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N.S. Supreme Court dismisses Inshore Fishermen’s challenge to Cape Sharp Tidal turbine project

Bay of Fundy fishermen have maintained that tidal turbines, seen here at the Pictou Shipyard in Pictou, N.S., could harm marine life.
Bay of Fundy fishermen have maintained that tidal turbines, seen here at the Pictou Shipyard in Pictou, N.S., could harm marine life. Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press

The Nova Scotia Supreme Court has dismissed the Bay of Fundy Inshore Fishermen’s Association’s request for a judicial review on the Cape Sharp Tidal turbine project.

READ MORE: Fishermen try to overturn approval of Bay of Fundy tidal turbine

“The project has not been undertaken lightly and follows rigorous ongoing evaluation,” wrote Justice Heather Robertson in her decision, adding that it was not the courts role to go on a scientific fact finding mission.

The association has maintained that the tidal turbines have the ability to harm marine life in the bay.

Colin Sproul, a spokesperson for the Inshore Fishermen’s Association said that his organization is disappointed by the decision but they aren’t surprised with the outcome.

On Thursday, Cape Sharp Tidal announced that they would be removing their turbines from the Bay of Fundy later this month, in order for repairs and modifications to be carried out on it’s monitoring equipment.

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The decision from Justice Heather Robertson was released on Friday.

“Fishermen in Nova Scotia waited two months for word of our fate from the court, and the coincidence of its delivery the very day after proponents of the Fundy Ocean Research Centre for Energy announced they’d be removing the turbines for unscheduled maintenance is a little hard to accept,” said Sproul.

WATCH: Nova Scotia installs tidal turbines in an attempt to go green

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Nova Scotia installs tidal turbines in an attempt to go green – Nov 22, 2016

Lawyers for the Inshore Fishermen’s Association had previously argued that Nova Scotia’s Minister of Environment had violated the government’s own regulations when allowing Cape Sharp Tidal to install their turbines, as the company had not submitted enough scientific data about the state of the Bay of Fundy.

“The minister was required to consider certain things, and they’re just not in the record,” David Coles, a lawyer for the association told Justice Robertson in February.

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But that argument was swiftly brought down by Robertson in her decision.

“It appears to me that… extraordinary efforts have been made to evaluate risk,” she wrote.

Roberts added that the government was entitled to a level of deference from the court, especially in relation to making “these very reasonable decisions.”

The Inshore Fishermen’s Association are considering an appeal of the ruling.

— With files from The Canadian Press

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