Nova Scotia

Bid to overturn Bay of Fundy tidal turbine approval being heard in court

Bay of Fundy Inshore Fishermen's Association is asking province's top court to overturn government decision

NS Tidal Power 20160519

The Bay of Fundy Inshore Fishermen's Association is concerned there isn't enough baseline science to ensure the tidal project won't hurt the fishing industry and the environment. (Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press)


The Bay of Fundy Inshore Fishermen's Association's efforts to overturn the province's approval of a plan to deploy two experimental tidal turbines in the Minas Passage is being heard for the first time in a Nova Scotia courtroom on Thursday.

The group, which represents lobster fishermen, says the science that was used by the provincial Environment Department to OK the plan was "grossly inadequate and not based in fact."

"We have a concern that any impacts of the turbines will be vastly underestimated due to that fact," said Colin Sproul on CBC's Maritime Noon. Sproul is a fifth-generation lobster fisherman and a spokesman for the group.

'An accurate baseline'

The association filed an application for a judicial review on July 22.

Sproul says there isn't enough baseline science to ensure the project won't hurt the environment and the fishing industry.

"We have one simple, reasonable request of the provincial government, and it is to establish an accurate baseline, a picture of the life that is in the Minas Passage to gauge the impacts of the turbines," he said.

Energy minister responds

Energy Minister Michel Samson stands behind the government's decision.

"What I would say is we rely on science. We rely on the reviews that have been made," he said.

Samson says the process wasn't rushed and allowed for the appropriate consultations to be made.

'A sad day for Nova Scotia'

Sproul says tidal energy has great potential, but warns that if undertaken as currently planned, it "will undoubtedly lead to a severe environmental disaster."

Sproul is frustrated the matter has reached the courts.

"It's a sad day for Nova Scotia that the fishermen of this province are being forced to spend their hard-earned dollars to fight their own government to defend environmental integrity," he said.

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