25 February 2009

“The most serious threat to Gros Morne”

A report prepared as part of the 1987 application process to declare Gros Morne a World Heritage site labelled proposed transmission lines through the park for the Lower Churchill project as “the most serious threat to Gros Morne”.

grosmorneunesco2 The report said an environmental assessment determined the proposed route would affect the park’s caribou populations and plant life along the transmission line.  The summary report, prepared by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, was submitted to the panel reviewing applications under the United Nations Economic, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s World Heritage program. It also concluded the development wasn’t very likely but that the potential impacts needed to be clarified.

The NALCO proposal in 2009 does note potential impact on caribou in and around Gros Morne but indicates the company will continue to practice measures to mitigate the impacts even though the impacts are not precisely known.  There is no apparent reference to the earlier environmental assessment of the project in the 2009 proposal although it  includes a reference in the bibliography to the UNESCO website.

Gros Morne was selected as a World Heritage site for its relatively pristine environment, special geology and overall physical beauty.