Friday, January 29, 2016

Federal Government announces new environmental assessment guidelines

Additional reviews on the nature of
Greenhouse gas emissions will
be added to the assessment process
for proposed LNG terminals 
The path towards development of energy resources and shipment terminals is going to require a little bit more science and consultation now, with guidelines released by the Ministers of Natural Resources and Environment and Climate on Wednesday.

The announcement from the two Ministers on interim principles when it comes to addressing greenhouse gas emissions will be conducted apart from and in addition to the current regimen of deliberations that the National Energy Board conducts on proposed projects.

The Background statement from the Federal Government can be reviewed here, while further information related to interim measures on pipeline reviews can be examined here.

With the Federal government now looking to include the impact of Green House Gas emissions as part of the review when it comes to major energy projects, five new principles were announced as part of the environmental assessment process moving forward.

Those principles include.

1. No project proponent will be asked to return to the starting line — project reviews will continue within the current legislative framework and in accordance with treaty provisions, under the auspices of relevant responsible authorities and Northern regulatory boards; 

2. Decisions will be based on science, traditional knowledge of Indigenous peoples and other relevant evidence; 

3. The views of the public and affected communities will be sought and considered; 

4. Indigenous peoples will be meaningfully consulted, and where appropriate, impacts on their rights and interests will be accommodated;

5. Direct and upstream greenhouse gas emissions linked to the projects under review will be assessed.

The guidelines will be used for current projects under consideration and those that have still to start their environmental projects, for those Environmental Assessments that are underway there will be no need to start over, but whether the science on hand to this point will provide enough information or require further investigation will remain to be seen.

How the new guidelines might impact on the proposed Pacific NorthWest LNG Terminal project is not known just yet, if they have enough scientific research already completed to meet the government's requirements there should be little delay to the anticipated CEAA draft report.

However, if they are required to submit more data on the theme of green house gas emissions, then the timeline of delivery of that report and any potential decision on approval could be delayed.

Some of the overview and comment on Wednesday's announcement out of Ottawa can be found below:

Clark needs Trudeau to approve Pacific NorthWest LNG project
Expect LNG to remain a B. C. political football
Pipeline projects to face new environmental regulations
Pipeline industry optimistic after new Liberal policy
Liberal pipeline policy presents 3 key problems
Eventually, Trudeau will have to disappoint someone on pipelines
Ottawa adds additional steps to pipeline reviews
Governments must commit to greenhouse gas policies, NEB warns
Pipeline reviews to look at 'upstream' greenhouse gas emissions, consultation with aboriginals

More Background on the LNG industry on the North Coast can be found on our LNG archive page.

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