An Innu community in Quebec is suing Hydro-Quebec for $2.2 billion, claiming that the Churchill Falls hydroelectric plant destroyed a significant part of their traditional territory.
The lawsuit filed Friday in the Superior Court of Quebec by the Innu of Uashat Mak Mani-Utenam alleges that the megaproject’s reservoirs and more than 1,000 kilometers of transmission lines have “flooded and destroyed” part of their traditional territory and disrupted the traditional community activities.
The band council says the construction of the 5,428 megawatt Labrador station and its transmission facilities in the 1960s and early 1970s was done without community consent near Sept-Îles, Quebec .
A 1969 agreement that allows Hydro-Quebec to buy the majority of the electricity produced at the plant and to derive the bulk of the profits from it ends in 2041.
The community is asking the court to recognize its Aboriginal title to the affected territory and wants an injunction prohibiting the Crown corporation from entering into any new agreement without the participation and consent of the band council.
The lawsuit also names Churchill Falls (Labrador) Corporation Ltd., which operates the power plant and transmission facilities, as a defendant.
In an emailed statement, Hydro-Québec says it believes that through ongoing dialogue, it will be able to establish a relationship of trust with the community.