NORTH COAST OF LABRADOR, N.L. — With Vale announcing plans to move forward on the construction of an underground mine, the Innu Nation thinks it’s time to run a transmission line along the north coast of Labrador.
Innu Nation Grand Chief Gregory Rich told The Labradorian that with the increased power demands Vale will have and the federal government push towards clean energy, now is the perfect time to bring this initiative forward.
Not that it’s a new idea, he said.
“It’s been on our agenda for many years and it’s time we present this to the stakeholders, like Nalcor, Vale, the provincial government and Nunatsiavut,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity for people in Labrador.”
Rich said there are numerous benefits to having Natuashish and other communities in the area off diesel, such as cost and impact on the environment.
“We will have power to the north coast that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” he said. “We throughout the north are concerned about it too and we want to do something.
“We’ve been on diesel generators for many, many years and its time the north coast take part in upgrades from either Muskrat or the Upper Churchill and have a clean energy source.”
North coast communities have encountered problems with generators in recent years, Rich said, and the fuel is very expensive.
“Over all the years the federal government has spent a lot of money on that fuel and if we change that power to Natuashish and nearby communities it would be clean energy for all communities involved,” he said.
Rich said the Innu Nation has spoken to some of the other stakeholders, including Nalcor. A meeting has been planned to take place in Happy Valley-Goose Bay to discuss the issue with all stakeholders.
Not only would the proposed transmission line bring power to the coast, Rich said it could open the door to the potential for increased internet speeds and a road on the north coast. But right now, they’re focusing on the transmission line.
“We’re trying to get the ball rolling, and if issues come up along the way and all parties agree, we will deal with those issues as they come,” he said.
The Labradorian contacted the Nunatsiavut Government about the proposal and they had no comment at this time. Nalcor Energy did not respond to The Labradorian by press time.