July 31, 2006

Comments invited on port expansion EA report, joint panel named for oil sands projects

The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (the Agency) and the Vancouver Port Authority are accepting public comments on the comprehensive environmental assessment (EA) study report prepared for the proposed Deltaport Third Berth expansion project in Delta, British Columbia. The report was prepared by Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Environment Canada, with support from the Vancouver Port Authority (VPA), and was submitted to the federal Ministers of Environment and of Transport, as well as the Agency.

The VPA is proposing to expand the Deltaport container terminal at the existing Roberts Bank port facility, 35 km south of Vancouver. The project involves adding to the existing land base to accommodate a third ship berth, additional container storage and associated facilities and rail and road improvements. The comprehensive study report may be viewed on the Agency's Web site, www.ceaa-acee.gc.ca/050/index_e.cfm, reference number 04-03-3734.

The deadline for comments is September 1, 2006. Submissions in English or French should be directed to Dave Carter, senior program officer, Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, 757 West Hastings St, Vancouver V6C 1A1, 604/666-2442, FAX 604/666-6990, E-mail dave.carter@ceaa-acee.gc.ca.

In other EA activities, a three-member joint panel has been appointed to review the Kearl oil sands and Muskeg River mine expansion projects, both about 70 km north of Fort McMurray, Alberta. Environment Minister Rona Ambrose has named Les Cooke as the federal member of the panel.

Cooke has more than 35 years of experience in strategic policy and planning and program management with the Saskatchewan and Alberta governments. He has led national strategic planning processes for the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment and the Canadian Council of Forest Ministers, and has served as vice-chair of the Alberta Advisory Committee on Heavy Oil and Oil Sands Development.

The panel chair and the other member will be members of the Alberta Energy Utilities Board (EUB) and will be named by EUB chair Neil McCrank. Agreements signed by the Minister and McCrank for the two joint panels describe the terms and conditions, as well as the process to be followed for conducting the panels.

Under the agreements, the joint panel will: examine the environmental effects of the proposals and the significance of those effects; consider measures that are technically and economically feasible to mitigate any adverse environmental effects; review the need for, and requirements of, any follow-up programs with respect to the projects; consider public comments received during the review; and determine whether the projects are in the public interest by examining their social, economic, and environmental impacts. of the projects.

The Kearl project, proposed by Imperial Oil Resources Ventures and ExxonMobil Canada Properties, consists of an oil sands mining and extraction facility which would produce approximately 48,000 cubic metres per day of partially deasphalted bitumen (clean bitumen).

The proposed expansion of the existing Muskeg River mine would allow Albian Sands Energy, a joint venture company owned by Shell Canada, Chevron Canada and Western Oils Sands, to increase bitumen production capacity to an average nominal 270,000 barrels per calendar day (approximately 43,000 cubic metres).

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