More than 60,000 m² of wetlands destroyed in the coming days by Northvolt

Intensive trucking began this Wednesday on the Northvolt site, while the company plans to destroy more than 60,000 m in the coming days2 wetlands, in order to prepare the land for the construction of the first building. However, the company has not yet obtained ministerial authorization to begin this construction.

According to information provided Wednesday to Duty by Northvolt, the total surface area of ​​media which will initially be destroyed on the site of the future factory reaches 61,882 m2. Approximately 45% of the total area of ​​wetlands will be wiped off the site as part of the project which, according to Prime Minister François Legault, will be used to produce the “greenest” batteries in the world. In total, the total or partial destruction of 61 wetlands is expected.

“Note that no species of turtle with special status has been observed in the environments concerned,” Northvolt said in a press release.

It should be noted that the wildlife inventories that were submitted to the government in order to obtain authorization to destroy wetlands were carried out by a firm mandated by the company. A pond that is a habitat for three endangered turtle species will eventually be destroyed as part of the Northvolt project, even though Environment Ministry experts had advocated for its protection.

These wetlands had a “high ecological value”, according to what emerges from scientific opinions written by experts from the Quebec government. “The project causes a loss of natural environments (humid and terrestrial) serving as feeding, breeding and/or migratory stopover habitat for local and regional wildlife, [dont] several species in a precarious situation,” the scientists also underlined. According to official data, 21 threatened or vulnerable species have been recorded on the site, but also 142 species of birds.

Northvolt specified that “carrying out this work will require the movement of around a hundred trucks per day” in this sector. This “land preparation” stage is necessary to allow the company to prepare the land for the construction of the first building on the site.


By email, Northvolt clarified Duty that, however, it has not yet obtained the ministerial authorization which must be granted by the Minister of the Environment of Quebec, Benoit Charette, to launch construction.

You should know that the company submitted its application on December 22, when it had not yet obtained authorization to destroy dozens of wetlands and cut down several thousand trees. As part of this request, Northvolt wishes to obtain the green light from the Legault government to develop temporary paths, install “rainwater drainage systems” and construct the “first building”.

This new stage of destruction of the site’s natural environments comes as the Quebec Environmental Law Center (CQDE) launches a new legal action to stop the work. As part of an introductory request for judicial review, the organization argues that Minister Benoit Charette’s decision to authorize the destruction of wetlands “is unreasonable, having regard to the responsibility of the Minister [de l’Environnement] to protect wetlands and the species living there.

The Mohawk Council of Kahnawake has also launched legal action against the governments of Quebec and Canada in the Northvolt case. The court action argues that authorization for the project was granted in contravention of the First Nations’ “duty to consult”.

As compensation for the loss of these wetlands, which are increasingly rare in the region, the company had to pay $4.75 million. It will also have to compensate for the loss of natural environments on the site by having a compensation plan approved within three years for the restoration or conservation of a maximum of 500,000 m2.

According to the Legault government, “the site is suitable for industrial use”. Last year, however, he refused another construction project on the same site. Experts from the Ministry of the Environment then justified their decision by emphasizing the rich biodiversity of the land, the essential nature of the natural environments for the region and the “impressive diversity” of the fauna, including the presence of species threatened.

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