June 18, 2007

Lower Churchill hydro project to undergo EA by review panel

OTTAWA, ONT-Federal Environment Minister John Baird has decided to refer the Lower Churchill hydro project, in Newfoundland and Labrador, to an independent review panel for environmental assessment. "A review panel, independent of government, will provide the best opportunities for the participation of the public and Aboriginal groups in the environmental assessment process," he said. The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency is discussing with Newfoundland and Labrador Environment and Conservation the possibility of a joint environmental assessment of the proposed project. Information on the timing of next steps and public involvement will be announced once the governments have determined the most effective and timely manner of proceeding. The Agency will make participant funding available to assist individuals and groups to participate in the environmental assessment process. The proposal to develop the hydroelectric potential of the lower Churchill River involves two potential sites. One is a 2,000-megawatt (MW) project at Gull Island, which is 225 kilometres (km) downstream from the existing 5,428 MW facility at Churchill Falls. The other is an 800 MW project at Muskrat Falls, 60 km downstream of Gull Island. More information is available on the Canadian Environmental Assessment Registry (www.ceaa.gc.ca), reference number 07-03-26178. Parties wishing to obtain information on the panel review process or to be kept informed of the panel's activities should provide a full mailing address, an e-mail address or a fax number to panel manager Debra Myles at the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, 160 Elgin St, Ottawa K1A 0H3; 613/957-0626, E-mail debra.myles@ceaa-acee.gc.ca.

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