Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Haisla energy plans gain momentum with awarding of environmental assessment certificate for Cedar LNG

A Haisla led LNG project has been issued its environmental certificate, a key element towards moving forward with the Cedar LNG Terminal facility, a project which the BC government today noted supports  reconciliation with the Haisla Nation.

The Project is a partnership between the Haisla and Alberta's Pembina Pipelines (which also operates the Watson Island LPG Terminal in Prince Rupert), 

They have proposed to build and operate the electrified floating liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility and marine export terminal in Kitimat on Haisla Nation-owned land, to be supplied with natural gas from the Coastal GasLink pipeline that is under construction.  

The Cedar LNG facility (at upper left) will tap into the Coastal GasLink
Pipeline for delivery of its LNG supply for export

(From Cedar LNG website)

As part of the announcement today, the Province noted of the extensive consultation with technical experts, federal and provincial agencies, local governments, First Nations and the public. 

The joint decision of George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, and Josie Osborne, Minister of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation, also made note of the support the proposal received from other First Nations in the Northwest.  

Towards that, The ministers received letters expressing support for Haisla to pursue the project from Gitxaala Nation and Kitselas First Nation, and non-opposition to the issuance of an environmental assessment certificate from Gitga’at First Nation and Kitsumkalum First Nation.

Some of the background towards those engagements, and what appears to be some additional work required when it comes to the Lax Kw'alaams Band, can be reviewed through the Minister's Reasons for Decision document.

We noted that Lax Kw’alaams Band did not consent due to needing more time to work with Cedar and requested a delay in decision until Lax Kw’alaams Band provided their consent. We extended our decision making and we understand that Cedar continues to work with Lax Kw’alaams Band to discuss concerns. -- From the BC Government Decision on Cedar LNG March 14

Haisla Nation and Government of BC officials at today's announcemenbt
(image from BC Gov't)

Today's decision come with 16 legally enforceable conditions that Cedar LNG must follow in a number of areas.

Among some of the key measures include:

An environmental management plan for construction to mitigate potential impacts related to air quality, waste management and accidents or malfunctions

A greenhouse gas reduction plan that addresses provincial emissions reduction targets and schedules, considers technologies to minimize emissions, and outlines technologies and measures to be implemented to reduce emissions

A community feedback process that provides residents of the area with a way to have concerns and complaints about the project resolved; 

Marine transportation communication reporting with First Nations on activities that may affect marine use, and a reporting mechanism for First Nations and other mariners to report concerns

Participation in any future regional cumulative effects initiatives related to social and economic management and monitoring, airshed monitoring and marine shipping 

A socioeconomic management plan to prioritize regional and Indigenous hiring and procurement, provide on-the-job training and apprenticeship, and minimize impacts on local housing and accommodations

A health and medical services plan to reduce pressures from an outside workforce on local health services.

There are also a number of recommended federal mitigation measures and issues related to federal jurisdiction still be addressed, a Federal decision has yet to come, as well as additional provincial approvals required.

The deadline for the provincial decision was extended by 69 days to allow additional time for ministers to consider the materials and their decision.

That delay made for some extensive commentary for Skeena MLA Ellis Ross, a former chief councillor for the Haisla Nation, who used some of his time in the Legislature in recent months  towards seeking answers for the decision delay.

More from Premier David Eby and Haisla First Nation Chief Councillor Crystal Smith can be reviewed here.

With the provincial approval in place, it seems likely that the Federal approvals won't be far behind and with that will come a final investment decision for partner Pembina.

Once all that is taken care of, it's expected that construction could start later this year, with an eye towards a commissioning of the floating terminal facility in mid 2027.

The partnership also announced their first services agreement, that with ARC Resources which will see ARC take half of Cedar LNG's proaction under a twenty year contract.

Cedar LNG celebrated both with a video presentation.

The provincial EAO listing for the project, which includes the documentation towards todays decision can be explored here

You can learn more about the project from the Cedar LNG website here.

More notes on LNG in the Northwest from our archive page.

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