Canada: Lafarge join environmental group in challenging Port-Daniel cement plant

Byrebecca3360

Updated Wed, 06 Aug 2014 11:39:12 GMT

According to press reports, Lafarge has joined two non-profit groups in mounting a legal challenge against a Quebec cabinet minister’s authorisation of a CAD 1-billion cement plant to be built in the province’s chronically-underemployed Gaspé region.

The French building products giant, together with the Centre Québécois du droit de l’Environnement and Environnement Vert-Plus Inc., has filed a motion for judicial review asking the Quebec Superior Court to quash a decision by David Heurtel, Quebec’s environment minister, authorising construction of the McInnis cement plant in Port-Daniel-Gascons on the Gaspé peninsula.

Lead by the well-known Bombardier-Beaudoin family, it is one of the largest industrial projects underway in Eastern Canada, and made possible by CAD 350-million in loans and equity from the Quebec government.

The plaintiffs argue Mr. Heurtel, “exceeded his jurisdiction” by giving the controversial project a green light in June without it being subject to an environmental impact assessment and review. They want a full environmental review to take place by the province’s Bureau d’Audiences publiques sur l’environnement (BAPE).

It is the latest development in what has been a lingering battle between proponents of the cement facility, who argue that it will bring much-needed jobs and investment to a distressed area, and detractors who say the government shouldn’t be supporting one project in an industry already in oversupply. U.S. lawmakers have voiced serious concerns about the project, charging it may violate trade rules.