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Northvolt: environmental groups call for independent environmental assessment

Projet Northvolt: des groupes environnementaux demandent une évaluation environnementale indépendante_crédit_northvolt_lettre ouverte


Montreal and Quebec, January 17, 2024 – The work, which involves the felling of trees and the filling of wetlands, began yesterday morning on the Northvolt site without Quebec having held a real environmental assessment.

However, several environmental groups and citizen groups have called for an independent environmental assessment to be held since the announcement of the establishment of the Northvolt plant in McMasterville and Saint-Basile-le-Grand in October 2023.

An independent environmental assessment and public hearings are essential to protect citizens and the environment. They are also necessary to protect from itself a government that has become judge and party. To do this, it has at its disposal the Office of Public Hearings on the Environment (BAPE), whether through an assessment of this particular project or through a strategic environmental assessment of the entire battery sector.

Without an independent environmental assessment, the government will become a prisoner of the successive concessions it has made to date and who knows how far it will have to go in the face of the many other obstacles that will undoubtedly arise in the future, such as the pumping of water in the habitat of the copper redhorse or the disturbance of the least bittern during the nesting period.

Legitimate criticism of this project comes in particular from a great lack of transparency on the part of the parties involved, since the beginning. Environmental and citizen groups and the media are being denied documents or receiving heavily redacted ones and are getting, at best, incomplete information. The perception that the regulations relating to the environmental assessment of projects have been changed specifically for Northvolt also greatly harms the social acceptability of the project. This is reinforced by the current government's tendency to change the rules surrounding environmental assessments to fast-track certain projects, which undermines public confidence.

An independent environmental assessment is the best way to ensure the protection of the environment and the relevance of projects, and if they are authorized, to carry out projects that meet the standards and to identify if there are realistic solutions to minimize their impacts on the environment. Continuing to avoid an independent environmental assessment could prove to be a costly gamble here.

Signatory groups

  • Quebec Center for Environmental Law (CQDE)
  • Emergency Water
  • Equiterre
  • Fondation Rivières
  • David Suzuki Foundation
  • Quebec common front for ecological waste management (FCQGED)
  • Greenpeace Canada
  • Nature Quebec
  • Climate Reality Project Canada
  • National grouping of regional environmental councils of Quebec (RNCREQ)
  • Quebec Network of Environmental Groups (RQGE)
  • SNAP Quebec

Media contacts:

Quebec Center for Environmental Law (CQDE)
Sophie Turri, Director of Communications
438-979-7951 |

Mathilde Condrain-Morel, Communications Manager
514-605-2000 |

David Suzuki Foundation
Charles Bonhomme, Public Affairs and Communications Manager
438 883-8348 |

Greenpeace Canada
Patrick Bonin, Head of the Climate-Energy campaign
514-594-1221 |

Nature Quebec
Gabriel Marquis, Director of Communications
581-307-8613 |

SNAP Quebec
Charlène Daubenfeld, Director of Communications
514-378-3880 |


Photo: Northvolt

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