A judge has rejected a Métis group's application to halt environmental hearings into Labrador's massive Lower Churchill hydroelectric project.

The NunatuKavut Community Council, formerly known as the Labrador Métis Nation, had wanted to halt the hearings, which have already begun in Labrador communities.

But Justice Garrett Handrigan of the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador turned down the application Thursday, rejecting NunatuKavut's requests to stop the hearings.

NunatuKavut president Chris Montague told CBC News he was "very disappointed that it wasn't granted. It's an obstacle that we have to overcome and overcome it we will."

The members of NunatuKavut are not officially recognized by the Newfoundland and Labrador and federal governments.

The group has been wanting to negotiate a claim on lands that include the area that a dam on Muskrat Falls would flood.

Montague believes there are ample grounds for an appeal, but his council has to discuss its next step.

He said that as more of the environmental impacts of the project become known, there is growing opposition to the Lower Churchill.

"We've got no intention of tearing the guts out of Labrador, to flooding and destroying the Churchill River to actually bring green energy to other parts of the country," he said.

Montague said NunatuKavut may hold a referendum to find out just how deep that opposition goes.

Crown-owned Nalcor Energy reached a deal with Halifax-based Emera Inc. last fall to develop the $6.2-billion proposal, which would generate energy on the Churchill River and then funnel it to Newfoundland and then to Nova Scotia.