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Northvolt began its tree felling work on the site of its future battery cell factory, in Montérégie, before suspending it, while the Court rules on the request for injunction filed by the CQDE and three citizens. (Archive photo)
The Canadian Press
Quebec Superior Court Judge David R. Collier on Friday rejected the request for a provisional interlocutory injunction aimed at the' Northvolt company. The company will therefore be able to resume tree felling work on its land.
The request was filed by the Quebec Environmental Law Center and three citizens.
If there is a public interest in protecting the environment, there is also a public interest in protecting the legal certainty of activities authorized by the public administration, wrote the judge in his decision.
The CQDE lawyers argued that a few months ago, the destruction of wetlands in the same location had been refused within the framework of another project and that ministry experts spoke at the time of the importance of these environments for the region and for biodiversity.
< h3 class="!font-display text-5 xsToSm:text-4 leading-5 font-bold">The battery sector
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The battery sector
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However, according to Judge Collier, it is important to emphasize that the Minister exercises his discretionary power on a case-by-case basis, according to each proposed project and that the law does not provide that the Minister, by refusing to issue an authorization on a given site, binds its discretionary power for the future on this same site.
The judge emphasized that the main reason which led to the refusal of the project in March 2023 was the significant and irreversible damage to wetlands constituting a potential nesting habitat for the least bittern, a threatened bird species. However, the Northvolt project will not encroach on the wetlands which serve as potential habitat for the nesting of the least bittern.
According to the plaintiff, the Ministry of the Environment authorized Northvolt to begin work on the site of the future factory in Montérégie without knowing precisely the impact on biodiversity and without Northvolt presenting a plan for detailed compensation.
She also maintained that the City of Saint-Basile-le-Grand issued a permit for & #x27;felling of trees in Northvolt based on an unreasonable interpretation of the interim control regulation (RCI) of the metropolitan community of Montreal concerning wetlands.
< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">But the burden placed on the plaintiffs is heavy. However, in the opinion of the Court, the plaintiffs have failed to meet this heavy burden. They failed to assert an apparent right that the actions taken by the minister and the municipality were unreasonable on their face. For this reason, their request for a provisional interlocutory injunction will be refused, we can read in the judge's decision.
We will continue the preparatory work today, Northvolt reacted on Friday, recalling that, to move forward, it had to make a rigorous and serious demonstration to experts from the ministry and the City of St. -Basile-le-Grand that his project respected environmental regulations.
Serious studies and analyzes have been carried out and many strict conditions have been met to obtain these permits, also underlined l' ;company.