Echo Hill Coal Mine Project - Substitution requested under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 - Public Comments Invited

OTTAWA, March 26, 2013 /CNW/ - As part of the strengthened and modernized Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 (CEAA 2012) put in place to support the government's Responsible Resource Development Initiative, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency is seeking comments from the public on a substitution request by British Columbia (B.C.) for the environmental assessment (EA) of the proposed Echo Hill Coal Mine Project located in B.C.

CEAA 2012 enables cooperation between the federal government and other jurisdictions in the delivery of timely, high quality EAs through a number of different means. One of these means is for the Minister of the Environment to substitute the EA process of another jurisdiction for the process that would otherwise be conducted by the Agency. This approach achieves the objective of "one project-one assessment" which has been endorsed by the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment.

The Minister of the Environment, the Honourable Peter Kent, must approve the substitution request if he is satisfied that the conditions for substitution under CEAA 2012 are met and if he is of the opinion that the B.C. process would be an appropriate substitute for an EA by the Agency.

Written comments must be submitted by April 15, 2013 to:

Echo Hill Coal Mine Project
Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency
410 - 701 West Georgia Street
Vancouver BC V7Y 1C6
Telephone: 604-666-2431
Fax: 604-666-6990
EchoHill@ceaa-acee.gc.ca

To view the Notice of Request for Substitution or for more information on the project and on the EA process, visit the Agency's website at www.ceaa-acee.gc.ca (registry reference number 80018). All comments received will be considered public.

The Agency will post a decision on its website stating whether the Minister of the Environment approves the substitution request.

At the conclusion of a substituted EA process, the federal Minister of the Environment will make an EA decision under CEAA 2012. Environmental protection will absolutely be maintained through this process. Projects will only be allowed to proceed if they meet Canada's rigorous environmental protection laws. Where a decision on a project may adversely impact potential or established Aboriginal or treaty rights, Canada will ensure that potentially affected Aboriginal groups are adequately consulted.

The Agency and the British Columbia Environmental Assessment Office have finalized a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to enable efficient and timely use of CEAA 2012 substitution provisions. The MOU addresses the processes leading to substitution, the conduct of the substituted EA and associated Aboriginal consultation and the coordination of decision-making, monitoring and follow-up after the EA. The MOU and a Backgrounder on substitution under CEAA 2012 are available on the Agency's website at www.ceaa-acee.gc.ca.

The Echo Hill Coal Mine Project

Hillsborough Resources Ltd. proposes to develop a coal mine using contour mining and highwall augering, with an average production of 1.0 to 1.5 million tonnes of coal annually over 10 to 14 years. The proposed Project is located 44 km north of Tumbler Ridge, B.C.

The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency administers the federal environmental assessment process, which identifies the environmental effects of proposed projects and measures to address those effects, in support of sustainable development.

SOURCE: Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency

For further information:

Media may contact:
Céline Legault
Communications Advisor
Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency
Celine.Legault@ceaa-acee.gc.ca
Tel.: 613-957-0278


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