February 16, 2004

Comments invited on proposed project EA reports

Comments are being accepted until the end of February on comprehensive study reports prepared in accordance with the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act for two proposed projects.

Cogema Resources is proposing to decommission the Cluff Lake Uranium Mine and Mill facility in Saskatchewan, located 75 km south of Lake Athabasca and 15 km east of the provincial border with Alberta. The project includes in-situ coverage of the tailings management facility, with one open pit to be backfilled and two others to be flooded. The remaining waste rock piles will be covered. Long-term monitoring of the decommissioned facility will follow.

The comprehensive study report was prepared by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) as the responsible federal authority for the project.

Comments on the Cluff Lake decommissioning study (in English or French) are due by February 27, 2004 and should be sent to Debra Myles, project manager, Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, 200 SacrÈ-Coeur Blvd, 13th floor, Hull, Que K1A 0H3, 819/994-5225, FAX 819/997-4931, E-mail debra.myles@ceaa-acee.gc.ca. More information on the project is available from Gerry Acott, director of environmental programs at Cogema Resources, 306/343-4586, FAX 306/343-4640, E-mail gerry.acott@cogema.ca.

The second project is a proposal by Hydro Quebec to build a dam and a hydroelectric generating station with an estimated capacity of 385 megawatts (MW) on the PÈribonka River, immediately upstream from the mouth of the Manouane River. In addition to the 80-metre high dam, spillway and underground generating station, the project involves the creation of a 35-kilometre-long reservoir with a surface area of 31.6 square kilometres and the construction of a 25.6 km permanent road.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada, as the responsible federal authority for this project, carried out the comprehensive study. The reports on both proposed projects have been submitted to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (the Agency) as well as to the federal Environment Minister.

Comments on the PÈribonka hydroelectric facility study report are due by February 29, 2004 and should be sent (in English or French) to Marie-France Therrien, project manager, at the Agency's address above, 819/994-0364, FAX 418/649-6443 (Quebec regional office), E-mail marie-france.therrien@ceaa-acee.gc.ca. More information on the project is available from JosÈe PÈpin, strategic management advisor, project development directorate, at Hydro Quebec, 514/840-3000, ext 4857, E-mail pepin.josee@hydro.qc.ca.

In other environmental assessment activities, the proposed Mackenzie Valley gas project will be sent to a federal review panel, the most rigorous level of environmental assessment.

"The referral of the proposed Mackenzie Valley gas project is an important step in establishing a rigorous, co-ordinated environmental assessment process for the entire project," said federal Environment Minister David Anderson. "I'm very pleased that it will allow for significant co-operation between the Inuvialuit and the federal government while ensuring a level of scrutiny that a project of this magnitude deserves." Anderson made the announcement along with Bill Klassen, chair of the Environmental Impact Screening Committee for the Inuvialuit Settlement Region, and Frank Pokiak, chair of the Inuvialuit Game Council.

"The Screening Committee, in referring the Mackenzie gas project to the federal review panel, is demonstrating its confidence in the thoroughness of the assessment and review to which the project will be subjected," Klassen noted.

The referral is an important step in the Co-operation Plan for the Environmental Impact Assessment and Regulatory Review of a Northern Gas Pipeline Project through the Northwest Territories. This plan, unveiled in June 2002, outlines a framework for a thorough, integrated environmental impact review process with enhanced public participation. In September 2002, the Inuvialuit and the federal government signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for Inuvialuit participation in the environmental review of any transregional gas pipeline and any accompanying associated field development in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region. The MOU includes provisions for the composition of a federal review panel, including the appointment of two panel members nominated by Inuvialuit interests.

The Mackenzie gas project is a joint proposal by Shell Canada, ConocoPhillips Canada (North), ExxonMobil, Imperial Oil Resources Ventures and the Aboriginal Pipeline Group. The project would include natural gas development in the Mackenzie River Delta in the Northwest Territories, gathering lines, processing facilities and a pipeline to transport gas south through the Mackenzie Valley to northern Alberta.

More information is available on the Northern Gas Project secretariat's Web site, www.ngps.nt.ca, or from Annette Bourgeois of the Northern Gas Project secretariat, 867/766-8602, FAX 867/766-8624, E-mail abourgeois@ngps.nt.ca.

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