Draft EIS guidelines issued for EnCana shallow gas well proposal
OTTAWA, ONT-The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency and the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board (EUB) have issued draft guidelines for the preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the proposed EnCana shallow gas infill development, in Alberta's Suffield National Wildlife Area. Public comments on the guidelines will be accepted until October 15, 2006. The guidelines specify the issues EnCana, as the project proponent, will have to address in the environmental assessment (EA) of its proposal, and provide direction describing and assessing these issues in the EIS. EnCana is proposing to install up to 1275 new shallow gas wells over a three-year period in an area about 50 km northwest of Medicine Hat and 250 km southeast of Calgary. The site is within the boundary of Canadian Forces Base Suffield National Wildlife Area in southeastern Alberta. The proposed wells would add to natural gas development activities already being carried out within this area. The project includes the physical works and the activities associated with the preparation, construction, operation, decommissioning and abandonment of the shallow gas wells, pipelines, and supporting infrastructure. Review of the proposal by a joint panel representing the Agency and the EUB will meet the requirements of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board Act and the Energy Resources Conservation Act of Alberta. The joint panel is expected to be in place this fall. Once it has received the EIS it will take public comments into consideration prior to issuing finalized guidelines to the proponent. These will also be made public. Written comments on the draft guidelines may be submitted in English or French and should be sent to panel manager Marie-France Therrien, Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency 160 Elgin Street, 22nd Floor Ottawa, K1A 0H3, FAX 613/957-0941, E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. More information, including the draft guidelines, may be viewed on the Canadian Environmental Assessment Registry, www.ceaa-acee.gc.ca.