Muskrat Falls land protectors take one last shot to stop flooding of reservoir

This article was first published by APTN News Canada. It has been republished with permission.

Angel Moore

A car convoy pulls up to the front gates of the construction entrance to the Muskrat Falls hydro electric project.

They say they’re here to continue their fight against the mega project.

The entrance to the project sits about 30 minutes west of Goose Bay, Labrador and has been the epicentre of the fight against the project the land protectors say will poison their land.

People here acknowledge that this could be the last gathering at these gates before the reservoir is flooded.

“We’ve tried so hard we worked so hard, we’ve reached out to people so much, we’ve demonstrated, we’ve protested, we’ve went to jail, we’ve begged, we’ve pleaded we wrote letters we got signatures we did,” said Marjorie Flowers.

“There was just no end to what we tried to do to get people to listen, Nalcor and the provincial government.

The fear is that the hydro electric dam will be a threat to the environment.

A study showed that once the reservoir is flooded, the toxin methyl mercury could be released into the environment and poison fish and wildlife.

Sam Saunders is a grand river water keeper.

He said lives are worth more than jobs.

“It’s about the river and the mercury and the people’s lives and the property at risk,” he said.

“I’ve talked to a lot of people along the river and a lot of them tell me the same story so it not only comes from me.”

The land protectors gather at the gate to voice their concerns.

Emotions run high.

“We are on the brink of losing our food chain I’m an Inuit woman who depended on that food chain all my life, all my father’s life, all my grandfather’s lives we’ve depended on that,” said Flowers.

The dam is owned by Nalcor, an agency of the Newfoundland and Labrador government.

It’s going ahead with the flooding despite years of protests and arrests.

Denise Cole said she’s frustrated at the colonial government’s lack of interest.

“So no matter if it’s pipeline, or mega dam or fracking or a telescope, that they get to do whatever they want and there’s nothing, it appears there’s nothing we can do to stop them,” she said.

“Because they control the legislation, they control the courts, they control the police they control it all so to say that we are in any place of truth and reconciliation in this country is a lie.

In 2017, the province launched a public inquiry to look into why the costs of the project has ballooned from $3.69 billion, to more than $12 billion.

The inquiry is not examining any environment concerns.

Still, on Thursday it will be in Goose Bay – and the land protectors plan on being their to voice their opinions.

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