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NAFTA Case Alleges “Anti-Foreign” Bias Blocked Quarry
Posted in Mining, Regulatory

Bilcon Inc., an American construction firm, has launched a challenge under the North American Free Trade Agreement (“NAFTA”) that claims an environmental review panel had an anti-foreign bias when it recommended against allowing a quarry in western Nova Scotia.   Bilcon had proposed a basalt quarry on a 152 hectare site approximately 30 kilometers southwest of Digby at White Point, N.S, which was bitterly opposed by a local citizens group.

The claim seeks $188 million in compensation, and in part alleges that the length of the project approval process compared to the much shorter timelines for approval of similar projects during the same time period is evidence of unequal treatment.  Bilcon claims the regulatory and process requirements continually changed during this period, and the environmental panel’s “biased, flawed recommendations” were eventually followed without question.

The case will likely focus on whether the company received “fair and equitable” treatment as defined under Section 11 of NAFTA.  The trade dispute process can take up to two years to complete.


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Lawson Lundell's Project Law Blog focuses on updating proponents on issues emerging in the law and policy that applies to the development of major projects in Canada. The focus of the blog is on matters relating to environmental assessment and compliance, regulatory matters and Indigenous consultation.




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