Prime Minister François Legault said environmental groups should “applaud” the battery factory of the Swedish company Northvolt, while the project would not be subject to an evaluation by the Office of Public Hearings on environment (BAPE).
Mr. Legault announced Thursday, alongside the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, that the two levels of government are investing $7.3 billion for the construction of the battery factory in Montérégie, in Saint-Basile-le-Grand and McMasterville.
However, according to information from Radio-Canada, the Northvolt plant may not be subject to a BAPE assessment, because its production capacity would be 56,000 metric tons.
Last July, the Regulation relating to the evaluation and examination of the environmental impacts of certain projects was modified so as to avoid a BAPE evaluation for battery factories that produce 60,000 metric tons or less.
Questioned on this subject during a press scrum on Friday, François Legault affirmed that “all environmental rules will be respected” during the establishment of the Northvolt factory.
“I think all environmental groups should applaud this extraordinary environmental project,” the Prime Minister said.
“It’s a factory that is excellent for the environment, all environmental rules will be respected,” he reiterated.
The announcement already raised fears Thursday in Montérégie, when a petition of 700 names was submitted to the McMasterville municipal council in order to block the project. The signatories fear the plant will cause noise and pollution.
With Stéphane Rolland The Canadian Press