BRITISH COLUMBIA – Following the assessment of the Cedar LNG Project conducted by British Columbia, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada, the Honourable Steven Guilbeault, issued a Decision Statement that the project may proceed, in concurrence with British Columbia’s decision.
British Columbia’s assessment was conducted under provisions of the Impact Assessment Act, which supports the goal of ‘one project, one assessment.’ In January 2020, the federal government approved BC’s request to substitute the provincial review process of the Cedar LNG Project for the federal impact assessment process under the IAA.
The project is proposed by Cedar LNG Partners LP, a Haisla Nation-led partnership with Pembina Pipeline Corporation. It is a small-scale, electrified LNG operation that comprises a floating liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility and marine export terminal located near Kitimat, BC. The project will be required to comply with over 250 legally-binding conditions, including being net-zero no later than 2050.
BC’s assessment considered the environmental, health, social and economic effects of the proposed project, as well as its potential impacts on Indigenous Peoples and their rights.
The decision considered, among other factors, the positive economic benefits to the regional communities in the project area. The project is being led by Haisla Nation on its own traditional territory and is one of the largest majority Indigenous-nation owned infrastructure projects in Canada. The project is expected to also provide hundreds of jobs to Haisla Nation members, members of other local Indigenous groups, and the local community over the life of the project. This will support the Haisla Nation’s self-governance and self-determination, thereby contributing to the Government of Canada’s commitment to advancing reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples.
The determination also considered how the project will feature a world-leading greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions intensity compared to other LNG projects by relying on clean hydro-electric power for the liquefaction of natural gas and to use it as the primary source of electricity during operations. This makes the proposed project consistent with the principles of the best-in-class GHG emissions performance guidance being developed by Environment and Climate Change Canada for oil and gas projects.
In addition to including the reasons for the Minister’s determination, the Decision Statement sets out over 250 legally-binding conditions the proponent must comply with throughout the life of the project. These conditions include requirements to further reduce GHG emissions, address changes caused by the project on the health, social and economic conditions of Indigenous groups, and implement mitigation measures to protect fish and fish habitat, migratory birds, marine mammals, species at risk, human health, and the current use of lands and resources for traditional purposes by Indigenous Peoples.
For example, in line with the requirements of the Government of Canada’s Strategic Assessment of Climate Change, the proponent must develop a credible plan demonstrating how it will prioritize the use of best available and new technologies to reduce direct GHG emissions associated with the project. The proponent will also be legally required through the conditions to achieve net-zero GHG emissions no later than 2050.
The proponent is also required to develop and implement a plan to mitigate impacts from marine shipping in the area. This includes communicating marine shipping schedules and potential safety hazards to communities and marine users, implementing a feedback protocol to report concerns related to interference between the project and marine use, establishing a safety zone around the marine terminal, and promoting safe navigation practices.
The proponent can now proceed with obtaining any additional authorizations and permits from federal departments.
The Cedar LNG Project is a small scale LNG project that proposes to produce about three million tonnes of LNG per year, and include storage capacity for up to 250,000 cubic metres of LNG.
According to Cedar LNG Partners LP, the project is expected to create about 500 full-time jobs during its construction, and about 100 full-time jobs during operations. The project is also expected to contribute about $4.6 million in federal tax over a four-year construction period and $2.4 million annually during operations.
The Government of British Columbia consulted nine Indigenous groups who could potentially be impacted by the project. Many expressed broader concerns with cumulative effects of marine shipping in the north coast area, beyond the Cedar LNG Project. The Impact Assessment Agency of Canada worked closely with Indigenous groups and federal partners in the development of federal conditions for this project to address project-related marine shipping effects, and is committed to continuing the dialogue with Indigenous groups to further explore and address these broader concerns.
Federal funding in the amount of $572,700 was allocated to support the participation of Indigenous groups in the various steps of the review process.
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