Fundy fishermen file court challenge on tidal turbines

NS Environment Minister Margaret Miller

NS Environment Minister Margaret Miller

The Bay of Fundy Inshore Fisherman’s Association is challenging the provincial government’s decision to allow deployment of two tidal turbines in the Minas Passage near Parrsboro, N.S.

The Association filed a formal application with the Nova Scotia Supreme Court yesterday requesting a judicial order to set aside or quash last month’s decision by Margaret Miller, the provincial environment minister, authorizing installation of the turbines.

On June 20, Miller’s department issued a news release in which she is quoted as saying: “If we are to advance our collective knowledge of the turbines’ impact on our fish and marine mammals, demonstration turbines need to be in the water.”

However, in its court application, the fisherman’s association says Miller failed to consider evidence that the turbines may harm ocean wildlife species. It also makes a number of other claims including:

  • there is no adequate monitoring program in place to assess the cumulative effects of the turbines
  • the minister failed to consider historical data as well as data from fishermen and weir operators about species located at or near the test site
  • she disregarded environmental concerns expressed by the public, aboriginal people as well as the fishermen themselves and,
  • the minister failed to follow the Nova Scotia Environment Act’s requirement to apply the precautionary principle and to maintain environmental protection as essential to the integrity of ecosystems.

David Coles, the Dartmouth lawyer who filed the application on behalf of the fishermen, says the association has met with Cape Sharp Tidal, the company that plans to install two, 2MW turbines sometime this year.

Coles adds the fishermen are hoping to reach agreement with the company on environmental and economic issues without having to go to court, but had to file their application now to meet the required deadline for challenging the minister’s decision.

If the court application does go forward, the next step will happen on August 25th when a judge is expected to sort out procedural matters and set a date for a hearing.

Sarah Dawson, who speaks for Cape Sharp Tidal, said in an e-mail that the company does not comment on legal matters. She added that Cape Sharp is continuing to consult with people concerned about the turbines and has no timeline on when the first turbine might be going into the water.

The five-storey, 1,000 tonne machine is at a pier in Halifax Harbour as preparations continue for its deployment in the Minas Passage.

To read the Fisherman’s Association NS Supreme Court application and the environmental monitoring conditions imposed on the Cape Sharp Tidal project click, Amended Notice of Application.

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4 Responses to Fundy fishermen file court challenge on tidal turbines

  1. Wowa! I can not recall a more ridiculous chain of events surrounding a project for many a time! In this case both sides are wrong wrong wrong! FIRST, the government and tidal project outfit are in cahoots to jam this macguiver of an unworkable, over priced and doomed to failure mechanical nightmare worthy only of a page in a comic book, down our throats as we all gag on the astronomical costs to us the taxpayer, while, just like “heavy water” it will never yield a single electron into the public power grid…which is itself another black hole of cash as it pursuies a copper hydro link from Newfoundland!! This thing is a white elephant from the get-go! Then the government side conveniently forgets all the rules and laws regarding implementing such a project…such as advance checking with the fishers and First Nations peoples. Stephen McNeil must still have his head stuck inside a toaster! SECONDLY the, “were gonna stand in the way ” attitudes of the opponents shows also once again that they are of the camp that believes that no animal should be killed for food, that every tree has a life that cannot be destroyed, and that every fish in the sea must be reserved for their profit but not potentially harmed by any other man made object. I suggest they take a trip to Rio and take a look at the water quality there and then maybe they would realize how lucky they are to have clean water to fish in and that two turbines here are not going to make a fish shredder for the planet! BOTH sides here are wrong and both sides will join together in the end as mutual loosers!

  2. Ron Shaw says:

    It’s interesting that no one has mentioned the effects fishing draggers cause to the bottom of the bay!

  3. Robert Halliday says:

    Ron Shaw a fish dragged does not drag the bottom the net is above bottom . A scallop dragged drags it’s gear on the bottom. The scallops have to be dragged because it keeps them from smothered .I bet if your living came from fishing you look at it different. Mother nature been around for thousands of years and dragging has not hurt fish. Live yet. You put in the turbines that will kill everything .

  4. Dilly MacFarlane says:

    There is enough science on both sides to support an agreeable outcome for all. There has been adequate opportunity for all affected to voice their concerns….obviously still ongoing, but nearing completion of the process. Goodwill and inclusion and scientific facts will guide the process of law here. We need to take care of our environment, but that also includes the contaminated air we breathe, and ever-encroaching global warming now exacerbated by fossil fuel produced electricity. Cool heads prevailing, we could all be winners here! The greater good is what it’s all about.

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