OK to Deny Environmental Assessment for Lack of ‘Social Acceptability’

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Québec denied environmental certification of a proposed uranium mine in the James Bay Northern Québec Agreement (JBNQA) territory. The certification was opposed by the local Cree population and the denial cited the project’s lack of social acceptability. The mining company, which had already gotten the needed federal approvals, sued noting that the statute doesn’t say anything about social acceptability. The court agreed but still dismissed the company’s $200 million lawsuit. The social acceptability of a project on JBNQA lands is a criterion that must be considered in the environmental assessment even if it’s not specifically mentioned in the law, said the court [Ressources Strateco inc. c. Procureure générale du Québec, 2017 QCCS 2679 (CanLII), June 21, 2017].