Fundy fishermen lose court challenge to tidal turbines

Cape Sharp turbine on deployment barge

A Nova Scotia Supreme Court judge has ruled that the provincial environment minister acted reasonably when she approved plans for the installation of two Cape Sharp tidal turbines in the Minas Passage, near Parrsboro.

The Bay of Fundy Inshore Fishermen’s Association sought to overturn the minister’s decision partly on the grounds that the government did not have enough baseline scientific information to measure potential adverse effects on marine species and their habitats.

But in her ruling released today, Madame Justice Heather Robertson wrote it appeared to her that “extraordinary efforts have been made to evaluate risk.”

She also sided with lawyers for Cape Sharp Tidal Inc. and the provincial government who argued that it’s necessary to get turbines into the water in order to measure their effects.

“It is in fact essential that the demonstration turbines actually operate to understand the risk and environmental impacts,” the judge wrote.

She dismissed the fishermen’s argument that the environment minister failed to follow the precautionary principle in response to scientific uncertainty about potential harm. She pointed to the “careful monitoring, study and reporting” required by the government, adding that these are consistent with the precautionary principle.

Madame Justice Robertson said it is not the court’s role to evaluate the science behind the tidal project and that the government’s review of the science was thorough and reasonable.

“The fact is this is a demonstration project to explore tidal power electrical generation in a climate of significant public interest in diminishing our province’s dependence on fossil fuels,” the judge concluded. “The project has not been undertaken lightly and follows rigorous ongoing evaluation. The Minister of the Environment is entitled to the deference of this court, in making these very reasonable decisions.”

The judge heard the case on February 1st. To read Warktimes coverage of that hearing click here.

For the latest on Cape Sharp’s decision to pull the turbine from the water for repairs, click here.

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2 Responses to Fundy fishermen lose court challenge to tidal turbines

  1. marke says:

    It took Justice Robertson two months to make this decision? No wonder there’s such a backlog in the courts!

  2. Indeed unfortunate that the voices in the wilderness (fisher-men’s voices) were again a cry in the dark as the junction between the legislative (gov of the day) and judicial (judges appointed by the gov) are fully apparent and we the people (the voters) are left to urinate in the wind if we object to the combined course set out by these two apparently mutually inclusive bodies. Maybe the US system of “separation of powers” (legislative-executive-judiciary) should be more followed here as this massive waste of time and effort to pour money into the tides of the Bay of Fundy provides a way for those on the inside to get rich on the public purse in the name of providing electricity to 500 homes! This is all hype and at the astronomical and growing costs as these monoliths are built, transported, sunk and then only to fail and need to be raised and reworked and on and on…it will only end when the ability to print money runs dry. This is now worse than the “Heavy Water Plant” of the 1960’s…..a large pile of money and bullxxxx. Wow! In 50 years we have come such a long way in Nova Scotia with mega-projects…oh yes, the next one is already on the horizon (excuse the pun).. “Rocket Science” as Port Hawksbury area is now ramping up to be a space station launchpad…. hey let’s keep it going and have a Nova Scotian be the first human on Mars…don’t see any of the politicians lining up? The view from here is I’m not the bye that builds the boat but I can see Mars from my window. //Gordon Heffler

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