Nfld. & Labrador

75% of Rigolet residents want project shut down, advocate says

Protesters aren't backing down following the province's decision to turn down an environmental appeal of the Muskrat Falls project.

Danny Michelin says he polled 80 homes in Rigolet

Make Muskrat Right protester Danny Michelin says 75 per cent of people he polled in Rigolet want the Muskrat Falls project shut down. (Jacob Barker/CBC)

In the wake of the Newfoundland and Labrador government's decision to turn down an environmental appeal of the Muskrat Falls project, protesters aren't backing down.

Last week, Make Muskrat Right protester Danny Michelin took to the streets of Rigolet and went door-to-door with a survey polling residents on Muskrat Falls.

He said he was disappointed — but not surprised — the province turned down the Nunatsiavut government's appeal of Nalcor's human health and assessment plan for the Lower Churchill project.

I was hoping that they would come to their senses.- Danny Michelin, Make Muskrat Right protester

Like the Nunatsiavut government, Michelin has concerns over the effects of methylmercury on the hydroelectric project and what it will do for the environment and culture in the area.

"I was hoping that they would come to their senses and say, 'Stop the project until the dam is all cleared out,'" he said.

"On the other hand, the government and Nalcor is going hand in hand, and whatever one says the other one does. They [don't] care about the environment at all."

Taking findings to Nunatsiavut council

The provincial government turned down an environmental appeal on Muskrat Falls from the Nunatsiavut government last week. (CBC)

Michelin said the Make Muskrat Right survey asked residents if they're concerned about the damming of Muskrat Falls, if they would attend rallies against the project and if they would like to see the project shut down, cleared out or continue as it is.

After travelling to approximately 80 homes, Michelin told CBC News around 75 per cent of people he spoke to want the project to be shut down.

He said he's going to take his findings to the Nunatsiavut executive council in the coming days.

"The Nunatsiavut government has been always with the community of Rigolet right from the get go, especially when the Harvard studies were done," he said.

"This is more to back up what we are saying, what the people are saying in the community."

Michelin also said he's not planning to cease protest efforts outside of the Muskrat Falls site any time soon. 

"We want to stop the project [from moving forward] as long as we can."

With files from Labrador Morning

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