September 5-12, 2005

Draft, final EIS guidelines issued for Cacouna energy, Sydney Tar Ponds

The environmental assessment (EA) for the proposed Cacouna energy project will be subject to a public review panel, federal Environment Minister Stéphane Dion said recently. "The Cacouna Energy project will be assessed within the framework of the Canada-Quebec Agreement on Environmental Assessment Co-operation," he noted.

TransCanada PipeLines and Petro-Canada are proposing to build and operate a liquefied natural gas terminal at Gros-Cacouna harbour, along the St Lawrence estuary east of Rivière-du-Loup, Quebec. Estimated to cost more than $500 million, the project involves: the delivery of liquefied natural gas, in addition to several facilities, two of which are storage tanks; pumping and vaporization equipment; a unit to add nitrogen to the natural gas; and access roads, along with offices and maintenance and security buildings. A wharf for berthing and unloading of LNG carriers would extend approximately 350 metres into the St. Lawrence from the terminal site. The project is subject to the federal EA process pursuant to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act.

The Minister's decision was followed by the release, on August 26, of draft federal guidelines specifying issues the proponents will have to address in preparing an environmental impact statement (EIS) for the project. The draft guidelines are available on the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency's Web site, www. ceaa-acee.gc.ca or from panel manager Maryse Pineau at the co-ordinates below.

Written comments, in English or French, are due by September 26, 2005 and should be directed to Maryse Pineau, panel manager. Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, 160 Elgin St, 22nd Floor, Ottawa K1A 0H3; 613/948-1364, FAX 613/957-0941, E-mail maryse.pineau@ceaa-acee.gc.ca.

After taking public comments into consideration, the guidelines will be finalized, submitted for approval to the Environment Minister and issued to the proponents. Participant funding will be made available to the public to promote active participation in the public review.

In related news, the final EIS guidelines for the proposed Sydney Tar Ponds and coke ovens sites remediation project have been released by federal Environment Minister Dion and Nova Scotia Minister of Environment and Labour Kerry Morash. The proponent, the Sydney Tar Ponds Agency, will use the guidelines in preparing a statement of the anticipated effects of the project on the environment.

The guidelines set out the issues to be addressed and provide guidance on how to describe and assess these issues, and how to structure the environmental documentation that will be submitted to a joint review panel, whose members will be appointed in the near future.

The Sydney Tar Ponds Agency is expected to submit the final EIS by December 30, 2005. The EIS will then be released for a 48-day public comment period. After this public consultation, if the joint panel determines that no additional information is required, it will schedule public hearings.

The final EIS guidelines may be viewed on the Canadian Environmental Assessment Registry www.ceaa-acee.gc.ca/050/index_e.cfm (reference No. 05-05-8989) and on Nova Scotia Environment and Labour's Web site at www.gov.ns.ca/enla/ea/tarponds.asp.

Anyone wishing to register as an interested party and to be kept informed of the review activities should provide a full mailing address, an e-mail address and/or a fax number to: Sydney Tar Ponds and Coke Ovens Sites Review, PO Box 431, Sydney NS B1P 6H2, E-mail comments@stpco-review.ca.

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