Woodfibre LNG Project - Environmental Assessment Decision

OTTAWA, March 18, 2016 /CNW Telbec/ - The Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, today announced that the proposed Woodfibre LNG Project, located near Squamish, British Columbia, is not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects.

In her Environmental Assessment Decision Statement, the Minister established legally binding conditions, which include mitigation measures and follow-up requirements with which the proponent must comply throughout the life of the project.

"The Woodfibre LNG Project underwent a thorough, science-based environmental assessment that considered public and Indigenous input and views," said Minister McKenna. "The process benefited from scientific and technical expertise, Indigenous traditional knowledge and constructive feedback that helped to inform my decision."

The Government of British Columbia conducted the environmental assessment of the Woodfibre LNG Project on behalf of both the federal and provincial governments, with the participation of several expert federal authorities such as Transport Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Natural Resources Canada and Health Canada.

"As a result of our government's commitment to tackling climate change and our interim approach and principles for environmental assessments, this review also benefited from an analysis of anticipated greenhouse gas emissions associated with the project. The federal government also carried out additional consultations with the public and Indigenous groups."

The next steps are for the proponent to obtain approvals and permits, including regulatory authorizations from Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Transport Canada.

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Backgrounder

Woodfibre LNG Project - Environmental Assessment Decision

The Project

Woodfibre LNG Limited is proposing the construction and operation of a natural gas liquefaction facility near Squamish, British Columbia, on the northwestern shoreline of Howe Sound, for the export of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to global markets via marine vessels.

The Environmental Assessment Process

Substitution was granted to the province of B.C. to conduct the environmental assessment (EA) for this project in February 2014, in accordance with the substitution conditions under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 (CEAA 2012).

B.C. produced an Assessment Report for the project which includes its conclusions and recommendations on the potential environmental effects of the project, mitigation measures, the significance of adverse environmental effects, and the follow-up program.

The Agency reviewed B.C.'s findings, conclusions and recommendations in relation to CEAA 2012 requirements and the Minister of Environment and Climate Change considered B.C.'s Report in reaching her decision.

Public Consultation

B.C. consulted the public and Indigenous groups throughout the process. Environment and Climate Change Canada performed an analysis of anticipated greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) associated with the project. The Agency conducted an additional public comment period on this analysis from February 9 to March 1, 2016 and all comments received from the public and Indigenous groups were taken into account to inform the Minister's decision.

Consultation with Indigenous groups

Indigenous groups were consulted throughout the environmental assessment process and on the conditions set out in the Minister's Decision Statement. The comments received were considered in identifying conditions to serve as mitigation measures for impacts on hunting, fishing, marine harvesting, trapping and gathering plants for medicines and food. The conditions also establish specific requirements for the proponent to consult with Indigenous groups on the development and implementation of mitigation strategies and follow-up requirements.

Conditions

The legally binding conditions in the Minister's Decision Statement address a number of environmental effects including fish and fish habitat, migratory birds, human health, current Indigenous use of lands and resources for traditional purposes and archaeological and heritage resources.

The decision statement also includes two conditions related to the management of greenhouse gases associated with the project.

 

SOURCE Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency

For further information: Caitlin Workman, Press Secretary, Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, 819-938-9436, caitlin.workman@canada.ca; Karen Fish, Communications Advisor, Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, 613-957-0278, Karen.Fish@ceaa-acee.gc.ca

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