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Environmental groups launch court challenge over Lower Churchill hydroelectric project

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Canada 3/20/12 (PennWell) -- The 3,064-MW Lower Churchill hydroelectric project is under fire from environmental groups just days after receiving approval from the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency.

According to a press release issued by the Sierra Club Canada, "the Government of Canada's endorsement of the Lower Churchill Generation Project  is unlawful and will be challenged in the Federal Court."

The Sierra Club -- in conjunction with Grand Riverkeeper Labrador Inc. -- has filed a judicial review application with the Federal Court on grounds that the initial environmental assessment is incomplete. The groups are being represented by Ecojustice.

As such, the review application seeks to block the government from issuing any permits or financial guarantees to project owner Nalcor Energy until the assessment is completed "in full". It also asks the court to overturn the federal government's endorsement of the project.

"We want the panel to finish the job it was tasked to do, and until that happens, we believe the federal government does not have the legal right to support the project with permits or funding," says Lara Tessaro, Ecojustice staff lawyer.

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