New battery plant will pave over important wetlands says Mohawk council

The Mohawk Council of Kahnawake is denouncing Quebec and the federal government over a proposed battery plant outside Montreal.

The plant is being built on a wetland that the council, and environmental groups say, is important and that neither government has been transparent about the project.

“Right now, what we are deeply concerned about is the fact neither Quebec, the Quebec government nor the federal government reached out to us in terms of any kind of meaningful consultation on the project,” said Chief Ross Montour.

The $7 billion project was announced in September and will produce electric car batteries. Construction began in January after receiving approval from the provincial government.

Montour said the council only had one meeting about the plant.

“They attempted to have one consultation with us where they said they did not have a duty to consult. I am sorry but I said I am not sorry, ‘you guys are behaving like pimps,’” said Montour.

Quebec and the federal government are investing $2.7 billion towards construction of the factory which is expected to be complete by the end of 2026.

Marc-André Viau, director of government relations with the Environmental group Equiterre, said the lack of transparency has eroded public trust in the government.

“We’re not here today to oppose the project, it’s to ask the government to stop playing games with environmental regulations and with public consultation mechanisms as it sees fit,” he said.

“What the government has done is to create a regulation so that the company is not subject to the public consultation mechanism of the Environmental Public Hearing Office. So the company doesn’t have to present all the documents publicly.”

Another group, the Quebec Environmental Law Centre sought, unsuccessfully, an injunction against the project.

The Mohawk council has filed a lawsuit with Quebec’s Suprioer Court to demand orders requiring both levels of government to engage in consultation.

“Right now, there is a mediator that has been appointed who formally functioned as a lawyer and is now a judge so we will be looking at discussing the merits of our motion,” said Montour. “There is a case management way and then we will see down the road whether or not there is further action to take.”

Quebec’s environment ministry did not provide a comment before this story was posted.

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