The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency has begun a 30-day public comment period on the Draft Environmental Assessment Report.

CEAA releases draft report on Pacific NorthWest LNG project

Until March 11, members of the public are invited to comment on the draft Environmental Assessment Report for the proposed PNW project

The much-anticipated ‘draft Environmental Assessment Report’ on the proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal on Lelu Island in Port Edward was released by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency on Feb. 10 to the public.

The document details the Agency’s conclusions and recommendations concerning the potential effects of the terminal, which is proposed by Pacific NorthWest LNG, a consortium led by Malaysia’s state-owned Petronas.

The draft report by the Agency (CEAA) found that the proposed project is “likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects” to two areas of environmental concern — cumulative effects to harbour porpoise, and the effects from greenhouse gas emissions.

“With respect to all other valued components, the Agency concludes that the Project is not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects taking into account the implementation of the key mitigation measures,” the report states.

Much of the environmental concern by opponents of the proposed site relates to damage to the eelgrass and fish habitat on Flora Bank, but the Agency concluded that, with mitigation efforts by PNW LNG, that there would be no significant adverse environmental effects specifically related to the Flora Bank environment or overall fish and fish habitats.

The fish habitat “eelgrass” was referenced 23 times in the 257-page report.

The proponent is mandated to monitor the eelgrass 10-years after construction of the terminal by the Agency follow-up program.

Pacific NorthWest LNG provided a response statement to the draft release.

“Pacific NorthWest LNG would like to thank the Government of Canada, First Nations and community members for their constructive and rigorous approach with respect to the federal environmental assessment. We are currently reviewing the comprehensive draft report and conditions issued by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency. PNW LNG is committed to building and operating a world-class LNG facility in an environmentally sustainable manner that First Nations and residents in the region can be proud of,” said Pacific NorthWest LNG spokesperson Spencer Sproule late Wednesday.

CEAA will now conduct a 30-day public comment session, where members of the public are invited to submit their feedback to the draft by March 11 at the Agency’s website.

Physical copies of the ‘draft Environmental Assessment Report’ can be found at the Prince Rupert Public Library, Port Edward District Office and the Prince Rupert Port Authority.

Following the public consultation, the Agency will “finalize the report, taking into account any comments received and submit the report to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change,” states the draft.

“The Minister, after taking into account the report and the implementation of any mitigation measures, will make a decision on whether the Project is likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects”, the report continues.

If the Minister decides that the project won’t result in significant harmful effects to the surrounding environment she will issue a “decision statement, including any conditions that the Minister may establish”.

The draft report can be found online here: http://www.ceaa-acee.gc.ca/050/documents/p80032/104785E.pdf

Look for more on this story as it develops.