The court dispute is over the government's green-light grant to Northvolt to allow its battery cell mega-factory to cut down trees and encroach on wetlands on the land. The Quebec Environmental Law Center (CQDE) would like to discuss the issue in summary, although the work is moving quickly.
The company confirmed its intentions in a 24-page motion filed Feb. 9 in Quebec's Superior Court. Its content essentially repeats the arguments of its request for a moratorium – which was denied – last month that the CQDE wanted to stop the work it had started in Montérégie a month ago.
According to the complainants, the Minister of Environment, Combating Climate Change, Wildlife and Parks (MELCCFP) has given carte blanche by granting ministerial authority to Northvolt to carry out preparatory work, as it is not at hand. Company commitments in terms of compensation for damage to natural environments.
The Minister has not completed the information research process before he can make an informed decision.
Extract from request
This request from the CQDE also questions the validity of the felling permit issued by Saint-Basile-le-Grand.
On a 170-hectare site spanning Saint-Basile-le-Grand and McMasterville, the first phase of preparatory work will involve the felling of around 14,000 living or dead trees. The project will mainly affect 13 hectares of wetlands. The site – once the site of a Canadian Industries Ltd explosives factory – is, among other things, a nesting site for the least bittern, a bird considered a vulnerable species, whose presence has been discovered three times.
In exchange for a green light from the MELCCFP, the Swedish company undertook to “create”, “restore” or “conserve” natural environments in the region, covering 30 to 50 hectares – the size of 90 football fields.
CQDE and Northvolt lawyers are due back in court on March 15. However, at that date the approach could not be debated on its merits. This means that by the time the court's verdict comes, the preparatory work is likely to be well advanced.
In the meantime, the company may return to the charge by filing an interlocutory injunction, hoping to suspend work pending a hearing on the merits. CQDE's intention on this matter was not known on Monday.
In a statement, Northvolt indicated that its lawyers would present their arguments in court, saying it would not comment on a legal case.
- 2.75 billion
- Amount offered by Quebec and Ottawa to finance construction of Northvolt Quebec factory
- 4.6 billion
- Maximum amount of product subsidies offered to a company by both levels of government.