February 28, 2005

MOU will streamline approval process for offshore energy projects

On February 18, Nova Scotia Energy Minister Cecil Clarke signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the federal government to create a more efficient approval process for new offshore energy projects developed in Nova Scotia. The new agreement allows a proponent to file one set of documents for a development. The single application will trigger all of the regulatory reviews the application must receive. Notably, the MOU does not change any environmental performance standards that well developers must meet.

"This agreement meets industry's concerns that our offshore approval processes are slow and inefficient," Clarke said, explaining that all the required reviews will be conducted at the same time, as was the case before. "It's a significant step toward meeting another of our energy strategy's objectives--that is to encourage offshore development in an environmentally responsible, sustainable way."

The agreement involves the Nova Scotia departments of Energy and of Environment and Labour, four federal departments, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency and the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board. All are members of the Atlantic Energy Roundtable, which met February 19 and 20 in Halifax. The Roundtable process, which also has industry and labour participation, led to the creation of the MOU.

More information is available from John Perkins at the Department of Energy, 902/424-1757, E-mail perkinje@gov.ns.ca.

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