Montreal, October 10, 2023 – This morning, the federal government announced an additional $150 million in funding for construction of the Contrecœur Port Terminal, while the project has not yet obtained all the necessary authorizations.

The Société pour la nature et les parcs (SNAP Québec, the provincial branch of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS)) and the Centre québécois du droit de l’environnement (CQDE) denounce the new investment announcement for this project, which would impact the critical habitat of the copper redhorse, an endangered species. These repeated announcements concerning the construction of the Contrecoeur Terminal before the project has even obtained all the requisite authorizations demonstrate the government’s bias and undermine the independence of the civil service.

“Unfortunately, the federal government is both judge and interested party in this case. A watertight firewall must be put in place to ensure that science and the precautionary principle guide the analysis leading to any issuance of an authorization under the Species at Risk Act,” states Alain Branchaud, executive director at SNAP Québec.

“Independent scientists who have analysed this project have raised major concerns. Science plays an essential role in our decision-making processes. It remains to be seen whether this project can be carried out legally, despite the presence of species at risk. We’ll be following future developments very closely,” says Marc Bishai, a lawyer with the CQDE.

A scientific opinion published in March 2021 casts doubt on the effectiveness of mitigation measures proposed by the Montreal Port Administration with regard to the project’s impacts on the habitat of the copper redhorse. The impacts of the Contrecœur Port Terminal project on species at risk and particularly on the copper redhorse are at the heart of the environmental issues raised by the project. A recent study published in the Naturaliste canadien journal and co-signed by 13 scientists from the Quebec and Canadian governments indicate that the Lac Saint-Pierre aquatic grass beds have suffered a dramatic decline since 2002. The conclusions of the study underscore the importance of protecting the critical habitat of the copper redhorse.

SNAP Québec and the CQDE reiterate that they will take the case to Federal Court if the permit is granted and does not comply with the spirit and letter of the law.

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