Newfoundland and Labrador’s largest private-sector union has raised concerns about the potential impact of a proposed hydrogen plant on fish harvesters in the area.
The Fish, Food and Allied Workers Union-Unifor (FFAW-Unifor) sent a letter to federal Environment and Climate Change Minister Steven Guilbeault on Sept. 29, expressing its “grave concerns” about the project.
The letter, signed by Katie Power, FFAW-Unifor’s energy industry liaison, cites an analysis conducted by the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada (IAAC) that found the project could have significant impacts on the inshore fishery.
The project, called Project Nujio’qonik, is being proposed by World Energy GH2. The company plans to build more than 300 industrial-size wind turbines on the Port au Port Peninsula and Codroy Valley area to power a new hydrogen plant in Stephenville. The hydrogen would then be converted to ammonia and shipped overseas to green energy markets.
Although the plan has widespread support among Indigenous and municipal leaders in the region, a grassroots citizens’ group called the Environmental Transparency Committee (ETC) has long criticized the proposal. In April 2023, the ETC sent a formal 29-page request to the IAAC to designate the project for federal assessment.
On Sept. 29, Guilbeault declined to designate the project for federal assessment. He said that existing legislation, along with the provincial environmental assessment, is sufficient to ensure the project follows all federal guidelines.
Power’s letter to Guilbeault, dated the same day as his decision, argues that it would be “reckless and irresponsible” to have the project proceed without sufficiently consulting members of the inshore fishery. The ETC has also expressed concerns about the project’s potential impact on the environment, including migratory birds and marine life.
World Energy GH2 has said that the project will create hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars in investment for the region. The company has also said that the project will help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The provincial government has also expressed support for the project, saying that it will help to create jobs and grow the economy.
The project is currently in the early stages of development. World Energy GH2 has said that it expects to begin construction in 2025 and start production in 2027.
The project has the potential to have a significant impact on the Newfoundland and Labrador economy. World Energy GH2 has said that the project will create hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars in investment. The project could also help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote the development of green energy.
However, the project also has the potential to have a negative impact on the environment and the inshore fishery. The ETC has raised concerns about the project’s impact on migratory birds and marine life. FFAW-Unifor has also raised concerns about the project’s impact on fish harvesters.
Project Nujio’qonik is a controversial project with the potential to have a significant impact on the Newfoundland and Labrador economy and environment. The project is still in the early stages of development and it is unclear whether it will ultimately be approved.