Friday, March 1, 2024

First Nation begins court docket problem to Chalk River waste disposal website

An software has been made to the Federal Court docket for a judicial overview of the Jan. 9 resolution by the Canadian Nuclear Security Fee.

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The choice to assemble a nuclear waste disposal facility at Chalk River is being met with a court docket problem by Kebaowek First Nation alleging the federal government breached its responsibility to seek the advice of the Indigenous group.

Kebaowek First Nation, a part of the Anishnabeg Algonquin Nation and situated about 200 kilometres north of Chalk River alongside the Ottawa River, has filed an software for a judicial overview of the Jan. 9 resolution by the Canadian Nuclear Security Fee, which approved building of a nuclear waste disposal facility on the Canadian Nuclear Laboratories website.

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Attorneys for Kebaowek are asking the Federal Court docket to reject the CNSC authorization and to declare the company “breached its responsibility to seek the advice of Kebaowek by failing to safe the First Nation’s free, prior and knowledgeable consent, and by finishing up consultations in a procedurally unfair approach.”

Officers with the CNSC didn’t instantly return a request for remark Wednesday.

The company introduced in January it might amend the working licence of the Chalk River facility to authorize building of a near-surface disposal facility (NSDF) on the website.

In a media launch on the time, the CNSC stated it was “happy it had fulfilled its constitutional accountability to seek the advice of and, the place acceptable, accommodate Indigenous rights in respect of its resolution making on the NSDF challenge.”

On the time, the fee famous the location was on the standard unceded territory of the Algonquin individuals and stated the challenge “is protecting of human well being and the surroundings, together with the Ottawa River, and that the proposed website is a suitable and secure location for the NSDF Undertaking.”

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Based on Kebaowek’s software for a judicial overview, which seeks to overturn that call, the proposed containment mound can be designed to retailer as much as a million tons of radioactive and unsafe waste.

The proposed website “is a mere 1.1 kilometres away from the sacred Kichi Sibi (Ottawa River), on unceded Algonquin territory, which holds immense religious and cultural significance for the Algonquin individuals,” Kebaowek First Nation stated in a press release Wednesday.

In its software to Federal Court docket, Kebaowek First Nation alleges that the CNSC “did not correctly uphold its responsibility to seek the advice of, and as such, has did not uphold the constitutionally protected and inherent rights of Indigenous Peoples.”

Kebaowek additional alleges the CNSC “did not uphold its responsibility to seek the advice of Keboawek as a result of it didn’t search or acquire the First Nation’s free, prior and knowledgeable consent to the NSDF earlier than authorizing its building.”

The applying alleges the CNSC made a “vital error” by “sidestepping” points addressed by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and Canada’s help of UNDRIP by means of its United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act.

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“The chance of hurt from the proposed NSDF is just not solely a First Nations challenge, it additionally impacts all people, animals, crops, and waters within the neighborhood. We’re doing this on behalf of our Individuals and all Canadians who rely upon the Ottawa River as their consuming water supply,” Chief Lance Haymond of Kebaowek First Nation stated in a press release Wednesday.

“The responsibility to seek the advice of was breached. We’re going to the Federal Court docket to problem the fee’s incorrect and unreasonable resolution. The fee wanted to hold out a procedurally honest session course of knowledgeable by the UNDRIP, which it in the end did not do.”

In its January announcement, the CNSC stated it gave “cautious consideration” to all submissions and views the company acquired all through the multi-year regulatory overview course of, which started in 2016.

“As a lifecycle regulator, the CNSC focuses on steady engagement and session with Indigenous Nations earlier than, throughout and after fee proceedings for CNSC actions,” the company acknowledged in its media launch. “This consists of, for instance, collaboratively drafting rights impacts assessments with Indigenous Nations and communities, and consulting on mitigation measures to assist decrease any potential impacts of the NSDF challenge.”

ahelmer@postmedia.com

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