Activists use ‘studded mats’ to stop Northvolt work

An anonymous group is calling for new action on the Northvolt site with the aim of stopping work destroying wetlands and cutting down trees. The company confirms the actions taken, which it describes as “vandalism”.

“In order to put an end to the filling of wetlands on the Northvolt site and to preserve the few remaining patches of wooded areas, numerous studded mats were buried in the forest and on the roads in order to puncture vehicle tires and machinery on the site,” wrote the group in an anonymous press release sent Tuesday morning. In January, an anonymous group also claimed responsibility for an act of “sabotage” perpetrated on the site.

The group of activists adds that “steel bars and nails were randomly inserted into the forest” to “arm the forest against its destroyers”. This type of action, which can damage logging equipment, has already been used elsewhere in Canada and the United States by environmental activists to stop logging.

In its press release entitled “Direct action against Northvolt”, the group argues that the government rejected a residential project planned on the same site last year, emphasizing the impacts on biodiversity. He also recalls that the company had discussions with the government before registering in Quebec’s register of lobbyists and that the project was able to escape the environmental assessment process normally provided for large industrial projects.

” Vandalism “

Northvolt confirmed the actions of the activists on Tuesday morning. “Earlier in the night from Sunday to Monday, individuals illegally entered Northvolt grounds to commit vandalism by hiding nailhead carpets. We are checking to see if nails were also inserted into the trees. These are serious and potentially dangerous actions for employees present on the site. We vigorously denounce them,” it is argued in a written statement.

“Northvolt would like to point out that it has received all the necessary authorizations to be able to carry out the work currently underway. Rigorous studies and analyzes were carried out and strict conditions were met to obtain these permits,” the statement added.

A survey commissioned by Northvolt shows that citizens of the region where the mega-factory will be built believe that it is a “good project”, but that the industrial complex raises environmental issues which deserve to undergo the test of an evaluation including an examination by the Office of Public Hearings on the Environment (BAPE).

Some 67% of the 500 respondents expressed their agreement with such an environmental assessment. This rate rises to 70% among respondents aged 18 to 54, as well as among residents of the towns of McMasterville and Saint-Basile-le-Grand, where the largest industrial project in recent decades in Quebec will be located.

“If they respect the rules, whether there is a BAPE or not, it does not matter,” the Minister of the Economy, Innovation and Energy maintained last week. , Pierre Fitzgibbon.

The regulatory change implemented last year by the Legault government means that the company instead proceeds through “requests for ministerial authorization” for different stages of the project. Despite a request for access to information, it was impossible for The duty to know the details of the request which is currently being analyzed by the Quebec Ministry of the Environment for the construction of the plant. The resulting document is heavily redacted.

The company plans to destroy more than 60,000 m2 of wetlands in the coming days in order to prepare the site for the first building of its factory, although it has not yet obtained ministerial authorization to begin this construction.

To watch on video

source site-39