (709) 478-8833

www: http://www.web.net/~innu

</fontfamily> Larry Innes Visit the Innu Nation WWW site:

Environmental Advisor http://www.web.net/~innu

Innu Nation

P.O. Box 119, Sheshatshiu, Labrador, Canada A0P 1M0

phone: (709) 497-8398 email: innuenv@web.net fax: (709) 497-8396

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