Sukunka Coal Mine Project and Carbon Creek Metallurgical Coal Mine Project

Substitution requested under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012

Public Comments Invited

OTTAWA, March 15, 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 substitution requests by British Columbia (B.C.) for the environmental assessment of the proposed Sukunka Coal Mine Project and of the Carbon Creek Metallurgical 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 environmental assessments through a number of different means. One of these means is for the Minister of the Environment to substitute the environmental assessment 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 requests 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 environmental assessment by the Agency.

Written comments in that regard must be submitted by April 4, 2013 to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency:

410 - 701 West Georgia Street
Vancouver BC V7Y 1C6
Telephone: 604-666-2431
Fax: 604-666-6990

For the Sukunka Coal Mine Project: Sukunka@ceaa-acee.gc.ca

For the Carbon Creek Metallurgical Coal Mine Project: CarbonCreek@ceaa-acee.gc.ca

To view the Notices of Request for Substitution or for more information on the projects and on the environmental assessment process, visit the Agency's website at www.ceaa-acee.gc.ca (registry reference numbers 80013 for Sukunka and 80028 for Carbon Creek). All comments received will be considered public.

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

At the conclusion of each 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 Sukunka Coal Mine Project

Xstrata Coal Canada proposes to develop and operate an integrated surface and underground metallurgical coal mine located approximately 55 kilometres south of Chetwynd and 40 kilometres west of Tumbler Ridge, in northeast British Columbia. The proposed project would initially produce 1.5 to 2.5 million tonnes per year increasing to 6 million tonnes per year when underground mining begins. The mine life is expected to exceed 20 years.

The Carbon Creek Metallurgical Coal Mine Project

Cardero Coal Ltd proposes to develop and operate an open pit metallurgical coal mine located approximately 60 kilometres northwest of Chetwynd and 40 kilometres west of Hudson's Hope, in northeast British Columbia. The proposed project would involve open pit surface mining followed by combined open pit and underground mining.  The production rate would be 4.1 million metric tonnes of metallurgical coal per year, over a mine life of 20 years.

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.

Backgrounder

Substitution of the federal environmental assessment process under CEAA 2012

The Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 (CEAA 2012) enables cooperation between the federal government and other jurisdictions in the delivery of timely, high quality environmental assessments (EAs) through a number of different means. One of these approaches is for the Minister of the Environment to substitute the EA process of another jurisdiction for the EA process that would otherwise be conducted by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (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.

Substitution under CEAA 2012 only applies to EAs that would be conducted by the Agency; it does not apply to EAs conducted by the National Energy Board or the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission. In addition, an EA that has been referred to a review panel cannot be substituted.

A request for substitution from another jurisdiction may be for a specific project or for a class of projects. Prior to approving substitution, the Minister must be satisfied that conditions specified in CEAA 2012, including any conditions that he or she may set, will be met by the other jurisdiction and that its EA process is an appropriate substitute.

These conditions are:

  • the process to be substituted will include the consideration of the same factors that are required to be assessed under CEAA 2012 ;
  • the public will be given an opportunity to participate in the assessment;
  • the public will have access to records in relation to the assessment to enable their meaningful participation;
  • at the end of the assessment, a report will be submitted to Agency and the report will be made available to the public; and
  • any other conditions that the Minister establishes are or will be met.

Once the substitution is approved, the EA process of the other jurisdiction becomes the process through which the public will be able to provide its views with respect to the environmental effects of the project as defined in CEAA 2012. The EA report will contain an analysis and conclusions on the significance of those environmental effects. The report will be made available to the public.

At the conclusion of a substituted EA process, the federal Minister of the Environment will make an EA decision under CEAA 2012.

For more information about CEAA 2012 consult the Agency Web site at ceaa.gc.ca or contact the Agency at info@ceaa-acee.gc.ca.

SOURCE: Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency

For further information:

For more information, media may contact: 
Isabelle Perrault
Senior Communications Advisor
Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency
Isabelle.Perrault@ceaa-acee.gc.ca
Tel.: 613-960-0290


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