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Fitzgibbon attacks Northvolt media coverage again

Photo: Christine Muschi The Canadian Press The Minister of Economy and Energy, Pierre Fitzgibbon

The Minister of Economy and Energy, Pierre Fitzgibbon, once again denounced, on Tuesday, the media coverage of the Northvolt battery factory project planned in Montérégie.

In front of an audience of business people to whom he was speaking, in Quebec, Mr. Fitzgibbon returned to the charge for a second time in eight days.

“It happened to me to denounce a certain form of journalists, activist journalists,” he declared. People who want to make up stories should write novels. Activists should publish essays. »

On February 19, in an open letter published by La Presse, Mr. Fitzgibbon attacked “certain activists and certain equally militant journalists” who maintain an unhealthy distrust of the $7 billion project, emphasizing that “the silent majority” is in favor of it.

Mr. Fitzgibbon addressed the controversy sparked by the government's decision to establish a regulatory threshold that exempts the Northvolt project from independent review of its impacts by the Bureau d'audiences publique sur l'environnement (BAPE).

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“I can assure you that there was no grand conspiracy to benefit Northvolt,” he said. Some journalists and opposition parties claim that the rules were changed so that Northvolt could avoid a BAPE. I hope you understand that this is completely false. »

Mr. Fitzgibbon acknowledged that his government has set a standard that ensures that Northvolt's cathode production of 56,000 metric tons exempts the company from having to submit to a BAPE.

“It’s true that the BAPE threshold for cathode production is higher than that for Northvolt production,” he said.

Battery factories are covered by a provision which sets the threshold of liability at an annual production capacity of 60,000 tonnes.

Rules created

In a press briefing following his speech, Mr Fitzgibbon said the government could have chosen a different threshold than 60,000 tonnes.

“It could have been 75,000, actually it could have been 100,000,” he told reporters.

According to the minister, this regulation is new and cannot be compared to what was established before.

“The rules were not changed, they were created,” he clarified.

Last week, Mr. Fitzgibbon had already had the opportunity to assert that the land which will host the Northvolt mega-factory is not “the Garden of Eden”.

By rising to the podium on Tuesday where he addressed this group of business people gathered by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Quebec, in a hotel in the borough of Sainte-Foy, Mr. Fitzgibbon from the outset warned his audience that he would address the issue of the work of journalists towards the end of his speech.

He then highlighted in passing the publication of a survey showing that the local population is in favor of the project as well as its examination by the BAPE.

“I have the opportunity here to express myself for more than 45 seconds. So bear with me a little while I tell you the story, how things really happened,” he continued freely for about 4 minutes 30 seconds.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116